Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"A Special National Intelligence Estimate" - 1961


A document titled " A Special National Intelligence Estimate" no. 1-61-E, completed on 5 November 1961, titled "Critical Aspects of Unidentified Flying Objects and the Nuclear Threat to the Defense of the United States and Alllies" has been circulating on the Internet for some time; possibly quite a long time.

Its origins

Where did the document first surface? It seems that it first came to light here. On that website, the introduction states "To our knowledge this is not on any Web Page except this one. Originally leaked to Tim Cooper and sent by Bob Wood, thanks to both." This site, ufoconspiracy.com, provides links to the four page document. It also states "In 2000 Washington DC OSI sources according to Rick Doty verified this document as real, but is a retype of the original." There is an 8 August 2000 email from Doty to Wood referring to a number of documents. In part, it states: "Document #5- Restricted Data Atomic Energy Act of 1954. This document is authentic based on a source document contained in a government file. This document was retyped from its original." The document has a "Received July 21 2000" rubber stamp on it.

In recent times, however, this 1961 document, has generated much discussion, both pro and against.  It is not my intention to enter into any discussion for or against the genuineness of this document, simply to analyze part of the contents, to see if we can gain further insight into it. For the purposes of clarity, when I am speaking of this document, I will use the label "the 1961 document."

Images of the document

Basis for action

Page 2 of the document, is headed "Basis for action" and starts off with the words,  "In pursuant to Presidential National Security Action Memorandum No. 70..." I wondered what this memorandum was about?

I found a copy of the Memorandum is held at the J. F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website. The folder description states:

This folder contains copies of National Security Action Memorandum number 70 (NSAM70) to Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara from President John F. Kennedy requesting a report on Berlin and progress in obtaining a committment from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies for an increase in military forces."

The actual document is four pages long, I image these pages below:

You immediately notice that there are two copies of the Memorandum, one signed copy is dated 15 August 1961, and the other, unsigned one, labelled "copy" is dated 15 August 1962. The third document, signed by Taylor is dated 18 August 1961.

So, if this Memorandum dated 15 August 1961 was one of the bases for the production of the 1961 document, then obviously, the action, in terms of a report of some kind would be dated later than 15 August 1961. The 1961 document stated that it was completed on 5 November 1961.

The second "Basis for Action" mentioned on  page 2 is "...and a separate action item levied against the DCI for the production of an SNIE regarding what information concerning unidentified flying objects has been collected and evauluated in the context of nuclear war possibilities."

Can we find such an "action item?"

I wondered if it were possible to find such an action tasked of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency? I therefore went to the CIA CREST website  Here I used a range of keywords searching the CREST database, including unidentified flying objects; nuclear war possibilities; SNIE; Special National Intelligence Estimate, etc. I found no such action item. That doesn't mean there isn't such a document, just that I could not find it in CREST. I also looked on the wider Internet, for documentation about this second basis for action, but was unable to locate anything relevant.

DCID 5/1

The 1961 document then goes on to say "DCID 5/1 was authorized by the USIB."

Now, DCID stands for a Director of Central Intelligence Directive, and USIB stands for United States Intelligence Board.

A search of the CIA CREST website for DCID 5/1 found a heading "Compilation of Intelligence Directives" and a document labelled "Compilation of Intelligence Directives" dated 4 March 1980,  Here DCID 5/1 has the title "Coordination of US Clandestine Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Activities Abroad."

A further CIA document dated 22 March 1960  states that DCID 5/1 was issued on 15 September 1958, and states "The net effect of the news series is to increase the degree of control over military clandestine intelligence activities by the DCI's representitives in the field."

The 1961 (completed on 5 November 1961) document appears to be saying that DCID 5/1 was authorized in connection with the 1961 "basis for action." However, DCID 5/1 was issued on 15 September 1958, three years earlier.

What is an NIE and SNIE?

Let us return to basics. What was a National Intelligence Estimate and what was a Special National Intelligence Estimate? Below, I image a National Intelligence Estimate dated 5 October 1961.


 An NIE was a document submitted by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which was concurred in by the United States Intelligence Board, for distribution to various places. A Special National Intelligence Estimate had the same purpose. Below I image a copy of a SNIE from 25 April 1961.

Again, SNIEs were submitted by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and concurred by the USIB for distribution to various places. The distribution for the above SNIE was The White House, National Security Council, Deparment of State, Department of Defense, Atomic Energy Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Below is an image of the front cover of the 1961 document.

It is clearly different from a NIE or SNIE submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence, in a number of ways, e.g. CIA NIEs and SNIEs are numbered, yet the 1961 document has a letter in its numbering system, i.e. 1-61-E; that titles of CIA NIEs and SNIEs are always in capital letters, not so with the 1961 document. Yet the 1961 document states it is "A Special National Intelligence Estimate."

I used the CIA CREST website to look for a SNIE with the same title, contents etc. of the 1961 document, but failed to find any reference to such an SNIE.

So, can anyone else issue an NIE or SNIE?

The 1961 document itself states that it was prepared by:

NSA Scientific Advisory Board (NSASAB)

Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC)

The Guided Missile and Astronautics Intelligence Committee  (GMAIC)

The Scientific Intelligence Committee. (SIC)

For the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

I went to the website for the J F Kennedy Library and Museum and looked at the available documents there, concerning the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. There were 438 records revealed, but there was no sign of a copy of the 1961 document in that collection.

Points from Paul Dean's blog

1. Page 2 of the 1961 document refers to JRDB specialists. Paul states this is The Joint Research and Development Board and says this went out of existence in 1948-1949, to be replaced by the Research and Development Board which was itself, abolished in 1953. I found a history of the Board. 

2. Page 2 of the 1961 document mentions both JNEIC and JAEIC. Paul says that The Joint Nuclear Energy Intelligence Committee was replaced by the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee in 1948, and that only the JAEIC existed in 1961. I found a document dated October 1949 where the JNEIC makes an estimate. So it was still in existence in 1949. I also found another CIA document which shows that the JAEIC was in existence in January 1961. So, regardless of exactly what year the JNEIC changed to the JAEIC, it appears that there was only the JAEIC in November 1961, when the 1961 document was issued.

3. Page 2 of the 1961 document mentions the DD/O. Paul takes this to refer to the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations. CIA's Directorate for Operations didn't exist until 1973. In 1961 it was the Directorate for Plans, and the Deputy Director would have been refered to as DD/P.

4. Page two of the 1961 document also refers to the FBIS which Paul says is the Foreign Broadcast Information Service which did not exist in 1961. In that year, it was named the Foreign Broadcast Information Division (FBID.)  In 1965 it was renamed the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

5. On page 4 of the 1961 document there is mention of LANL. Paul says this is a reference to The Las Alamos National Laboratory but says that in 1961, its name was the Las Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL.)  In  1981 LASL officially became LANL. In an email to Joe Murgia, Dr. Eric Davis disputes this, and explains why LANL could be found in a document from 1961. The critical part of this email is that Davis says "The author of the Nov. 1961 SNIE was a nuclear SME who served a TDY at the AEC in the late-50s and was thus fully exposed to LASL scenior scientists and management's use of LANL in some of the documents." I believe SME refes to "subject matter expert;" TDY is a "tour of duty;" and AEC is the Atomic Energy Commission.

6. DCID 5/1 issued December 1959. Paul states that it had nothing to do with UFOs, as I have indicated above.

7. NASM70 issued August 1961. Paul says this has nothing to do with UFOs. I explored this earlier in this post.

8. The document has been sitting online for a long time at  https://archive.org/details/MSA-MJ12 which was owned by "Peregrine Commuincation" which Paul says involved Robert M. Collins; Richard C. Doty and Timothy Cooper.

In summary, Paul is indicating that there are items mentioned in the1961 document, which should not be in a genuine 1961 document.

A closing aside

The 1961 document title page contains the words "MJTWELVE," and page 2 refers to CIA MJTWELVE consultants" and later, "MJTWELVE advisory group," which has rung alarm bells with a number of researchers, due to an intense debate which ran for many years about the genuiness or otherwise of a number of documents about MJ12.

Was there ever a "real" US government MJ12 group? I draw the readers' attention to an entry in Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume 3" page 349, dated 23 October 1988, which refers to a discussion between Vallee and Christopher (Kit) Green, which reads:

"He assured me that there was indeed an MJ-12, which had employed the list of scientists quoted by the ufologists, including Menzel, and that it had reported to Truman and Eisenhower. But that project had nothing to do with UFOs; it was a vast program to study impacts and possible reaction against a psychological warfare attack directed at the United States. The story is right out of my novel Alintel. This version of MJ-12 still exists, he conceeded when I pressed him. Someone has been spinning it through the UFO rumour mill as part of the government Alien coverup, but what is the purpose of this manipulation?"

In conclusion

Having set out all of the above, I will leave it to the discerning reader to examine the data in an unbiased way, and form their own opinion on this 1961 document. I welcome points of correction; clarification; et. as I grapple to understand the contents of the 1961 document.


  1. From my last blog about the document. And I checked with source today, and they confirmed they meant to say Bill Cooper and not Tim.

    Would really like to see you give an opinion here, Keith.


    I heard from the source earlier today and he gave me further details on how the document was authenticated and his opinion on the work of a few in UFOlogy.

    He saw the original SNIE in an office he was a consultant to at a 3-letter agency concerning non-human, non-terrestrial, non-natural UAPs. My source knows who the author of the SNIE is and his job title at the agency.

    Various researchers in UFOlogy literally have no clue what is what in the pre-1970s black programs world. Their point-by-point arguments are wrong because they don’t know the context and precedence behind the SNIE. It is not a Doty document and it is not a James Jesus Angleton document, nor is it a Bill Cooper document.

    My source saw the original SNIE at the agency and received verification of its authenticity from agency leadership and archivists during official briefings on non-terrestrial UAP events. The SNIE author is long-ago retired.

    1. Hi Joe, Thanks very much for the above information. I have updated my blog to incorporate some of the above.

  2. I am interested in seeing level-headed rebuttal of the points raised by Paul Dean and Keith here and in Pauls article on the MJ12 1961 document. While they do not hold clearances to archives in three letter agencies, the arguments presented that various programs, acronyms and agencies did not use these terms or even exist in 1961 needs to be addressed one by one.

    How is it that the author used the term LANL in 1961? Are there other examples or was the LANL name truly unknown and unused until the 1980's? If it was in use as shown in an example for evidence, remove that as an argument for authenticity and move on to the next point. It can't just be an opinion.

    Same with the other arguments raised. Each one will need to be refuted. It's easy to say "they are wrong, Davis is right" end of discussion, but when discussing MJ12 the history of this conspiracy needs to be taken seriously and everything looked at critically.

    The points made by the Australian's are valid, deserve attention and respect for actually having the knowledge base of this nomenclature of esoteric government acronyms and program history's. Not many individuals alive today have this specialized knowledge related to the UFO topic and US Government.

    So I hope reader will be waiting for the rebuttal of each of their arguments. And as the researchers have done, provide examples of specific sources of their information as similar documents, links and program histories.

    1. Hi Dave, thank you for your insightful comments above. I have always argued that any hypothesis put forward, in this case that the 1961 SNIE is a genuine document, should be fully debated and peer reviewed. Taking a firm position before examining the pros and cons for an hypothesis, is a dangerous thing to do and can leave you open to ridicule, name calling and worse.I would urge anyone who wishes to offer an opinion on this 1961 document, to do their homework first; marshall their facts; put their thoughts forward but with references, links to original documents and a valid reason for what they are stating. As Joe Murgia has proposed the idea that this is a genuine document, he also has to be held accountable by his peers; and needs to be able to back up his hypothesis with fact checking, etc.

  3. "Paul is indicating that there are items mentioned in the 1961 document, which should not be in a genuine 1961 document." But Dr. Eric Davis is defending its authenticity. There seems to be a pattern of Davis defending highly dubious documents (i.e., Davis/Wilson "Leak of the Century"). This ought to give us a clue about what is going on.

    1. Hi Robert, have you undertaken any fact checking on Paul Dean's assertions? If so, it would be useful if you would publish these in detail for us all to examine. As I understand it from Joe Murgia, there are two sources, one being Dr. Davis who are stating that the 1961 document is genuine. I have asked Joe for further details on this.


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