The following article was published in the New York Times on October 14, 1979. However, all traces of it have since been wiped from the newspaper's archives.
NEW YORK CITY -- Though officials have long denied that they take ‘flying saucers’ seriously, declassified documents now reveal extensive Government concern over the phenomenon.
Numerous daily updates kept the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed of these incursions by U.F.O.'s in the fall of 1975. Representatives of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency as well as a handful of other Government desks received copies of the National Military Command Center's reports on the incidents. One report said that an unidentified object “demonstrated a clear intent in the weapons storage area.” Though Air Force records show that the C.I.A. was notified several times of these penetrations over nuclear missile and bomber bases, the agency has acknowledged only one such notification. Subsequent investigations by the Air Force into the sightings at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, where the remarkable series of events began, did not reveal a cause for the sightings.
Despite official pronouncements for decades that U.F.O.'s were nothing more than misidentified aerial objects and as such were no cause for alarm, recently declassified U.F.O. records from the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and other Federal agencies indicate that, ever since U.F.O.'s made their appearance in our skies in the 1940's, the phenomenon has aroused much serious behind‐the‐scenes concern in official circles. Details of the intelligence community's protracted obsession with the subject of U.F.O.'s have emerged over the past few years with the release of long‐withheld Government records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Though these papers fail to resolve the U.F.O. enigma, they do manage to dispel many popular notions about the U.F.O. controversy, as well as give substance to a number of others. Official records now available appear to put to rest doubts that the Government knew more about U.F.O.'s than it has claimed over the past 32 years. From the start, it has been convinced that most U.F.O. sightings could be explained in terms of misidentified balloons, cloud formations, airplanes, ball lightning, meteors and other natural phenomena.
But the papers also show that the Government remains perplexed about the nagging residue of unexplained U.F.O. sightings, which amount to approximately 10 percent of all U.F.O. sightings reported. Do they pose a threat to national security? Even the possibility that these unknowns could be evidence of extraterrestrial visitations has been given serious attention in Government circles. While official interest in U.F.O.'s has long been thought to be strictly the concern of the Air Force, the bulk of whose records has been open to public view for nearly a decade, the recently released papers on U.F.O.'s indicate otherwise. The Departments of the Army, Navy, State and Defense, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and even the Atomic Energy Commission produced U.F.O. records over the years. Many of these agencies still do, and many of their documents remain classified.
Perhaps most telling of all, the Government documents on U.F.O.'s reveal that despite official denials to the contrary, Federal agencies continue to monitor the phenomenon to this day.
A whistleblower recently claimed that the agency has arbitrarily withheld documents, made deletions without merit, and failed to conduct a proper search for U.F.O. materials. The agency's current actions, he says, perpetuate its 30‐year policy of deliberate deception and dishonesty about U.F.O.'s. “What has been released to us seems to have been rather carefully selected,” he wrote. “We suspect that the agency is withholding at least 200 more documents than the 57 they have admitted they are keeping from us to protect intelligence sources.” Victor Marchetti, a former executive assistant to the agency's deputy director, agrees with him. The entire exercise, Marchetti wrote recently in a magazine article, “has the same aroma of the agency's previous messy efforts to hide its involvement in drugs and mind‐control operations, both prime examples of a successful intelligence cover‐up.”
The possibility that U.F.O.'s could pose a serious risk to national security remains foremost in the coldwar‐conscious Government mind. Should that threat come to pass, military officials believe, our nation's sophisticated defense system would know about it before someone getting a glass of milk in the middle of the night sees the threat hovering outside the kitchen window. Or so we are made to understand the Air Force's seemingly nonchalant advice to the public: “If you see a U.F.O. and you feel the situation warrants it, call your local police.”