New York Skies (Cheryl Costa)

Project Blue Book Origins — Part 3 of 3

Columnist Cheryl Costa concludes her three-part article series on Project Blue Book.

In a 1997 book about the CIA’s involvement with UFOs written by CIA historian Gerald Haines, he indicated that then President Harry S. Truman had serious concerns.

“A massive buildup of sightings over the United States in 1952, especially in July, alarmed the Truman administration.”

The CIA’s concern with the issue would lead to the creation of the Robertson Panel in January 1953.

For four days in January 1953, the Robertson panel reviewed all the evidence available at the time and published the Durant Report. The report simply took the position that UFOs were not a threat to national security. Of course, they parroted the position from Project Grudge that the Soviets could possibly mask an invasion by using a massive UFO-sighting event to clog communication channels.

The Robertson Panel further recommended the debunking of UFO sighting reports to quiet the growing interest in UFOs. They publicly instructed the military and all other national security entities to remove UFOs from any sort of special reporting status.

As a result of the Robertson Panel, Project Blue Book’s prestige as an investigative unit took a huge fall. Captain Edward Ruppelt, who was the lead investigator for Project Blue Book, left the Air Force in 1953.

It was at this juncture that several interesting things happened. The Air Force quietly drew a shroud of secrecy around itself with regard to UFOs. Officially and publicly, Project Blue Book was again in the debunking business with regard to UFOs.

In addition, as a result of the Robertson Panel, a joint military-wide directive JANAP-146 made reporting of UFOs by military personnel, outside of military channels, an act subject to espionage laws. In other words, if you were in the service and saw something, you couldn’t report it publicly without being in violation national security regulations.

For the next nine years Project Blue Book languished as a back water within the Air Force Intelligence community. By the early 1960s, many in the Air Force intelligence community that felt that Project Blue Book was a burden — plain and simple.

In the spring of 1966, Congress stepped in. The House Armed Services Committee asked the Air Force to contract out a university study into UFOs. In the fall of 1966, the Air Force announced that it had awarded a contract to the University of Colorado to be headed by American physicist Dr. Edward Condon.

Publicly the contract’s objective was to give UFO phenomena a proper and serious academic study. As it turned out, the study was simply a smoke screen to justify a way get the Air Force out of the UFO investigation business, as evidenced by a speech given by Dr. Condon shortly after the study began in February 1967 at the Corning Glass Works chapter of the Sigma Chi Iota Honorary Fraternity. In his speech he said:

“It is my inclination right now to recommend that the government get out of this business. My attitude right now is that there’s nothing to it … but I’m not supposed to reach a conclusion for another year.”

On Jan. 9, 1969, the 1,439-page Condon Report was released. Its final conclusion read as follows:

“Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.”

Project Blue Book was officially closed on Dec. 17, 1969.

If investigating UFOs since 1969 has been done within the government, it has been done secretly from within the Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (USAP) within the National Security Agency establishment and in the Pentagon.

If you are interested in joining a monthly UFO discussion group in the Onondaga County area, drop Cheryl an email at [email protected]. If you have a UFO sighting to report, you can use either one of the two national database services: or Both services respect confidentiality. Follow me on Twitter @American_Skies.

Attention, Central New York residents: Join a monthly MUFON-sponsored speakers presentation and discussion group in Syracuse. Regularly held the last Saturday of the month, it runs from April 29 through October 28, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m, May Memorial, 3800 E. Genesee St. Plenty of off-street parking is available.

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