Saturday, February 9, 2019

Was there a US$5 million AATIP style Department of Defense study group between 1983-1985?

Well, yes there was, according to journalist Howard Blum, a former New York Times reporter, writing in his 1990 book "Out There" (Simon and Schuster, New York.) The book is regarded as telling the story of a study group which was later revealed to have been John B Alexander's "Advanced Theoretical Physics" study group.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books
After almost 30 years I returned the other day to re-read this classic book, hoping I might see something in hindsight which I had missed when the book was first published. Indeed, I did find something I'd clearly forgotten. Here, appears a story about a joint UFO research project by the United States Air Force, the US Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency. This investigation was headed by then 52 year old, Major General James C Pfautz, Chief of Air Force Intelligence.


The story according to Blum

The story is told by Howard Blum on pages 50-54 and 68-71. Here are the highlights.

"In 1983, six months after taking command of Air Force Intelligence he decided to investigate the heavens. To Pfautz's way of thinking, the decision to establish  this secret UFO task force was not that extraordinary. The primary job of the Air Force of the United States of America was to protect and defend the airspace of this country. No intrusions could be tolerated. It was his job, he reasoned, to investigate whether unidentified objects of any sort, of any origin, were penetrating this airspace. He was simply fulfilling the responsibility of his office.

"The cost of the UFO task force, however, was a problem...Congress had to be informed of any expenditure over three million...there was no way General Pfautz was prepared to go hat in hand to the Hill asking for five million dollars for UFO research...He decided to run it as an "off the books" show. The projected five million dollar budget for UFO research would be split three ways...

"The National Security Agency was one logical candidate. The only problem was, General Pfautz was in the middle of a long running feud with the NSA director...Likewise the CIA. It was hard to imagine the Company providing more than a million dollars and then sitting back and letting the Air Force run the show...the Air Force decided to approach Army Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency. In the early 1980's , Army Intelligence...was spending millions on parapsychological experiments...when the Air Force gave this brother intelligence group the chance to join the hunt for UFOs, the Army-and its money-came on board without hesitation.

The Defense Intelligence Agency

"The Defense Intelligence Agency was approached for somewhat different reasons...General Pfautz. He wanted to head the DIA...In the meantime he was willing to let the DIA join his UFO task force..It too, signed on eagerly.

" But then, after the players had been recruited, after the checks had been deposited, after a team of burrowers had been assigned to sort through a library of classified UFO documents in an attempt to discover just what the government, for forty years publicly dismissive and exasperated, really knew about UFOs, Major General James C Pfautz made the mistake that was to end his career... [He disagreed with the US government's official position as to the reason behind the shooting down of Korean Air Lines jet 007 by the Russians-KB]

 According to Blum, in 1987 Pfautz was called in by the UFO Working Group, to brief them. Blum calls John B Alexander, "Colonel Phillips" throughout the book.

The UFO Working Group

"At precisely 8:00am on a March morning in 1987 Colonel Phillips stood at his lectern in the tank and announced that former Major General James C Pfautz would address the Working Group. The general's topic: A History of the Military's Involvement with UFOs.

"Regretfully, no transcript of General Pfautz's remarks exists..."

"In his lecture in the Tank on that March morning the general began by announcing what his team had discovered. Though the trail was complex and often provocative, the UFO Mystery remained, even in classified circles, an unsolved case...whatever the reason, as General James Pfautz continued his presentation that morning to the UFO Working Group, he, according to reports, began to ramble. First he did so cautiously, but before he was done, the general wound up overstepping his authority by leaps and bounds.

"Things began to fall apart just after the general, having spoken for nearly half an hour, appeared to have reached his conclusion. "We never got our hands on the smoking gun,"  explained according to one man who was in the Tank.  And, even more vividly, this witness can still recall what happened next. Because the general, his story apparently told, did not relinquish the floor. Instead, he gripped the side of the lectern as if it was a ship's rail and there were rough seas ahead, and then, without pause, he set off in a totally unexpected direction.

"The seventeen men sitting around the walnut conference table now listened as the general began to praise the DIA for its decision to establish the Working Group. A solution to the UFO mystery, he said, was vital,..National security was at stake. The airspace of the United States of America must be protected against any and all invaders.

"His tone was one of impassion, one man in the room was convinced the general was nearly shouting...There was much he told the Working Group that the government might be able to learn if we are finally able to make contact with extraterrestrial beings... General Pfautz...was reported as having said, in a final conclusion, if we could enter an alliance, a partnership with the aliens...General Pfautz walked out of the Tank, out of the loop and back into retirement.

"Yet when I contacted General Pfautz  to discuss the 1983 flying saucer task force he had initiated as head of Air Force Intelligence as well as his presentation to the UFO Working Group, he, after some elaborate coaxing, agreed to an interview at his home...The night before our scheduled meeting, he called. His tone was apologetic, but firm. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to cancel our appointment." He had spoken with "some friends at the Pentagon," he explained, and had been told that "any public discussion of the UFO Working Group would be out of the question." "I hadn't realized," he went on, "how highly classified the activities of the Working Group still are. They cannot be discussed."

Fact checking

1. An official USAF website provided confirmation that Major General James C Pfautz was Assistant Chief of Staff, intelligence, Headquarters, USAF, Washington DC as at September 1983.

2. Blum does not cite the source of his account of Pfautz speaking to the UFO Working Group. However, John B Alexander in his book "UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities" mentions that one of his group's aerospace participants did take notes at meetings.

I welcome hearing from any blog reader who may know more about this story.

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