Bits of truth reside in documents on Project Blue Book, other UFO programs


MYSTERY WIRE — It’s now been 50 years since the Air Force shut down Project Blue Book, its much-maligned study of UFOs.

In the decades since, the UFO question has refused to go away. And the original documents from Blue Book and other formerly classified programs have since been made public. When the Air Force canceled Blue Book, it did so because it said there was no real evidence of any threat to national security.

“None of the evidence that I have examined would indicate any proof at all that we are being visited by extraterrestrials,” said Dr. Allen Hynek of Project Blue Book.

Harold Brown, Secretary of the Air Force, said, “We have not been hiding anything. The investigations have been made public.”

But a careful reading of the now-public documents shows the military hasn’t always been honest in its statements about UFOs.

What does the paper trail of UFO documents tell us about a possible coverup?

Government programs called Project Sign (1949) and Project Grudge came before Project Blue Book. See more about these projects in this report from our 1989 series, UFOs: The Best Evidence.

READ: Secrecy surrounds UFO studies since 1940s

After Project Blue Book was shut down, the military took little interest — at least publicly — in UFOs. The Condon Report justified Blue Book’s end on the assertion that UFOs did not present a threat. At Blue Book’s conclusion, more than 12,000 reports of unidentified flying objects had been collected over 17 years, and most were explained as natural phenomena or aircraft.

But that still left 585 cases that were unexplained, and 13 that were mysteriously missing.

Among the records that are publicly available:


The Air Force Declassification Office‘s 248-page report on the 1947 investigation in Roswell, New Mexico.

First-person accounts from witnesses are recorded in Appendix C of this 1995 report by Capt. James McAndrew, Intelligence Applications Officer assigned to the US Air Force. This report officially dismisses Roswell as a balloon test.

This comprehensive further examination of the so-called “Roswell Incident” found no evidence whatsoever of flying saucers, space aliens, or sinister government cover-ups. But, even if unintentionally, it did serve to highlight a series of events that embody the proud history of the finest air force in the world — the U.S. Air Force.


Project Grudge documents from the Air Force Declassification Office, including this order (Page 7) and a memo on the discontinuance of Grudge (Page 11) dated Dec. 1949:

FROM: Dept of the Air Force Hqs U.S. Air Force
TO: See below
SUBJECT: Destruction of Air Intelligence Report Number 100-203-79
1. It is requested that action be taken to destroy all copies of Top Secret Air Intelligence Report Number 100-203-79, subject, “Analysis of Flying Object Incidents in the U.S.,” dtd 10 Dec 1948.


Project Blue Book’s end, as described by a US Air Force Fact Sheet distributed by Wright-Patterson AFB in January 1985:

As a result of these investigations and studies and experience gained from investigating UFO reports since 1948, the conclusions of Project BLUE BOOK are:(1) no UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security;(2) there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as “unidentified” represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge; and(3) there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as “unidentified” are extraterrestrial vehicles.

The government’s role in UFO studies doesn’t reappear until 2007, when former US Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid and other senators established funding to assess possible threats to national security. Programs known as AAWSAP, AATIP and BAASS remained secret until news reports from the New York Times exposed the $22 million program and introduced the world to the “Tic Tac” UFO video.

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