(Reprinted w/o permission from The Albuquerque Journal (1/13/94) SCHIFF REOPENS UFO CASE A

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(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 its silence." 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 Archives. 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.

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