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Government Documents Fail to Resolve Pennsylvania Mystery
By Leonard David, Space.com
(Nov. 25) – In the chronicles of UFO oddness, there's been a long-standing oddity – some say folklore, others deem it reality. This saga, now over four decades old, centers on a reported out-of-the-sky incident involving the small town of Kecksburg, Pa.
The date is Dec. 9, 1965: Residents see a ball of fire shooting through the darkening evening sky and then, seemingly, the object – purportedly shaped like a jumbo-sized acorn after impact – makes some sort of controlled crash into the woods. Fr
Up Against NASA
Whatever took place in Kecksburg, a dutiful look into the episode escalated to a lawsuit against NASA for access to information on the incident.
A central figure in the weirdness is New York-based investigative journalist Leslie Kean. Working with the Coalition for Freedom of Information, she was on the receiving end of loads of documents – an outcome of winning the lawsuit.
This stage of the saga began in 2002, when Kean was asked to spearhead a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) initiative sponsored by the Sci Fi Channel – an effort to acquire government documents on the Kecksburg case. The following year, she ended up as the plaintiff in a federal FOIA lawsuit filed against NASA in Washington, D.C.
"After previously promising to conduct an expedited search for files related to the 1965 Kecksburg UFO crash case, NASA had stonewalled and was withholding documents, leaving no recourse but this one," Kean explained in a just-issued report. "A settlement four years later, in October 2007, required NASA to provide hundreds of new documents and pay my attorney's legal fees."
No Smoking Gun
NASA's resulting search, monitored by the court, was completed in August 2009. The outcome of the investigation is available in Kean's paper, which was posted online this month to the coalition's Web site.
The report, flatly titled, "The Conclusion of the NASA Lawsuit Concerning the Kecksburg, PA UFO Case of 1965," explains how the process worked and the results of the search after the 2007 settlement in federal court.
The bottom line: No smoking gun documents were released, Kean notes, but many provocative questions and unresolved contradictions were raised by what was received, as well as by the fact that many files were missing or destroyed.
One open-ended aspect of Kean's reportage is the role of "Project Moondust" – a U.S. government-run activity involved in examining non-U.S. space objects, or objects of unknown origin. Indeed, various State Department documents show that NASA played a role in the recovery and examination of space object debris.