The GAO looked into the Roswell incident and found ..... 

Chapter 24: Missing messages and nothing else

By Timothy Printy © 1999

In the early 1990s, Congressman Steven Schiff of New Mexico tried to ask questions regarding the Roswell matter. In his view, he was being "stonewalled" and could get nowhere. So, in early 1994, he finally decided to have the GAO investigate the matter. The GAO had the ability to search all records in government files and it was hoped that the GAO would turn up the infamous "smoking gun" for the Pro-Crash crowd. Unfortunately, it had an opposite effect. It forced the USAF to turn its investigators loose on the matter. The USAF, tired from the years of the Operation Bluebook, had seen no reason to waste valuable manpower looking into past events concerning Roswell. Now they were forced to. The result was the Project MOGUL story in their 1995 Report. Other departments searched their files as well. The Department of Defense, FBI, CIA, National Security Council, Office of Science and Technology, and Department of Energy were all asked to scour their records regarding anything unusual at Roswell in July of 1947.

The end result of the GAO search did not produce much. They found the FBI TELEX (mentioning the balloon and disc) and the 509th bomb group history but nothing else of significance. However, there was one point of contention involving the outgoing messages for the RAAF. They could not find the outgoing messages for the RAAF from October 1946 through December 1949, the unit history of the 1395th Military police Company (aviation), and the RAAF records for general administrative matters from March 1945 through December 1949. This seemed to indicate a form of cover-up. However, They did look at highly classified minutes of all the meetings of the NSC and the morning reports of the RAAF and found no mention of the incident. If one recalls, Patrick Saunders was handling all this paperwork and knew a lot according to Randle. However, the GAO found nothing in his reports! The only revelations were found in the unit history of the 509th, which states for the month of July, "The Office of Public Information was kept quite busy during the month answering inquiries on the ‘flying disc’, which was reported to be in the possession of the 509th Bomb Group. The object turned out to be a radar tracking balloon" (US Government Appendix 1 Online). Most of the rest of the history report for July states rather mundane tasks. The major project of the month was making arrangements for Air Force day! Amazing that with a crashed saucer in their midst, they were able to continue the preparations for Air Force day.

The biggest hay to be made by the Pro-Saucer crowd was the missing Teletype messages. These would appear to be hiding the evidence. However, what they fail to mention is that all the incoming messages for 8th AF and Wright Field still existed. None of these indicated any communication at all with Roswell about a crashed disc. When listening to General Dubose, it appears that everything was handled over the phone and there were no communications via Teletype with RAAF. The fact that these records were missing is not unusual at all either. The GAO found out that the records were probably destroyed in the mid-1950 when 38,000 boxes of old records were transferred to St. Louis. They informed Congressman Schiff, who suggested they alter the report to mention the missing records. The GAO did so and the report read,

In our search for records concerning the Roswell crash, we learned that some government records covering RAAF activities have been destroyed and others have not... These records were listed on the RAAF document disposition record as ‘permanent’ records. Senior government records management officials told us that because these were permanent records, they should not have been destroyed. (Klass)

The GAO then sent out the rough draft of the report to the various offices for any corrections. The Chief Archivist at the National Personnel Records Center, W. G. Siebert, challenged the initial drafting of this statement. He produced regulations that clearly stated that the records were authorized to be destroyed. Stating that Paragraph 53b of the Air Force Manual 181-5 [13] (Which was in effect at the time of the record transfer to St. Louis from Kansas City) clearly states that records "accumulated at or below wing level will be scheduled as one item and destroyed after two years" (Todd). What this means is any command records coming from a wing unit or lesser command was authorized for destruction rather than being sent to the new warehouse in St. Louis. The US Air force is broken up into numerous units that have their own order of precedence. In descending order of command, elements of major commands include numbered air forces, wings, groups, squadrons and flights. Note that a group (i.e. 509th bomb group) is below wing level and that anything associated with RAAF was part of a wing and their records, were authorized to be destroyed too. Thus there was nothing wrong with the missing records. There were numerous statements by various parties stating the act was illegal. This is another totally false statement.

As a result of Siebert’s protests, he was able to get the wording changed to:

The center's Chief Archivist stated that from his personal experience, many of the Air Force organizational records covering this time period were destroyed without entering citation for the government disposition authority. Our review of records control forms showing the destruction of other records - including outgoing RAAF messages for 1950 supports the Chief Archivist's viewpoint. (US Government Online)

Congressman Schiff obviously did not get this word and in his press release, he stated, "It is my understanding that these outgoing messages were permanent records, which should never have been destroyed. The GAO could not identify who destroyed the messages, or why" (US Government Online).Clearly, Congressman Schiff was playing politics. Faced with a no win situation, he asked the GAO to inflate the story about the missing messages. He then had his cover letter written and this was attached to the report. However, as Philip Klass points out, he did not realize the wording was changed to reflect that there was no problem with the loss of the records.

Congressman Schiff, taking up the UFO banner, began to comment about the MOGUL explanation "At least this effort caused the Air Force to acknowledge that the crashed vehicle was no weather balloon..." (US Government Online). However, what Schiff failed to understand about the MOGUL explanation is that it was almost the same thing as a weather balloon! This sparked some controversy in the Albuquerque newspaper, which ran the headline, "Schiff: Roswell UFO a balloon". Schiff was not happy and felt he was misquoted. He responded, "I have never stated any conclusion about the Roswell crash...Of course, the 1994 Air Force explanation is a possible answer..." (Frazier, Karr, and Nickel 127). Now the politician in Schiff began to change his stripes. Faced with the ugly consequence of his investigation not revealing anything, he now downplayed his original intentions. It was not to determine what really crashed at Roswell but to get past the "stonewalling" he experienced in his own personal inquiries. If Frank Kaufmann is correct, elaborate measures were conducted to cover-up the existence of said events. If this is so, why did they wait until the 1950’s to destroy the records and why not substitute false messages for the real ones?

Another point was made about the missing history of the 1395th MP Company. However, Robert Todd made it clear that this was not unusual. The 1395th MP Company was a very small unit and many of these units did not maintain unit histories. The fact that the research revealed no major expenditures of material, fuel, or manpower at RAAF during this time period indicates that nothing unusual happened. One must remember that to go 35 miles north of Roswell to retrieve a spaceship would have required an incredible expenditure of resources. The morning reports reveal nothing of the kind and make it clear that nothing out of the ordinary was occurring at RAAF those first two weeks of July.

As always, the authors were disgruntled and pompously claimed some form of victory or gave explanations for the reasons there was no "smoking gun". Stanton Friedman stated:

Although the GAO found no smoking guns, it is clear that the Air Force and other government agencies have played hardball about Roswell and MJ-12. Unless a congressional committee or some major media outfit has the courage and the resources to really dig into the subject, the public will be denied the truth about the cosmic Watergate. (Friedman 117)

This demonstrates the absurdity of the argument that the government can resolve the matter. If the government finds nothing incriminating, then they are involved in a cover-up. If they find something else (i.e. Project MOGUL), then this is misinformation. The government loses unless they admit the events happened as the authors describe. For that matter, Friedman should blame the aliens too. They are part of the cosmic Watergate also. They are also involved in this cover-up. They do not reveal themselves to the world. They are at fault as well!

Kevin Randle’s response was similar:  

The one thing the GAO report did do was confirm that some of the documentation from the 509th Bomb Group had been improperly destroyed so it could not be reviewed. The report also showed that some agencies of the government were being less than honest in their attempts to find documents. And finally, the GAO report did nothing to support the Air Force claim that a balloon was responsible for the Roswell case. (Randle Conspiracy 240)

The statement that the government agencies were not forthcoming is the reference to the FBI not producing a document that was, supposedly, associated with Roswell. This document had been recovered via FOIA long before as were the other documents found. However, it is likely that it is not associated with Roswell at all. It probably was referring to a recovery of discs in Shreveport, Louisianna that turned out to be a hoax. Nowhere in this document does it mention Roswell. According to Randle, Hoover’s handwriting looks like it says "Sw"(southwest?) but people familiar with Hoover's handwriting state it reads "La."(Korff 175). In the May/June 1994 issue of the International UFO Reporter (newsletter of CUFOS, who sponsors Randle/Schmitts research), Christopher Allan addresses this issue:

The answer is obvious. Hoover is referring to the prank disc. The abbreviation "La." (note the period Hoover inserted) can only refer to Louisiana. The facts are these:

A 16-inch aluminum platter with some odd attachments was found in Shreveport, Louisiana, on July 6 or 7 and was denounced by police as the work of pranksters. It was then handed over to the Army Air Force at nearby Barksdale AFB. For details, see pages 11-12 and 16 of Loren E.Gross's UFOs: A History - Volume I (July 1947 - December 1948), and page 149 of Lawrence Fawcett and Barry J. Greenwood's Clear Intent.

Hoover noted, on the July 10 memo, that he would agree to cooperate with the Army Air Force provided that the FBI had "full access to discs recovered." He went on: "For instance, in the La. case the Army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination." This is precisely the point: The FBI was not given access to the Shreveport disc, in spite of Randle and Schmitt's claim that the bureau was "heavily involved" (p. 92). The FBI, in fact, was cut out of the investigation and effectively snubbed. Its only contact was via a phone call from Barksdale which told an FBI agent about the hoax. This agent promptly relayed the news to the New Orleans FBI office.

This point is brought out in two other FBI memos, one dated July 24 (E. G. Fitch to D. M. Ladd), the other late on July 7. In the former the writer refers to Hoover's note in the first paragraph and then goes on to say that the military has promised complete cooperation in the future and that "all discs recovered be made available for examination by FBI agents," thus clearly implying that this had not been the case up to then.

The July 7 memo, also to Ladd, gives further evidence of the lack of FBI access to the prank disc. The Army took sole charge.

Fawcett and Greenwood note that "Hoover's comment has been taken out of context by various writers as evidence of alien beings coming to earth." This was lO years ago; yet Randle and Schmitt still perpetuate the myth.

There can be no doubt whatever that Hoover was writing about the Shreveport disc. There is equally no doubt that by bringing in such irrelevancies as Los Angeles (which would be denoted as "LA" and not "La") and Los Alamos (which would be written out in full), the authors have sought to invoke weak and dubious evidence to twist Hoover's meaning toward Roswell. Neither Los Angeles nor Los Alamos has the remotest connection with the Roswell case. Hoover was certainly not referring to Roswell and, apart from the one Dallas memo of July 8 (indicating little FBI interest), there is nothing in the myriad of released official papers to show the FBI ever mentioned, or cared about, Roswell.

Finally, notice that at no point does Hoover or the FBI refer to a saucer "crash." The only term used in these memos is "recovery," a quite different concept. (Allen)

So Randle is, once again, twisting the truth to his advantage. As for the GAO not endorsing the AF report, this has already been addressed but one must note that the GAO did not contradict the conclusions of the AF report or state the AF report was incorrect.

What the search through the records did show was that there was not one bit of evidence that indicated that anything unusual happened at Roswell. According to Colonel Richard Weaver,

...there was no indication in official records from the period that there was heightened military operational or security activity which should have been generated if this was, in fact, the first recovery of materials and /or persons from another world. The postwar U.S. military (or today's for that matter) did not have the capability to rapidly identify, recover, coordinate, cover up, and quickly minimize public scrutiny of such an event. The claim that they did so without leaving even a little bit of a suspicious paper trail for 47 years is incredible. (HQ USAF 29-30)

Since Congressman Schiff relied heavily on the stories supplied by the witnesses and authors we began to wonder how credible the reports are. How thorough are the "investigators" and "researchers", who claim to find evidence for a UFO crash? How good is their research and can it stand up under close scrutiny?

Works Cited

Allan, Christopher D. "Dubious Truth About the Roswell Crash". International UFO Reporter, May/June 1994.

Frazier, Kendrick ,Barry Karr, and Joe Nickell ed. UFO Invasion. Amherst: Prometheus, 1997

Friedman, Stanton. Top Secret: MAJIC. New York: Marlowe & Company, 1997

HQ USAF. The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert. Washington: US Government, 1995.

Klass, Philip. "GAO Revised Roswell Report at Rep Schiff's Request". Skeptics UFO Newsletter, September 1996

Korff, Kal. The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don't Want You to Know. Amherst: Prometheus, 1997.

Randle, Kevin. Conspiracy of Silence. New York: Avon Books, 1997

Todd, Robert. "Damage Control and Spin Artistry at Ye Olde Centre for UFO Propaganda: Much Ado-do About Nothing". CowPflop Quarterly March 8, 1996.

US Government. The GAO Report on Roswell. Washington D. C.: Online. Internet. Available WWW:


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