As we wait for the Pentagon's release of a report containing "a detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence" collected by the US Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, and the FBI, it's good to recall that the US military has a long history of disinformation and even fabricating hoaxes of extraterrestrial contact. Over at the Daily Grail, Greg Taylor looks at "Four Times the US Military Hoaxed Contact Through the Decades" and encourages curious readers to pick up Adam Gorightly's new book Saucers, Spooks and Kooks: UFO Disinformation in the Age of Aquarius. From the Daily Grail:
In 1982, UFO researcher and writer Bill Moore approached film producer Jaime Shandera with a pitch to develop a documentary based on his Roswell research. Although this project never got off the ground, Shandera instead became Moore's research partner, an arrangement that continued through the course of the decade.
On December 11, 1984, Shandera received a delivery at his home in Burbank, California, that had been sent anonymously with no return address, postmarked December 9 from Albuquerque. The envelope contained a roll of 35mm film that when developed revealed photos of what became known as the MJ-12 papers. This included the Eisenhower Briefing Document or "EBD." Dated November 18, 1952, this eyes-only document had been allegedly prepared for President Elect Eisenhower to brief him on "Operation Majestic-12…a Top Secret Research and Development/Intelligence operation responsible directly and only to the President of the United States."
After receiving the MJ-12 papers, Moore and Shandera were reluctant to release the materials until fully vetting them. By 1986, whoever was actually orchestrating the release of the MJ-12 papers had become impatient with Moore and Shandera's slow roll, and to speed up the release approached British ufologist Jenny Randles to serve as a conduit for the release of the materials. The intermediary in this instance was a young man named Robert, who claimed that he had previously served in the British Army. Robert offered Randles over six hundred pages of material that had been allegedly obtained from U.S. military intelligence sources, the content of which sounded remarkably similar to the MJ-12 papers. Randles suspected something was amiss and decided to steer clear of entering into an agreement she might later regret.
Afterwards, the same anonymous source who approached Randles apparently found another British ufologist willing to bite, in this case Timothy Good, who agreed to publish the MJ-12 papers in his forthcoming book Above Top Secret: The Worldwide U.F.O. Cover-Up. This arrangement was made with the caveat that Bill Moore would have the first shot to publicly announce the release of the documents in mid-June 1987. Using this two-pronged approach, Above Top Secret would provide independent corroboration as a follow up to Moore's forthcoming announcement. These best-laid plans were derailed when Good's publisher announced a hastily arranged press conference for May 29, 1987, that would include an MJ-12 sneak peek. When Bill Moore caught wind of these developments, he decided to beat Good to the punch and officially release the MJ-12 papers on May 28 at the annual National UFO Conference (NUFOC) in Burbank, California.
Researchers began scouring the MJ-12 papers and soon keyed in on a number of peculiarities. For example, the typeset on the documents corresponded with a Smith-Corona model that was manufactured after 1952, the year that the Eisenhower Briefing Document was supposedly authored. Arch debunker Phil Klass noted that the dating system on the MJ-12 papers didn't correspond with the standard system he'd seen on other government documents. The MJ-12 papers used the following format: "18 November, 1952," whereas the formats Klass had seen most commonly used was "November 18, 1952" or "18 Nov. 1952." Furthermore, Klass claimed to have seen the MJ-12 dating system used on documents and correspondence produced by Bill Moore prior to 1984.
In June 1987, Klass contacted William Baker, then Assistant Director in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs for the FBI: "I am enclosing what purport to be Top Secret/Eyes Only documents, which have not been properly declassified, now being circulated by William L. Moore, Burbank, California, 91505…"
At Klass' urging, the FBI opened an investigation to determine if the MJ-12 papers were either a hoax or classified documents that had been illegally leaked. On November 30, 1988, a meeting took place in Washington D.C. between FBI and AFOSI agents. At that time, "…[t]he Office of Special Investigations, US Air Force, advised…that the document was fabricated. Copies of that document have been distributed to various parts of the United States…" What remains a mystery is how the Air Force determined that the MJ-12 papers had been faked, and by whom.
In 1998, UFO researcher Nick Redfern was contacted by a former FBI agent who had been worked on the MJ-12 papers. One area of inquiry—according to this former agent—included the theory that the MJ-12 papers had been fabricated by Soviet agents to be used as "bait" to reel in civilians working in the defense sector who were involved in UFO research. Conversely, 'Falcon' once remarked to Bill Moore that the AFOSI counterintelligence operation had been designed to flush "a few moles out of their holes" — the moles, in this case, being Soviet spies.
"UFO DISINFO: Four times the US military hoaxed alien contact through the decades" (The Daily Grail)
image: Close Encounters of the Third Kind