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In order to unplug the military intelligence channels, however,
the CIA recommended that, since the UFOs apparently posed no
threat, the Air Force should debunk UFO reports and try generally to
discourage public interest in them, in the hope that they would go
It was the CIA's recommendation, apparently, that was made policy,
for the investigative procedures used since 1953 have been vestigal and
the handling of the subject by the authorities tended to make witnesses
Originally posted by behindthescenes
But according to a 1969 RAND report on the UFO phenomenon, it became de facto policy among the U.S. government to ridicule all people reporting UFOs. This was the recommendation by the CIA a decade earlier after it raised concerns that the sheer number of UFO reports flooding the government would mask a legitimate foreign invasion of the country.
Certainly the conclusions drawn by NICAP from reports in their file[s] are startling and, if valid worthy of considerable scientific effort. It would be much more convincing if data could be collected worldwide and if the most interesting reports could be intensively and completely investigated. I believe current reports justify the expanded data collection and analysis effort.
The Panel agreed generally that this mass of poor-quality reports containing little, if any, scientific data was of no value. Quite the opposite, it was possibly dangerous in having a military service foster public concern in "nocturnal meandering lights." The implication being, since the interested agency was military, that these objects were or might be potential direct threats to national security. Accordingly, the need for deemphasization made itself apparent. Comments on a possible educational program are enumerated below.
The Panel's concept of a broad educational program integrating efforts of all concerned agencies was that it should have two major aims: training and "debunking." The training aim would result in proper recognition of unusually illuminated objects (e.g., balloons, aircraft reflections) as well as natural phenomena (meteors, fireballs, mirages, noctilucent clouds). Both visual and radar recognition are concerned. There would be many levels in such education from enlisted personnel to command and research personnel. Relative emphasis and degree of explanation of different programs would correspond to the categories of duty (e.g., radar operators; pilots; control tower operators; Ground Observer Corps personnel; and officers and enlisted men in other categories). This training should result in a marked reduction in reports caused by misidentification and resultant confusion.
The "debunking" aim would result in reduction in public interest in "flying saucers" which today evokes a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures, and popular articles. Basis of such education would be actual case histories which had been puzzling at first but later explained. As in the case of conjuring tricks, there is much less stimulation if the "secret" is known. Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and consequently their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda. The Panel noted that thegeneral absence of Russian propaganda based on a subject with so many obvious possibilities for exploitation might indicate a possible Russian official policy.
So now you see how this story got twisted in the retelling. We've got a citation of a term paper Rand report of dubious quality which offers a speculation and cites a private UFO researcher's speech which is also opinionated citing a government report that suggests UFO reports out to be debunked to reduce the traffic load.
My conclusion here is that yes, the Robertson Panel, which is the source of all this, did recommend that the UFO reports be debunked, but they in no way suggested people be ridiculed. Indeed, their interest was to make the public less gullible. The Rand Report doesn't admit anything, cannot support its conclusions, and is reporting CIA involvement third hand. Shame on Rand for such a shoddy report and shame on everyone else for repeating it (this isn't the first time) without going to the source.
Originally posted by behindthescenes
But I'm not sure the author is drawing empty conclusions based on the one report. I think it is standard practice to ridicule "witnesses" outright. But to what end? UFO buffs will say because they want to better cover up the existence of aliens. Perhaps the easier explanation is the truth: They want to styme the flow of unsubstantiated reports coming into different divisions and groups, which can clog the flow of legitimate info.
Originally posted by schuyler
Shame on Rand for such a shoddy report
Comment by Jan Aldrich
It should be made clear that this was an individual effort within an organization which took no action, and had no discussion on the matter as the result of his effort other than to file it.
Originally posted by plumranch
reply to post by schuyler
Maybe part of the problem is that debunking is often confused with ridicule and ridicule us often used in debunking!? And when a governmental agency is given the green light to debunk it's open season!
Originally posted by IAttackPeople
Funny this thread shows-up today.
On television last night, "America At The Crossroads" featured some French automotive cultural committee that was all up-in-arms because French people are using the term "airbag" instead of the French term.
[edit on 29-8-2007 by IAttackPeople]