Questions have surrounded the Roswell, New Mexico, crash since it happened in 1947. It was described as a crash involving a “flying disk,” but the government said it was a weather balloon. Later, it was determined there had been a coverup. Investigative reporter George Knapp has the story. Aired on Aug. 1, 1995, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.
For more than a year, the investigative arm of Congress, the GAO, has delved into the 1947 Roswell incident at the request of New Mexico Congressman Steve Schiff, who called for an investigation after his own questions resulted in a classic Pentagon runaround. Schiff wanted to know if there had been a military coverup. And the answer appears to be yes.
Originally, the Roswell Army Air Base announced it had recovered a flying saucer from a ranch outside Roswell. The story made headlines around the world, but hours later higher-ups said no, it was a weather balloon. Pieces of the balloon were shown to reporters. Years later, the officer who first visited the crash site, Major Jesse Marcel confided that the weather balloon story was a coverup. What was shown to reporters wasn’t what he found. He said the material was not of this Earth and had strange markings on it.
Since Marcel’s admission, scores of other witnesses have also surfaced.
“It’s not one person. It’s not 10 people. It’s over a hundred people,” according to Stan Friedman, a nuclear physicist and UFO researcher.
In late 1994, in an effort to preempt the GAO, the Pentagon issued its own Roswell report in which it admitted it had in fact lied about the weather balloon. What really crashed it said, this time, was a balloon launch surveillance device codenamed Project Mogul.
The 1994 GAO report found no evidence to contradict the Pentagon’s latest story.
What it did find is that many of the records have been destroyed. All administrative records and outgoing communication from the Roswell base from 1946 to 1949 was destroyed by unknown persons under unknown authority, contrary to military regulations. One document that did surface is this FBI memo dated July 8, 1947, the day after the alleged crash. The memo refers to a recovered disk as well as to a balloon and states that wreckage was flown to Wright Patterson Air Base in Ohio. The base has no records of any wreckage.
Congressman Schiff’s office told Channel 8 news that the GAO probe at least forced the military to admit it has been lying all these years. But because of the destroyed records, Schiff says there are still many unanswered questions.
As the GAO put it, the debate will continue.