(Reprinted w/o permission from The Albuquerque Journal (1/13/94)
SCHIFF REOPENS UFO CASE
Agency Takes New Look at 'Roswell Incident'
By Steve Brewer (Staff writer, Albuquerque Journal)
It's been more than 46 years now, and Rep. Steve Schiff thinks it's high
time the federal government came clean on whether space aliens crashed their
flying saucer in New Mexico.
The Albuquerque Republican has asked the General Accounting Office to
investigate whether a government cover-up followed the crash of a mysterious
object near the little ranch town of Corona on July 2, 1947. ANd the GAO,
Congress' investigative arm, has begun a probe.
"It's not a light thing to ask a government agency to look into something,
but the government has been accused of a cover-up," Schiff said Wednesday.
The congressman admitted he's curious about the incident, but added, "I
would not not ask for an investigation of something I was just curious about.
The issue is whether the government is being forthright with the American
people, and that is a serious issue with me."
The 1947 crash, known as the "Roswell Incident" because it happened about
75 miles northwest of Roswell, has been the focus of UFO books and buffs
for years. They claima flying saucer crashed on a ranch owned by Mac Brazel,
and that the government teams whisked away the wreckage and perhaps, the
bodies of aliens.
They also assert the remains of the crash were taken first to Fort Worth,
Texas, then to what is now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The
Air Force said the day after the recovery that the material was from a
weather balloon equipped with a radar reflecting gadget.
But UFO believers say the incident was the beginning of a government
secrecy program that has hidden proof of the existence of extraterrestrial
visitors for more than four decades.
"For sort of all-around thoroughness, Roswell's the best case we've got,"
said Michael Lindemann, a Santa Barbara, Calif., futurist who does research
on UFOs. "If we had no other UFO case at all, the elements of the Roswell
case would go a very, very long way to proving we have had alien visitation.
Philip J. Klass, a Washington, D.C., aviation writer who's worked for
decades debunking UFO sightings, said, however, that there "isn't a shred
of evidence" that a flying saucer was recovered at Roswell. He said
declassified military documents show high-ranking Air Force and White House
officials never had any knowledge of such a find, and it's absurd to think
lower-level operatives could have kept such a secret from their bosses.
But Schiff said long-standing suspicions of such a conspiracy make the
GAO investigation worthwhile.
"I just assume that if there were alien bodies at Wright-Patterson Air
Force Base, somebody would have discovered them during all these years,"
he said. "On the other hand, you have to say anything is possible as long
as the government won't talk. The government promotes these things with
The congressman said he decided to look into the allegations after
receiving letters from people interested in UFOs, including a couple from
people who claimed to have witnessed the wreckage at the crash site.
Last March, according to Klass' Skeptic UFO Newsletter, Schiff wrote to
Secretary of Defence Les Aspin requesting an Air Force briefing on the
Roswell Incident. Schiff said Wednesday (1/12/94) that Air Force officials
told him later they couldn't brief him because all the documents from the
investigation known as Project Blue Book has been sent to the National
He contacted the National Archives officials, who said they're not in the
business of giving briefings.
"We went back and forth a little bit and, frankly, I got tired of going
back and forth, " he said. "I talked to the people at GAO (in October)
and told them about this."
Schiff has frequent contact with GAO officials because he'son the House
Government Operations Committee, which oversee the GAO.
"I asked them, 'Is this anything that you might be able to assist me
with?'" Schiff recalled. "They said, 'We've never done anything like this
before. We mostly lok into fiscal matters ... but it sounds interesting.
Why not give us a stab at it?'"
Since then, said GAO spokeswoma Laura Kopelson, an investigator has
begun studying documents and looking into the cover-up allegations. She
said the results will be reported back to Schiff.
Schiff said he was told a few days ago the investigator had nothing to
report yet, and one of his aides was told the investigator was "getting
stonewalled" by the Department of Defence.
"That made them that much more interested in the investigation," he said.