January 20, 1981 - January 20, 1989
It was the last day in the White House for President Ronald Reagan. He wandered into the Oval Office for the last time to look around. Taking a piece of paper he wrote a note for his successor, George Bush. He carefully placed the note inside one of the empty draws of the Presidential Desk. "Dont let the turkeys get you down," Reagan had written.
Glancing around the office the president spotted his National Security Advisor Colin Powell arriving for the final morning national security briefing.
As Powell walked up, Reagan reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the white laminated card he had carried with him for the past eight years containing the nuclear launch codes. "Oh, who do I give these to?" Reagan asked. Powell told him not to worry - a military aide would take the card from him after the new President was sworn in.
The President of the United States is commonly referred to as the most powerful man in the world, ruling over the most powerful economy and military on the planet. In reality, the President of the United States is nothing more than a job, much like any other job in any business, industry, or government in the world.
Whether President or ditch digger, when the job ends, it is time to hand in the keys to the executive washroom, the company ID, or in the Reagan's case the white laminated card that gave him the power to destroy the world.
In effect, President Reagan was much like any other job holder in the world just playing a role, like an actor in a stage play.
The United States is the stage. It will continue to accommodate plays after each of the key actors have retired. The person playing the role of President will be replaced by another actor after a two year competition for the job. Each President has the chance to alter what direction the country will take, but the country will go on evolving long after the President is gone.
Despite the "here today - gone tomorrow" situation that prevents most Presidents from being told the truth about the UFO situation they are responsible for, President Reagan is acknowledged to have known more than most Presidents.
Reagan had, after all, played the role of secret agent Brass Brancroft J-24 in his days as a Hollywood actor. He had been chairman of the Junior Secret Service, a group formed by Warner Brothers to publicize Reagans secret agent movies.
Ten of the thirty movies Reagan made involved plots dealing with protecting national security. He had been a member of the Army Air Force Intelligence during World War 11. He had worked for the FBI as an informant in Hollywood. He had sat on the Rockefeller Commission in 1975 looking into CIA abuses, and as a Republican, he enjoyed the backing of the military believed to control the UFO secret.
Reagan was foremost, an actor who could take direction from the people who controlled the secrets. He would present the public face for the operation run by others. Reagan was rarely interested in details, and delegated almost everything. He was a man who could be trusted.
A question remains, however, as to how much of the UFO secret was given to Reagan the President. Reagan like the many Presidents before him had tens of thousands of issues being dealt with below him in the government. Only the most critical items were brought to the Oval office for his attention.
Secondly, there is some evidence that some items were purposely kept from Reagan. One of Reagans National Security Staff members told Steven Greer's Disclosure Project there were subjects that were kept from the President. "If we dont want the President to know something," he said, "we just lie to him. Its done all the time."
The record of the Reagan administration also seems to show that many of the issues surrounding the UFO puzzle may not have been handled by Reagan because of his hands-off method of running the White House. Cabinet members under Reagan were allowed to run their departments as they saw fit.
"Reagan had a total incapacity to manage even the mildest detail," stated James Schlesinger. "He was an executive who could not execute. We probably have not had as good a chief of state since George Washington, but he was a dreadful, dreadful chief of government. He really didn't know what was going on most of the time."
Starting out as an actor, and then the governor of California, Ronald Reagan came to Washington with a background that would have allowed them to trust him, but no background that would have helped him get the full answer to the UFO problem. The CIA said of Reagan "he had the least experience as a regular consumer of national-level intelligence of any President elected since the CIA was formed." In addition, CIA reports claimed that Reagan was not keen on long involved briefings, which limited how much he was told.
Reagan had a strong personal view of how the world worked. He knew that the Soviet Union was a godless evil empire, consisting of thugs and bullies who tried ceaselessly to stir up trouble around the world. He knew from his personal religious convictions that the Israelis were on the right side in the middle east conflict.
As the CIA would find out, Reagans views were also not easily changed. As a part of his briefings as President-elect, the CIA wrote and presented Reagan with a paper illustrating the different types of Arabs making up the Palestinian block, their beliefs and practices. The CIA hoped it would help Reagan to develop a balanced view regarding the Arab nations. Reagan carefully read the briefing paper. He then looked up at the CIA briefer and said, "Theyre all terrorists, aren't they?"
In the end the CIA gave-up on President Reagan. They had provided him only one briefing prior to being elected, which briefing agents described as "a circus." The briefers stated "the Reagan camp had only accepted the briefing because it had been offered, and they had to do it. There was no evidence that anyone had the expectation that the Governor would engage in an in-depth review of the substantive issues . . . "
Reagan felt that the offers for daily intelligence briefings from the Carter CIA people probably wouldnt be needed, because there wasnt anything Reagan needed that he couldnt learn reading the newspaper.
Moreover, Reagan felt that President Carter and his national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski might be trying to put one over on him with the President-elect briefings. All further briefing were cut off, and Vice-president elect Bush was left with the job of convincing President-elect Reagan to take intelligence briefings during the transition period. Reagan finally agreed to be briefed, but Reagan aides who sat in on the briefings made sure the briefings werent too long.
Once President, Reagan cut the CIA off. Intelligence support was provided to the president only indirectly through his National Security Advisor, Richard Allen. Each day the Presidents Daily Briefing (PDB) was given to Allen, and he gave it to Reagan. Reagan then read it at his leisure. In the entire eight years of the Administration, only once or twice did a briefing officer sit across from the president and brief him or answer his questions. At no time did Reagan, like President Carter had done, make notes or write questions on the PDB. Reagan felt he was getting all the intelligence that he needed. As he said in 1993, "I thought we received all the intelligence that we needed to make decisions."
Soon after Reagan became President, the security level of the intelligence he was getting went down. This was because of the number of people who ended up on the PDB distribution list, and the careless way the PDB was being handled. The Presidents daily briefing was being passed around the White House, and soon the situation would have existed that the only person not reading it was the President. The Agency started to cut back on sensitive items included in the briefing. As the CIA stated they started to "be circumspect in the items included in the publication."
This lack of secret intelligence didnt bother Reagan. He knew flying saucers existed and there was no need to look further. Dixon Davis who was one of the two CIA agents appointed to brief Reagan during the transition said "The problem with Ronald Reagan was that all his ideas were all fixed. He thought that he knew about everything --he was an old dog."
Of all the U.S. Presidents, Reagan more than any other President, appeared to be obsessed with the flying saucer topic. Billy Cox, a feature writer with Florida Today, wrote a major story in Florida Today about Reagan. The article looked at a series of alien invasion remarks that had appeared in a number of Reagan's speeches. Cox described the situation as "Ronald Reagans abiding fascination with extraterrestrials."
Ronald Reagans daughter Patti Davis described her father as "fascinated with stories about unidentified flying objects and the possibility of life on other worlds." She compared the "madness" of her fathers inauguration day to "a fiftys movie in which flying saucers descend on the metropolis."
Reagan may have gained this intense interest from sightings he had while he was Governor of California. Kitty Kelly in her Unauthorized Biography of Nancy Reagan stated Reagan admitted to believing in flying saucers, and "even swore that he had seen a few unidentified flying objects."
Two of these Reagan UFO encounters have become public. The first sighting story was made public by Steve Allen on his WNEW-AM radio show in New York. Allen stated that a well know personality in the entertainment industry had confided a UFO story to him many years before. As the story had already made the rounds in the rumor mill, there was no question the comedian and host was referring to Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.
Ron and Nancy were expected at a casual dinner party with friends in Hollywood. Except for the Reagans, all the guests had arrived. Ron and Nancy showed up a half hour later quite upset. They stated that they had seen a UFO coming down the coast.
Lucille Ball in her book "Lucy in the Afternoon" also described the event. In her account of the event she stated, “After he elected President, I kept thinking about that event, and wondered if he still would have won if he told everyone that he saw a flying saucer.”
The second sighting occurred in 1974 while Reagan was still Governor. One week after the sighting, Reagan related the story to Norman C. Millar, then Washington Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, later the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Reagan told Millar:
The pilot of Governor Reagan plane was Bill Paynter, and he backed up Reagans version of the incident with the UFO.
Paynter added the UFO incident didnt stop there. He stated that he and Reagan had discussed their UFO sighting "from time to time" in the years following the incident.
Reagan, in his discussion of the sighting with Norman C. Miller added that he had told Nancy about the UFO he had seen, and they had done personal research on UFOs. This research had uncovered the facts that there were references to UFOs in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Reagan was telling his story in a very animated way. This led Miller to conclude that Reagan seriously believed in UFOs. He asked him, "Governor, are you telling me that you saw a UFO?"
Suddenly, according to Miller, Reagan realized that he was talking to a reporter. "This look crossed his face," recalled Miller, "and he said lets just say that Im an agnostic."
Once in the White House it didnt take Reagan a long time to bring up the UFO subject. Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus described in their book "Landslide" that the Reagan handlers went to great lengths to "conceal" the Presidents assertion that he had seen a flying saucer or his belief that there was a ghost in the Lincoln bedroom. There was also an effort to discourage Reagan from talking about two other topics he liked - Armageddon and astrology.
Reagan handlers went to great efforts to protect President Reagan from possibly embarrassing questions by starting up presidential helicopter just before Reagan exited the White House to leave for trips. Nancy Reagan was also part of the protection force surrounding the President. She was often close enough to the President to whisper answers to difficult questions, or to provide corrections to things he had said which were wrong or embarrassing.
The efforts to maintain silence on the subjects of UFOs, ghosts, astrology, and Armageddon by White House staffers, however, were not always successful. Reagan was a big fan of the occult, so from time to time these items would appear in Reagan speeches. In a February 11, 1988 speech called, Remarks at the Annual Conservative Political Action Conference Dinner Reagan was able to get both ghosts and UFOs in the same speech. In the speech written for Reagan by Pulitzer Prize winning speech writer Tony Dolan Reagan said:
There were a great number of these UFO, ghost, and Armageddon references written into Reagan speeches. Whether the UFO comments were planned or slips of the tongue by Reagan, the first controversial UFO comment would not be made by Reagan but by a senior member of the National Security Agency, writing on Reagans behalf.
On September 28, 1981, President Reagan received a letter from Major Ret. Colman VonKeviczky. VonKeviczky was the Director of the International UFO Galactic Spacecraft Research and Analytic Network (ICUFON). This group held that UFOs "represented an intergalactic task force that will destroy earth unless world leaders band together to end their hostile actions against UFOs."
VonKeviczky began his career by working for the United Nations staff audio-visual department. In 1966, he wrote to United Nations Secretary U Thant recommending a UFO authority be installed to act as a World Authority for Spatial Affairs. U Thant was interested in the UFO mystery and commissioned VonKeviczky "to work on a preliminary memo on how the UFO problem could be inserted in the U.N. agenda."
Since then, and up till his death in July 1998, Colman sent Memorandum after Memorandum to Secretary General after Secretary General attempting to get action on UFOs from the U.N. He also confronted every President from Johnson on by mail with letters and packages of materials related to the UFO situation. He demanded that action be taken to deal with the visiting aliens.
Von Keviczkys September 28th letter to Reagan was his third letter to the new President. It included seventeen documents which he felt illustrated the "potential threat of the UFO forces."
The September 28,1981 letter continued the theme of Von Keviczkys first letter to President Reagan which had been sent January 28, 1981 - only days after Reagan came to office.
The subject of that letter was a same concern that the United States and other nations should acknowledge the existence of the "extraterrestrial UFO Forces" so as to avoid a serious confrontation. It read in part:
The first letter was never answered or acknowledged. Nor is there any record of it in the Reagan White House files at the Reagan Library. VonKeviczky was very upset that the January 28 letter had not been answered, as he believed he had an “in” with the new President.
VonKeviczky was a sustaining member of the Republican National Committee. On December 30, 1980, the Republican National Committee sent a letter to VonKeviczky signed by Reagan thanking VonKeviczky for his “help in electing me President” and for his “generous financial support.” Further, a March 80 request for two photos was responded with five photos of the President, in what was called a “Special Letter Response.”
Unlike the January letter, the September 28th letter actually got a response from the Chief Military Advisor of the White House and National Security Council - Major General Robert Schweitzer.
Schweitzer was a distinguished Army officer who gathered many high ranking positions and metals including Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans; National Security Defense Group Director; and the Chief of the Policy Branch of SHAPE in Belgium. General Schweitzer has received numerous awards and decorations including the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three Silver Stars, two Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merits, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldiers Medal, the Bronze Star with Valor device (three additional awards), Air Medal with Valor device (20 additional awards), seven Purple Hearts, and two Army Commendation Medals. Schweitzer’s reply was dated November 21, 1981.
Schweitzer, in his reply to Von Keviczky wrote in part;
“ The President is well aware of the threat you document so clearly and is doing all in his power to restore the national defense margin of safety as quickly and prudently as possible.”
VonKeviczky immediately approached the Associated Press with what he thought was proof that the Reagan administration was taking the alien situation seriously. The Associated Press contacted Schweitzer to see if this was indeed true. Schweitzer, realizing that he was in a box, stated that the letter had been a mistake and that it should never have been mailed. Schweitzer maintained that he had interpreted the threat, described by VonKeviczky, as the “USSR strategic superiority over the United States.”
Despite the Russian explanation, the September 21 five page VonKeviczky letter addressed to Reagan mentions UFOs forty-nine times. (If the 20 pages of enclosures were included, the total would be in the hundreds) The word U.S.S.R. is only used three times and in each case is used in context with their involvement with UFOs. It is absolutely impossible that the VonKeviczky letter could be mistaken for a Soviet threat.
The Associated Press considered putting the story on the wire, but in the end decided not to because the word UFO had not appeared in Schweitzer’s November 21 letter. Schweitzer had only said “the threat you document so clearly.”
The lack of any press coverage of the story, however, did not help Major General Schweitzer. The firing was done by Reagan’s National Security advisor Richard Allen, even though some White House documents indicate Schweitzer was fired by Reagan.
Ronald Reagan was unable to fire anyone. He had once used the family lawyer (William French Smith) to settle a dispute with a troublesome maid. Donald Regan said of Reagan “he could not bring himself to look someone in the eye and say OK, you son of a bitch, if that’s the way you want it, you’ve got it - You’re fired.”
Reagan would do anything to avoid confrontation, so it is doubtful he had much to do with the firing. Not only did Reagan not fire Schweitzer he hosted him in the Oval office before he was escorted from the White House. The White House Library Index provided the following account of the reception for the fired Schweitzer’s in the oval office.
10/26/81 No Release. Post 10/28. The President gave
a personal farewell in the Oval Office Monday evening
to Maj. Gen. Robert L. Schweitzer, the National Security
Council member who was fired after giving a hard‑line
speech on Soviet intentions described as more pessimistic
than the President's views. White House National
Security Adviser Richard V. Allen who fired Schweitzer
arranged the Oval Office occasion.
During the Oval Office reception President Reagan presented Schweitzer with a letter that read much more like promotion than a dismissal. The Reagan signed letter was drafted by Chris Shoemaker at the NSC. It read in part,
I want to extend to you my personal gratitude for your dedicated service and leadership as Director of Defense Policy on the staff of the National Security Council.
Your assistance in the formation of our national security policy has been invaluable to me. In particular, your work on Latin America, arms control and the strategic forces issues have been significant, and your service will be long remembered.
I also want to thank you for your contributions to our efforts to achieve a successful outcome to the sale of air material to Saudi Arabia. You loyalty to superiors and to your subordinates has been outstanding, and it is a splendid credit to your career.
Schweitzer was fired related to a speech he gave to the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington where he stated, “The Soviets are on the move. They are ready to strike.” Richard Allen described the firing in a letter to one of the many letters that were sent to House members by constituents challenging Schweitzer’s removal from the NSC. In a letter to attorney Jack Wallace Allen wrote:
...The action was required in the interest of consistency and established procedures. Public remarks by senior officials will be constructed as official policy statements by domestic and foreign audiences. Unless they are coordinated beforehand, there is a high risk of misunderstanding and uncertainty on matters of key importance. As a result, General Schweitzer’s reassignment was unavoidable.
The reason given for the firing, as irrational as it sounded, stuck to the “Soviet superiority misinterpretation” theory.
VonKeviczky, in a 1988 letter to this author, described Schweitzer’s removal from the NSC as an “immediate transfer to the Pentagon.” The time line set out by the documents shows a different and weird set of events.
General Schweitzer was fired by National Security Advisor Richard Allen prior to October 15 when he first mentions it in a letter. Allen then strangely requested that Reagan hold a “personal farewell” for Schweitzer in the Oval office. This occurs two weeks later on October 26th. General Schweitzer, however, does not appear to have left his NSC post till late November.
This is evidenced by the letter to Colman VonKeviczky on November 21. 1981 on NSC Letterhead, and an e-mail to this author where the Reagan library stated Schweitzer left his NSC position in “late November” 1981.
To make things even weirder a little over a year later all appeared to be forgotten and Reagan promoted Robert Schweitzer to Lt. General.
Star Wars, UFOs, and Dr. Edward Teller
The incident with Major General Robert Schweitzer was not the last time President Reagans White House would have trouble with Von Keviczky pushing his UFO agenda on the White House. Writer Antonio Huneeus described a second June 5, 1983 incident when VonKeviczky haunted Keyworth, Reagans science advisor. VonKeviczky had stood up in an open SDI briefing being held by Keyworth to declare that the SDI was actually a planetary defense system against extraterrestrials as opposed to a defense against Soviet ICBMs. Huneeus recounted the event:
"Nor was Colman VonKeviczky at all shy in confronting anyone about his views. Colman was a prominent member of the Hungarian-American community and was once part of a delegation that attended a briefing organized by the Reagan White House at the adjacent Old Executive House. When the president's science advisor George Keyworth was explaining the SDI research program, Colman pointed out with that roaring voice he had that 'star wars' was really aimed against the galactic forces and not the Soviets. The science advisor was not pleased.
Following the briefing VonKeviczky went to the Keyworth office where he presented a written brief titled "Heed Memorandum for Action to the 99th Congress." The briefing described the problems VonKeviczky saw with what he called the UFO Defense Initiative (USI) as opposed to SDI. He asked that Keyworth present the briefing to President Reagan. Instead of presenting the brief to the President, Keyworth records show that he passed it to a person by the name of M. Havey. No record of the report was found in the White House files. No reply was ever given to VonKeviczky.
In many of President Reagans speeches, Reagan promoted his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program. The new program was immediately coined the "Star Wars" defense system by many in the media. The SDI defense shield was, as described by the Reagan White House, a complex set of defensive lasers and missiles intended to shoot down Soviet IBCMs.
Although Reagan is given credit for anti-missile defense, and its possible use against UFOs, the concepts actually go back many years. In the July-August 1959 NICAP Bulletin a short article was written discussing Air Force plans for a weapon system being developed to shoot down hostile satellites and space vehicles. Because Maj. Gen. B.A. Schrievers testimony in front of the Senate Space Committee did not indicate specific targets, NICAP concluded "there would be nothing to prevent its use against UFOs."
The idea of a war against beings of another world also went back many years before Reagan became President. War hero General Douglas MacArthur spoke of "an ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy." Mayor Achille Lauro of Naples, Italy, quoted MacArthur as telling him, "the earth would have to make a common front against attack by people from other planets."
A few years after MacArthurs statement, Brig. Gen. John A. McDavid, USAF, Director of Communications-Electronic for the Joint Chiefs of Staff made a similar statement about a possible conflict with extraterrestrials during an Air Force approved speech at Milliken University, Decatur, Illinois. "Before long, people may be forced to realize and accept as a fact that this earth is only an infinitesimal grain of sand in an infinite universe," declared McDavid. "The human is one of many forms of life with which God is concerned and others are superior to us. And if this is true, our meeting with other types of existence in other places in the universe quite likely will increase the potential element of conflict rather than reduce it."
The announcement of the SDI system by Reagan in 1983 was immediately responded to in many sectors of the scientific community as an expensive pie in the sky notion. Scientists declared that it would do nothing but escalate military spending and distrust among the super powers. Outside the Livermore Lab, where many of the systems were being developed, groups demonstrated for an end to the research.
Very few believed that a system could be developed to counter thousands of Soviet missiles being launched at one time. Most of the opinion sided with a statement made by Soviet Chairman Khrushchev back in March 1962.
In the UFO community, the SDI system was viewed as a system set up to destroy not Soviet missiles as Reagan was claiming, but to protect earth from a perceived alien invasion. The "alien invasion" remarks that Reagan made after his 1983 announcement of the SDI program, was heralded as further proof that the alien/SDI hypothesis was correct.
The concept of aliens from elsewhere attacking the earth was also not an idea that began in the Reagan administration. Even back in early fifties in movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still, images were portrayed of military attacks on the earth by extraterrestrials.
A 1960 report prepared for NASA by the Brookings Institution, claimed that, the discovery of extraterrestrial life could cause the earth's civilization to collapse. The report stated, "societies sure of their own place have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed."
During the Nixon administration, there was open discussion inside the government about the potential threat from aliens coming to Earth. An article written by Michael Michaud, a career diplomat in the State Department, pointed out the Nixon administrations worry about extraterrestrials:
The "evil alien" philosophy was furthered in the Ford administration with a 1975 report produced by the Library of Congress for the House Committee on Science and Technology. It also warned about the possible threats of open contact with extraterrestrials. The report stated, "Since we have no knowledge of their nature, we may be aiding in our own doom"
The alien/SDI speculation has also augmented by a group of witnesses who declared that SDI type weapon systems, both land and space based, were being used to track and target extraterrestrial vehicles as the approach earth. These witnesses include:
Bruce Maccabee, a UFO researcher and a scientist involved in meetings dealing with Star Wars, however, stated that he had seen no evidence for this view. Following Reagans March 1983 speech announcing the Star Wars program Maccabee stated that:
In all the meetings that Maccabee attended there was no indication that the Star Wars system would be used for anything other than missiles. In an interview with investigative reporter and UFO researcher Linda Howe Maccabee stated:
If on the surface, there was no plan to use the Star Wars defense to "attack aliens," there was, under the surface, evidence among those who were the designers of the Star Wars system that such uses for the system could be part of the future uses for the system.
Most of the Star Wars weapons components were being designed by a young group of physicists at the Livermore Lab in Livermore California. One of the brilliant physicists working in the skunk works "Special Projects Office" group headed by Lowell Wood, was physicist Peter Hagelstein. Hagelstein went on to invent a critical element of the Star Wars Defense system - the nuclear X-ray laser.
Hagelstein came to the lab when he was only twenty years of age. He did his doctoral dissertation while at the lab which he submitted to MIT in January 1981. His paper was a complex 451 page paper filled with equations and footnotes. It was entitled the "Physics of Short Wavelength Laser Design." It was "a primer on the theoretics of building a laboratory x-ray laser.
In one section of the paper Hagelstein broke from the complex physics of the paper to deal with what he termed to be "future applications." As a part of this part of the paper, Hagelstein pointed to three works of science fiction - Ringworld by Larry Niven, Mote in Gods Eye by Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and Tom Swift and his Cosmotron Express by V. Appleton.
In one of the works Ringworld promoted there is a clear reference to the X-ray laser which Hagelstein was attempting to build, and would successfully complete as part of the Star Wars program. The reference refers to spaceship which is approaching a foreign world when suddenly it is attached by beam weapons. "We have been fired," cried the character in the book. "We are being fired upon, probably by x-ray lasers. This ship is now in a state of war. Were it not for our invulnerable hull, we would be dead."
Hagelstein had started his research into using the x-ray laser for medical purposes, but he ended up building a weapon. "By the time I got my thesis written," stated Hagelstein, "it was fairly clear to me that x-ray lasers wouldnt be able to make much of a dent in terms of biological problem . . . writers off science fiction are supposed to look into the future. Since I started looking to see what they had in mind for the x-ray lasers. It turns out that all science fiction references are to blowing things up."
Dr. Steve Greer, as part of his Project Starlight, came across a top level former aerospace executive who claimed that the design of "Star Wars" was to fight aliens rather than Russians. Dr. Greer mentioned him, as one of the 100+ witnesses who would be testifying as part of his proposed disclosure video.
There were other indicators that SDI and extraterrestrials might be connected. Keyworth, the key SDI person in the White House, had a very important tie-in to the world of UFOs.
Keyworth had been recommended as the Presidents Science Advisor by Dr. Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, and also the father of the SDI concept. Dr. Teller led a one man crusade within the White House pushing for SDI. Dr. Edward Teller was also a scientist, who by the late 1980's, was being named by many researchers as a key figure in the world of UFOs. His connections to UFO stories goes back a long way.
Dr. Tellers first encounter came in the early days of the UFO mystery during the Truman Administration. On February 16, 1948, Dr. Edward Teller, along with Dr. Lincoln La Paz, a University of New Mexico astronomer, was part of a secret 1948 "Conference on Aerial Phenomena" that was held at Los Alamos to discuss the UFO phenomena. The particular interest of the conference was the so-called 'green fireballs' which were then being widely reported in the area. This green fireball investigation was also known as "Project Twinkle." Dr. Teller had commented during the conference that he felt the phenomenon was an electro-optic phenomenon rather than a material phenomena due to the lack of noise.
In 1958 Teller expressed interest about possible life on Mars. In testimony before the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee on November 25, 1958 he stated that even though the moon and Mars were inhospitable places, Teller felt there would be a search for "any kinds of traces of life."
The most dramatic tie-in to the world of UFOs for Teller came in the mid to late 80's when a story began to surface that the United States government was test flying and back engineering flying saucers at an area in Nevada known as Area-51. The main person to advance the theory that Area-51 housed flying saucers was Robert Lazar, who claimed to be a physicist from Las Vegas.
Lazar claimed to have worked at a spot within area 51 known as S-4. There he claimed he had worked on captured flying saucers, and had seen one of the nine objects there during a test flight outside the underground hanger.
Many of the stories Lazar told could not be confirmed, and many items about Lazars background seemed to be shaky at best. One item, however, seemed to check out. This item was a June 28, 1982 meeting between Robert Lazar and Dr. Edward Teller, the same person who had recommended Keyworth as Reagans top science man.
On June 28th Dr. Teller had been in Los Alamos, where Robert Lazar worked. Teller was there to give a speech. In an interview with George Knapp from a Las Vegas television station Lazar explained what happened:
Then in 1988, when searching for a job, Bob Lazar stated that he sent a copy of his resume to Dr. Edward Teller. Dr. Teller, just as he had recommended Dr. Keyworth for Reagans science advisor, appeared to have recommended Lazar for a job inside Area-51. On November 29,88, Teller phoned and gave Lazar a name of someone at EG&G, a company believed to be involved in the flying saucer work. Lazar went to an interview, totally unaware of what the job would entail. Soon he was working at S-4.
When the Lazar story about working on flying saucers at Area-51 broke, Dr. Teller was confronted by a TV reporter asking if he had gotten the job for Lazar, and if he knew what was going on at Area-51. Dr. Teller responded to the reporter, "Look, I dont know Bob Lazar. All this sounds fine. I probably met him. I might have said to somebody I met him and I liked him, after I met him, and if I liked him. But I dont remember him . . . I mean you are trying to force questions on me that I simply wont answer."
On June 27, 1982, a year after Reagan entered the White House, Ronald Reagan made one of his most famous alien remarks when he hosted Steven Spielberg in the White House. Spielberg was at the White House to present a private screening of his soon to be released movie called "ET: The Extraterrestrial." The movie dealt with a young extraterrestrial who becomes stranded on earth and struggles to return, while U.S. government agents try to capture him.
Movies were a big part of Reagans life before he became President, and he spent a lot of time while President watching movies either in the White House theater, or on the weekends at Camp David. White House records list 377 movies that Ron and Nancy Reagan had been shown. These included most of the Star Trek movies, and most of Steven Spielberg movies. In fact, two days before Spielberg arrived in Washington for the special screening of "E.T." The Reagans watched Spielbergs fictional ghost movie "Poltergeist."
Along with the Reagans and Spielberg, 35 people were invited to the special screening. Included in the list of distinguished guests was Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor. The event started with a reception in the Blue Room where the Reagans met with the invited guests. From there the group moved to the Red Room where the Presidential party had dinner. At 8:22 p.m., in the White House Theater the movie E.T. began.
The movie was one that moved the Reagans. "Nancy Reagan was crying towards the end, Spielberg recalled, "and the President looked like a ten-year-old-kid."
Following the screening the President leaned over, clapped Spielberg on the shoulder, and quietly commented, "You know, there arent six people in this room who know how true this really is." Unfortunately, the sudden press of people approaching Spielberg and the President, prevented Spielberg from pursuing the strange comment made by Reagan.
Spielberg stated that he had written the E.T. story as fiction based upon facts drawn from various UFO stories that had been told over the years. He must have been very shocked to hear from the President that it was all very true.There were also rumors around that the government had some input into "E.T." such as in how the alien was to be portrayed. In Spielbergs 1977 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" the aliens had been presented as thin childlike beings with large heads. (similar to accounts given by abductees) In "E.T." the alien had changed. It was now portrayed like a creature unheard of in any UFO account, even though it was built by the same person who had built the Close Encounter aliens. No explanation was given as to why the alien image was being changed.
The model for the 1982 E.T. alien ended up being based on a snapping turtle embryo. It was given the eyes of Albert Einstein and the derriere of Donald Duck. Spielberg stated he intended to create "a creature only a mother could love."
Rumors, however, abounded that someone inside the government had told Spielberg that the alien model used in "Close Encounters" was too close to the truth, and the model had to be changed. The accusation was never proved and Spielberg has never commented on it.
Spielberg told the story of Reagan's "how true this is" comment to Hollywood television producer Jamie Shandera shortly after the incident occurred. This occurred while Shandera was helping a Japanese film crew who were making a documentary on Spielberg.
This author wrote to Spielberg in January 1988 to confirm the story, but the letter was cut off by Spielbergs publicity coordinator Kris Kelley who stated "unfortunately, Mr. Spielberg is currently away working on his next project and is unable to personally answer your question." Another researcher, Linda Howe who worked as a documentary film producer and author, also tried to interview Spielberg about his Reagan encounter without success.
Florida Today reporter Billy Cox also made an attempt to confirm the Spielberg story. He phoned Spielberg and ended up talking with Spielberg publicist Marvin Levy. Levy stated that "Mr. Spielberg does not wish to discuss any private conversation held with the President."
The White House files documented the thank-you letters sent from the White House to Spielberg. On July 12, 1982, President Reagan signed a letter addressed to Spielberg which stated,
Even more interesting in White House records found concerning the Spielberg screening of E.T. were records which showed a strange coincidence concerning the very next event on the Presidents schedule after the movie screening.
The showing of E.T. was the last event on June 27th. The very next event the next morning, June 28th, was a meeting between President Reagan and James A. Baker 111, Chief of Staff; Edwin Meese 111, Counselor; and Michael K. Deaver, Deputy Chief of Staff; met in the oval office. From there the four men went to the highly secure White House Situation Room where the President participated in a briefing of the U.S. Space Program. Participants included six members of the National Security Council or National Security Affairs and no one from NASA.
The absence of anyone from NASA for a briefing of the U.S. Space Program is unheard of. The absence of any NASA people is even more unusual, in light of the fact that a couple days later, President Reagan attended the landing of the U.S. Space Shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base.
The White House files also documented the thank-you letters sent from the White House to Spielberg. On July 12, 1982, President Reagan signed a letter addressed to Spielberg which stated,
Spielberg went on to show E.T. to the United Nations where he was introduced by Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who would have his own dramatic UFO experience a couple years later. (complete story) Spielberg was presented the UN Peace medal by de Cuellar.
On December 9, Spielberg traveled to England where he screened the movie for Queen Elizabeth and to Prince Phillip, who was like Reagan, a UFO enthusiast .
Reagan Goes to Roswell
A couple months later, probably still inspired by the E.T. movie, President Reagan showed up in Roswell, New Mexico to give a speech for the re-election of Harrison (Jack) Schmitt. Schmitt was a Republican Senator from New Mexico who as an Apollo 17 astronaut was the last man to walk on the moon.
Schmitt, like Reagan was interested in the UFO phenomena. Like Reagan, Schmitt had publicly played both the investigator and the agnostic. On a positive note Schmitt declared, "If the government has any information on UFO's, it should be released to the public -- barring anything that might affect national security. We ought to be involved in a search to find out if there's any good evidence that UFOs really are spacecraft that are being piloted by extraterrestrial beings." Playing the conservative politician Schmitt stated, "The existence of intelligent life elsewhere in our universe is highly probable, given the huge number of sun-like stars that exist out there. That such life would visit our star and planet, however, is unlikely, but not impossible given the large number of choices it would have for such a visit. Further, the so-called UFOs have not done a very good job of communicating for life (that's) intelligent enough to travel between stars."
Schmitts actions spoke very strongly towards his interest in solving the UFO mystery. In 1979 during the peek wave of cattle mutilations Schmitt gathered together 200 policemen, cattlemen, investigators, FBI agents, and media men from 11 western states in Albuquerque for the only official investigation into the cattle mutilation phenomena. No solution to the problem was reached by the gathering, but only a few days later the justice Department offered money for an investigation.
Even more spectacular was Senator Schmitts involvement a year later in the case of Paul Bennewitz, an Albuquerque businessman who had contacted Kirkland Air Force base, USAF intelligence, and President Reagan about his claim that he was monitoring a base of aliens operating in the center of the Jicarilla Reservation in Northern New Mexico. On November 10 Bennewitz was invited to the Kirkland Air Force base to present his findings to a small group of officers and scientists. A week later, agent Richard Doty Bennewitz that the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) had decided against further consideration of the matter.
At this point Senator Schmitt involved himself in the case asking Doty asking what AFOSI was planning to do about Bennewitz's allegations. When informed that no investigation was planned, Schmitt spoke with Brig. Gen. William Brooksher of base security.
In this light, it came as no surprise that the re-election rally for Schmitt should be at the location of the most popular UFO story of the century, and that Reagan brought up the subject of extraterrestrials in his speech. Reagan began his speech
More important than the alien comments made by President Reagan, was the place that he made them - the Roswell Industrial Air Center - formally known as the Walker Air Force Base. It was at this base in 1947 where the wreckage and bodies of the Roswell flying saucer were rumored to have been taken from the crash outside of town.
Furthermore, Reagan made his speech in front of Hanger 84, which was the rumored hanger that was used to store UFO wreckage and/or bodies in July 1947. Like his famous speech at the Berlin wall where Reagan asked Gorbachev to "tear down this wall," the speech at the Roswell Hanger where the UFO mystery began was typical Reagan symbolism.
The Alien Invasion
As the Reagan presidency unfolded, there was an increase in the number and in the bizarre tone of alien comments in speeches given by President Reagan. Most of these comments dealt with a hypothetical invasion of aliens that would unite the world into one race of people. Reagan referred this hypothetical invasion as "my fantasy."
The "alien invasion" remarks made by Reagan have since became famous. They have been quoted by many writers, and were even included in a briefing that was given to President Clinton in 1995.
In order to fully understand the alien invasion remarks in the Reagan speeches, it is important to understand how the Reagan speeches were written and presented. It is also important to review the drafts of the speeches that included the alien invasion remarks, to see exactly how the remarks ended up in the speeches. Were they put in by Reagan or by his speech writers? Were they approved by groups such as the NSC? Were the Reagan remarks official policy, or just ramblings by an aging out of touch President?
The speech writing office in the Reagan administration was an office that treated speech writing like an exact science. The speech writers and researchers were part of the Communications Office. The Director of Communications was a cabinet level officer directly responsible to the President, which indicated how important the office was in the Reagan administration.
Reagan was a President who realized the importance of image, and the power of the spoken word. He was the first campaigner to use Madison Avenue to develop commercials for a presidential campaign.
Within the Reagan speech writers office there were six speech writers, and four researchers. Each worked ten hours a day, seven days a week. They were all carefully screened to make sure that their world view agreed with the conservative world view held by President Reagan. Speech writer Peggy Noonan, for example, was considered a liberal because she had written for Dan Rather at CBS. During her interview for the Reagan speech writing job she had been asked to produce everything that she had ever written.
The speech writers wrote all the Reagan speeches and remarks, except in rare circumstances. Reagan would have active input into the drafts of the speeches prepared for him, but other than this input he basically read whatever was given to him by the Communications Office. The President wrote very few of his speeches. This is why the political leaning of the speech writers was so closely checked before they were hired. Their political beliefs had to agree with Reagans.
Unlike most other Presidents, Reagan very rarely met with his speech writers. Like with other departments, Reagan used hands-off management to run the speech writers office. There was a period after Noonan arrived that Reagan did not meet with the speech writers for over a year.
The process for producing a finished Reagan speech was as follows:
Julie cave, a researcher, gave an example of how the checking was done.
The outline of how the Reagan speeches were put together, shows that the Reagan administration took great efforts to make sure that the speeches followed a careful systematic plan of action. In light of these strict guidelines many UFO references were still found in Reagan speeches and comments. The question is why they were there.
The first series of alien comments made by President Reagan came during the November 1985 Geneva Summit between Ronald Reagan and U.S.S.R. General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. During a series of impromptu toasts on November 19, President Reagan began his toast by discussing an invasion of aliens approaching on Halleys Comet. A Memorandum of Conversation from the United States Department of State recorded Reagans comment.
In reviewing the remark made during the Geneva toast, it is important to keep in mind that President Reagan was a very religious man who believed that aliens were visiting the Earth. He not only believed that aliens might be invading the Earth, but that the Bible supported this world view. To the chagrin of his White House handlers, Reagan also spoke often of Armageddon. He believed that the signs showed it was near. Therefore, aliens, Armageddon, and a single Earth race facing the invasion, were all part of a divine plan in Ronald Reagans mind.
The speech writers files at the Reagan library show no mention of this toast. It is therefore safe to assume that this "alien invasion" remark in the toast was an ad-lib comment by the President. The same would hold true for the "alien invasion" remark made to Shevardnadze. They were not, as some have espoused, carefully drafted attempt by the White House or some MJ-12 type group to lead or mislead the public.
There was a third mention of the alien invasion hypothesis made at the Geneva Summit. It was made by Reagan to Gorbachev during the five hours of personal conversations that the two leaders conducted while in Geneva. The Memorandums of Conversation from the Summit do not mention the remark, but it is evident from the number of pages in the NSC file that not everything in the five hours of conversations was recorded. The mention of the "alien invasion" remark to Gorbachev was made public by Reagan himself in a speech that President Reagan made shortly after arriving back in the U.S. from the summit.
On December 4, 1985, Ronald Reagan made a speech at Fallston High School, Harford County, Maryland. The school was located in a strong Republican riding which voted four to one for the President. The school had the highest attendance rate (96.2%0, lowest retention rate (loses the fewest number of students per year), and the lowest drop out rate (less than 1%) in the country. The school had 1,470 students and 100 full-time staff.
During the speech President Reagan reflected on his meeting with Gorbachev in Geneva two weeks before. He spent much of the speech talking about the exchange of scholars, scientists, and government officials between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. that he and Gorbachev had discussed. These exchanges would allow the citizens of the two countries to get to know each other without the government getting in the way. This would allow the people of the world to know we are all part of one world. At the very end of the speech, Reagan stated that during five hours of private conversations with Gorbachev in Geneva, he had brought up the alien scenario:
A review of the speech writer files from the Fallston speech show that the "alien invasion" reference was not in the drafts of the speech nor in the speech copy. Reagan had simply added his recollection of his "alien invasion" comment to Gorbachev while he was speaking.
Following the speech there was a question and answer session in one of the schools classrooms. After the "alien invasion" remark such an event was probably a nightmare for the Reagans handlers. The problem with a question and answer is, it would allow for some student doing a UFO project for a science fair to start a chain of alien questions for his UFO science project which could really cause trouble.
High school audiences were the group that those around Reagan feared the most. In fact, just prior to the "alien invasion" speech at Fallston High School Mike Deaver had vetoed a Q and A with another high school "on the theory that Reagan would be too loose and speak too freely." Former White House aide Judi Buckelew summed up the White House fear of high school students:
The fears of the Reagan handlers about the Fallston question and answer session were well founded. President Reagan was asked a question was asked how the President felt about SDI and the nuclear arms race, and how they affect the billions of people in the world. Reagan took the opportunity to talk about President Lincolns ghost.
The March 4, 1985 alien comments to Fallston High School did not make big headlines but they did produce a reply from Gorbachev. Whether inspired through his conversations with President Reagan, or through information provided by his own intelligence people, Gorbachev appeared to have his own interest in UFOs. On February 16, 1987, in an important speech, at a conference at Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on the "Survival of Humanity," Gorbachev appeared to respond to President Reagan:
"At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United states and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, although I think its early yet to worry about such an intrusion. It is much more important to think about the problems that have entered in our common home."
In May 1990, after Reagan had left office, and shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union Gorbachev made a second more direct statement about UFOs."The phenomenon of UFOs does exist," he stated, "and it must be treated seriously."
Not to be outdone by Gorbachev raising the issue of the invading aliens in the Kremlin, rather than in a high school, Reagan brought up the invading aliens again. This time he did it in front of the United Nations General Assembly. Toward the end of his speech to the Forty-second general assembly of the United Nations on September 21, 1987 , Reagan said;
" In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world. And yet I ask - is not an alien force already among us? "
Later in the same month Reagan talked once more about the alien threat. This time he broached the subject for the second time with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze while Shevardnadzes was in Washington to sign the INF Treaty on September 15, 1987. According to the New republic magazine who reported the story:
Near the end of his lunch with Shevardnadze Reagan wondered aloud what would happen if the world was faced with an alien threat from outer space. Dont you think the United States and the Soviet Union would be together Reagan asked? Shevardnadze said yes, absolutely. "And we wouldnt need our defense ministers to meet."
Reagans fourth and final alien invasion reference was made on May 4, 1988. It was the day after Donald Regan, the former Reagan Chief of staff revealed " Virtually every move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make sure the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise." Reagan made his alien reference in a question and answer period following a speech to the National Strategy Forum in the Chicago Palmer House Hotel. It was dubbed the "space invader" speech by the media, and was written up in media stories as only a sidelight to the astrology revelations that had broken the day before.
Significantly, the statement was made in response to the question - " What do you consider to be the most important need in International Relations?" Reagan replied:
The number of times Reagan brought up the alien threat seemed to mean something more than just a passing thought of the possible existence of extraterrestrials. Dr. Scott Jones, an aid to Senator Claiborne Pell at the time, and a person who was doing work for the Foreign relations Committee in the Soviet Union, saw significance in Reagan statements.
Looking carefully at Reagan's assumptions," said Jones, "they tell us much about the man and about possible government policy on the subject. The most important assumption is that there is a threat to the world. Explicitly it is an alien threat, from some other species, not human. This was the president of the United States speaking publicly for the record, and the subject was confirmed by another head of state...Because it was repeated three times over a period of nearly two years, it has the earmarks of an official statement."
Very few papers anywhere covered the strange "alien invasion" exchange between Reagan and Gorbachev. A reason for this was put forward by Dr. Scott Jones. "The short answer is that the press has effectively been taken out of the loop by the success of a counterintelligence program targeted against the American public and the press. The government wants no restrictions on how it attempts to handle what we are calling UFO phenomena."
One of the few reporters to pick up on the alien invasion remarks was Billy Cox, a reporter for Florida today. He wrote the White House asking for an explanation, but did not receive a reply.
Receiving no reply, Billy Cox had asked this author why the evidence for UFOs always seemed to fall away under examination. The answer is provided by Dr. Scott Jones, who had studied the Reagan remarks while employed as an assistant to Senator Claiborne Pell. He stated:
I challenged Cox as a reporter to step up and ask the President directly, rather than the commonly posed reporter questions as "what type of dishes does Nancy Reagan buy for the White House." I told him that reporters like him had the opportunity. People like myself do not have a chance to get close to the President to ask. Moreover, Reagan would be the ideal person to ask. If any President were to hesitate, or better yet, actually answer the question honestly - it was Reagan. Billy Cox agreed that given the chance he would ask.
On August 5, a few months later Billy Cox learned that he might actually get to ask President Reagan the alien question face to face. Cox was to receive a journalism award at the American Legion convention in Louisville in early September. The presidential campaigners usually attended, because every campaigner wanted the veteran vote. This would mean that George Bush would be there as well. George Bush had already gone on the record saying he would release all the UFO information. "Its a long shot," wrote Cox, " but I may get to meet George Bush. Wonder what I should ask him..."
Unfortunately Cox did not get to approach either Reagan or Bush. By this time the Republicans had learned that the less open exposure the GOP candidate had - the better. Music was started the minute the Bush speech was over, and neither Bush nor Reagan was taking questions.
The White House presidential aides had learned to do this to protect Reagan, and Reagan from himself. It was common practice to start up the engines of the helicopter on the White House lawn just as Reagan exited. In this way Reagan couldnt hear the questions being yelled by reporters, and the government security people would be spared any more alien invasion remarks. Reagan aides tried to institute a new rule banning questions during daily "photo opportunities."
The White House Press office sometimes even cleaned up "his oral meanderings" before a text was released for public consumption." This practice had to be cut out when the writers were caught altering an interview Reagan had given with the Wall Street Journal.
In this interview, done in 1985, Reagan began to talk about thoughts he had earlier in the morning about Armageddon, and how many theologians believed the prophecies were coming together. This idea of the coming Armageddon being spoken of by a leader with his finger on the nuclear button was too much for the White House.
When the White House transcripts of the interview were released the references to Armageddon were gone. The Wall Street Journal exposed the omission, and the White House publicity people scrambled to explain that the writers had "accidentally" omitted the references to Armegeddon Reagan had made.
Ronald Reagan for those around him, was like a time bomb set to go off. The scariest part was there was no clock on this bomb. It could go off at any time. Donald Regan, Reagan Chief of Staff, summed up the White House fear of what Reagan might say. Reagan said, " the goddamnedest things would come out of him."
As the Reagans administration came to a close, most UFO researchers were aware of the "alien invasion" remarks that had been made by Reagan in many speeches. The "UFO Cover-up: Live" TV special was aired in October just before the election. It dealt with a lot of rumors that were rattling around in the UFO community.
One rumor that they failed to deal with was one about Ronald Reagan appearing on TV with a live alien. This event was supposed to occur after the election when Reagan, the great fan of the world of UFOs would not have to worry about effecting the election, or his own survival as President. The rumor stated that the alien would be a grey, but no one was sure if it would be a grey with grey eyes or one with yellow eyes with slits. The appearance with the live alien and Reagan never took place.
Bush took office and the world continued on. There still was no proof of the extraterrestrial presence. The UFO security handlers had survived President Reagan. The UFO phenomena, however, did not disappear. The sightings continued around the world, and new rumored stories of the cover-up led by an MJ-12 type group surfaced on a regular basis.
The Bush presidency held great hopes for the UFO community as Bush had been the former Director of Central Intelligence. Reagan seemed to have made talking about aliens acceptable. Many researchers felt Bush would bring disclosure.