UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Blue Book Debacle (and the Condon Committee too)

The current New Yorker magazine [1/26/15] has a piece about the NSA and terrorism, which has nothing to do with UFOs, but is insightful about the Air Force’s Blue Book operation and that of its predecessors, Sign and Grudge.

The piece [The Whole Haystack by Mattathias Schwartz, page 54 ff.] opens with this:

“Almost every major attack on Western soil in the past fifteen years has been committed by people known to law enforcement.”

Then follows a litany of those who’ve committed acts of terrorism, followed by this:

“In each of these cases, the authorities were not wanting for data. What they failed to do was appreciate the significance of the data they already had.”

Isn’t this what occurred with those early flying saucer/UFO projects? And that of the nefarious Condon Committee?

Those in charge of ferreting out data did so, but in a haphazard way, missing the significance of the data they had collected.

In the current brouhaha about who disclosed the Blue Book files first, UFO researchers are arguing about who should get credit or not for when they provided the Blue Book material(s) to the UFO community and the public.

Even now, no one is sifting through the data to see what patterns emerge or what may be significant.

UFO blokes still want to lay blame at the feet of those mentioned by media in the current ramp up of UFO news.

No one wants to tackle the data.

This has always been the case with UFO “researchers” and I use the term very loosely as you know.

UFO researchers like the idea of being first with some UFO material or being the one(s) to present an obscure UFO story or fact.

No one wants to test the data, and no one has done so, in a methodical way, ever, although they would have the rest of us think they’ve done so: Jerry Clark, Kevin Randle, MUFON, Stanton Friedman, et al.

Just as the NSA botched and still botches what the organization has collected, and it’s a mighty amount of data as Edward Snowden let us know, Blue Book personnel and the Condon boys botched their chance(s) to explain what UFOs may be.

They didn’t do so out of a conspiracy to hide facts and data. They did so by being lax and inept, just as the NSA and authorities have been lax and inept about terrorist activity, as outlined by Mr. Schwartz’ article in his magazine reports.



  • ``Those in charge of ferreting out data did so, but in a haphazard way, missing the significance of the data they had collected.``

    ``Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else. ``


    I think there is a difference between ineptitude and intentional interference. And I think it is an insult to our intelligence agencies to suggest that they didn't know what they had. They did know. They were shut down.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Sunday, January 25, 2015  

  • The quotation you reference, Parakletos, pertains to the Blue Book operation not the intelligence issue.

    The intelligence angle was only a jumping off point for my UFO post.

    My piece isn't about the article in the New Yorker or terrorists.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, January 25, 2015  

  • Your editorial ignores the reality that "Ufology" is a social movement and not a science. The one's who have the stage are largely gadfly s whose main preoccupation is gab either aimed at each other, or simply self aggrandizement. I suspect this is only going to get loonier with the rebooting of the X Files and the Great Kodak Slide circus. More fodder for circular gossip. I have found a dearth of creativity, new ideas even imagination in anything that's currently sloshing around.
    I used to enjoy Mac Tonnie's forays into creativity using this subject as a platform for the exploration of associated topics, but now, I don't bother to read 99% of what's out there, because I can predict what is going to be said before I even read it.
    The only thing that shows promise is the Bigelow \ Vallee collaboration in applying the latest software developments to categorize data while continuing to gather it.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, January 25, 2015  

  • That's the major flaw or gripe that I find with "ufology" -- mavens like to collect data but don't like having to interpret it.

    It's like Ash [Ian Holm] in Alien (the movie) who continued to collate data to the annoyance of Ripley.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, January 25, 2015  

  • The assertion that the folks behind Blue Book either did not understand the information they had or were too stupid to understand it is unprovable.

    This is nearly akin to saying that the U.S. Military in the late '40's and '50's did not understand the threats that "foreigners" had to "freedom and democracy".

    One can equally wonder if the whole debacle wasn't side show or shadow play for as yet unknown purposes. Whatever the actual reason the likelihood that any assertion of causation [stupidity, cover-up black projects, cover-up visitation, or any other reason] can be actually proved now is nearly moot.

    The appearance of Condon as the leader of the reporting group might have been a message to a certain foreign government. I'm not sure if anyone has ever asked the question if Condon was a "counter-intelligence" disinformation agent.... given the general U.S. Military paranoia (at that time) of communists or sympathizers it seems something is a bit strange. The Air Force after all is the organization that holds the launch keys to most of our nuclear arsenal

    As for the comparison to the current NSA? Don't be fooled by everything you read. Betcha that 9 times out of 10 the NSA knew what was going down and intentionally let things happen the way they did... Leaving the Political Talking Heads swaying in the breeze.

    A similar comparison may be made to Pearl Harbor. Conspiracy Theorist types have claimed Roosevelt was reported to have "allowed" Pearl Harbor while others seem to believe that neither the government nor Roosevelt actually knew about the specific attack plan.

    Is this provable one way or the other? Not bloody likely.

    By Blogger gishzida, at Monday, January 26, 2015  

  • gishzida...

    See our take on Condon in our archives or Google Condon RRRGroup or UFO Iconoclasts.

    You think that Blue Book or the NSA consisted of smart guys.

    You'd be wrong. See the New Review of Books article (online) by Christian Caryl about Turing and the movie The Imitation Game plus books clarifying what really happened with the Enigma affair.

    Inept and personal wrangling often allowed things to slip by and no one was conspiring to hide something.

    Blue Book was an inept operation scuttled by persons who didn't give a damn about flying saucers or what they were.

    No one, like UFO researchers today, really investigated the phenomenon.

    People just collected data, and set it aside.

    There was no Turing-like person in Blue Book, Grudge or Sign nor inside the Condon Committee.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, January 26, 2015  

  • True, Blue Book was not perfect and consider that the project was run by either a captain, major, or Lt.Col with a staff that consisted of 4 to 5 people at best.

    We have this impression that PBB personnel investigated each case personally, but that was not true. There was a network of strategically placed UFO investigation officers assigned to particular AF bases for particular geographical locations. This was an additional duty, as the investigation officer still had his primary duties and responsibilities to fulfill.

    The above is reflected in the various investigations that were performed...some were well done, where as, others were shoddy leading to piss poor conclusions. Rarely did PBB personnel show up at the scene...they had to rely on the quality of the reports coming from the investigation officers.

    I had taken some celestial data from Blue Book believing it to be accurate only to be later told that it was in error...further checking on my part found the data to be indeed in error.

    Yet, despite some of the problems with some of the cases, where would we be without it? I assume the general public would have had to listen to gospel preached by the numerous nefarious "researchers" that have defecated and urinated on quiet a few cases...take your pick of researchers and the corresponding cases.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Monday, January 26, 2015  

  • “….Blue Book personnel and the Condon boys botched their chance(s) to explain what UFOs may be. … They didn’t do so out of a conspiracy to hide facts and data. They did so by being lax and inept..”

    I respectfully disagree. They DID fail to explain what UFOs may be, but they DIDN’T fail to do so because of laxity and ineptness. They failed to do so because (with minor exceptions) they never were motivated or authorized to make such an explanation. Keep in mind that the whole Sign/Grudge/Blue Book performance was a military Public Affairs operation. It was theater, designed to instill in the public the warm and comforting belief that their military forces were on the job, diligently protecting them from all danger.

    When the military/intelligence establishment of the US wants to find out what is behind some unexpected and newly emerging phenomenology, they don’t put it in the hands of a Captain or Major equipped only with a handful of administrative staff, a mediocre intellect, and a security clearance no higher than Secret. The Sign/Grudge/Blue Book team had one job, which they did in a satisfactory manner. That job was to repeat the mantra, whenever called upon, that “UFOs do not represent a threat to the security of the US”.

    I hope that statement is true. It could even be true, but I don’t know how they would KNOW it is true when they’ve never explained what they think UFOs are.

    It is interesting to contrast the Sign/Grudge/Blue Book performance in the US with the GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN performance in France. They were both multi-decade studies, both had similar sizes of staff and resources, and both able to draw upon national resources, to some extent. Moreover, they both proceeded, roughly, in the same manner. First, they collected reports, more or less passively. Then, after they had collected a body of reports they binned the reports into categories covering the spectrum from explained, to insufficient data, to unexplained. Then they engaged in statistical analysis of the reports Ultimately, they engaged in semi-active investigations, in which they would send out investigators into the field immediately after some reports, to try to uncover additional data that might otherwise go undiscovered.

    The difference is that the GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN studies were organized within the French national civilian space research organization (CNES) and the investigation was motivated by scientific curiousity. It was staffed by intellectually and academically qualified individuals. They came to the conclusion that some UFOs are real, tangible, artificial vehicles and that an extraterrestrial source should be considered.


    By Blogger Larry, at Monday, January 26, 2015  

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