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E.T. Politics in the Clinton White House - Part 3




“Remember the game that the editor of the “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” played with the clock’s hands on the cover of the magazine?  I wonder how many minutes before midnight we are on this issue.” Scott Jones writing to Science Advisor Jack Gibbons on December 13, 1994



On June 1, 1994, Clinton Science Advisor received a letter from Laurance Rockefeller asking if there had been any developments in the effort to get answers to the Roswell mystery.  In addition, for the first time in the OSTP documents, the name of Melvin Laird, former Secretary of Defense for President Nixon, and former boss to Hillary Clinton,[1] is mentioned. Rockefeller mentions in the letter, that it was Laird who had advised that he go to Gibbons as the proper “point of contact and coordination with the federal government.”


Included with the letter was a copy of a letter that Rockefeller had received from Laird a couple weeks before. Rockefeller attached it to show Gibbons Laird’s “support for our approach of constructively seeking release of information.”


The Laird letter  stated that the efforts towards “declassification of any government projects which might have been associated with Unidentified Flying Objects seems to be on the right track.” More importantly, Laird outlined his personal opinion about what the final answer would be.

“I am sure that should classification be lifted, some individuals will be disappointed as certain of these phenomena will be pretty well explained. Any review will certainly disappoint some individuals who have built up some rather extreme antidotal and uncollaborated accounts, which the removal of classification might discredit to a large extent. Removal of undue classification will remove the speculation of some of these reports.”[2]

Also in the June 1, 1994 letter Rockefeller announced that he had conducted preliminary discussions with a group who were planning a United Nations Conference on extraterrestrial intelligence. He hinted to Gibbons that the group could use someone of Gibbons stature and knowledge to make the United Nations effort a success.        


Only days after Melvin Laird had sent his letter to Rockefeller over the question of declassification, and it’s possible implications for the subject of UFOs, Clinton’s general Counsel Robert G. Damus sent out a memorandum to agency heads regarding Clinton’s proposed declassification Executive Order titled “Declassification of Selected Records within the National Archives of the United States.”[3]


The draft of the order prepared by the National Security Council proposed a major declassification of materials in the National Archives.  After reading the draft, Rockefeller must have felt that disclosure was only a short distance away.


Even though the OSTP was not on the distribution list a copy of the proposal was found in the office files.  The draft proposal asked for the immediate declassification of 48.8 million pages of information held by the United States Archives.  The spirit of the proposal was described as,


The interests of the United States and its citizens are best served by making information regarding the affairs of Government readily available to the public, and whereas, large number of classified records in the permanently valuable holding of the National Archives and Records Administration no longer require national security protection.            


It is not known yet how the declassification proposal document got to Gibbon’s office, but the office copy was attached to a letter from Anne Bartley, Trustee and President of the Rockefeller Family Fund.[4]  Anne was the niece of Laurance Rockefeller, daughter of Winthrop Rockefeller.  Her name appears a couple of times in the OSTP files so it appears that she played a role in the Rockefeller initiative.  Interestingly, Anne had a strange tie in with Bill Clinton’s administration.  Her father Winthrop Rockefeller, had like Bill Clinton, been Governor of Arkansas.


Anne Bartley’s letter was written on July 27th, almost two months after the declassification proposal was first circulated.  In the letter, Bartley asked Dr. Gibbons if he thought that “a relaxation of the classification system” would “be helpful in producing more information about extraterrestrial intelligence.”[5]


Bartley also pressured  Gibbons by reminding him of the promise he had made in the February 4, 1994 meeting he had with Laurance and herself,  “You suggested that you would initiate an informal inquiry into the availability of information within federal agencies about the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, event.  Is there anything to report?”


As the summer of 1994 came to an end, the Rockefeller team figured their efforts to reveal the secrets of UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence were about to produce fruit.  Gibbons had “initiated an informal inquiry” on Roswell, and President Clinton had produced the Executive Order to force mass declassification of documents.  The scene was one of an imminent disclosure of some sort.


In mid August Scott Jones wrote Gibbons telling him that there was a new highly respected member of the Rockefeller briefing team. In the letter Jones offered Gibbons the advice of Apollo astronaut Ed Mitchell in “areas that Laurance, you, and I have been discussing.”  “Mitchell,” Jones wrote, “passed me the word . . . he would be glad to meet with you.”


Further, Jones, who was sharing information with CIA agent Ronald Pandolfi, reported to Gibbons about the efforts of CIA Director James Woolsey’s  to uncover the UFO secret.  “He has a document search under way,” wrote Jones, “but has not discovered anything of significance.” [6]


Jones suggested that perhaps Gibbons and Woolsey would benefit by sharing UFO information.  “You may want to talk to Woolsey about what you are doing,” wrote Jones, “ . . . Woolsey believes that the public could handle any disclosure the government might make on this subject.”[7]


This disclosure about the active UFO role of the CIA’s James Woolsey in the August 11, 1994- Jones letter is important.  It provides a independent dated letter supporting Dr. Greer’s contentions that 1) Woolsey was supportive of UFO disclosure, and 2) Woolsey was actively attempting to uncover the truth and 3) Despite being the top intelligence official in the country Woolsey was cut off - unable to discover anything about what was really going on.


In addition, this letter (combined with the appearance of Woolsey’s wife at the April 1997 briefing that Greer provided for interested Congressmen, and other powerful Washington movers and shakers) goes a long way to demolish the September 16, 1999 Woolsey denial of his personal UFO interest and support.[8]  Woolsey’s denial was issued in a public letter following Greer’s telling of the Woolsey UFO briefing in the introduction to his 1999 book “Extraterrestrial Contact.”


Just when the efforts towards UFO disclosure seemed to be going so well, Jack Gibbons ended the party.  In a handwritten note, on White House stationary, dated August 17, 1994 he wrote Laurance Rockefeller.

“I apologize for my silence, but I was awaiting news from the Air Force.  Yesterday I received the material they’ve been working on for some months, Report of the Air Force Research regarding the “Roswell Incident.”  It appears to be a thorough study, and will also be used as input to the GAO analysis, which is a much broader study.  Will get back to you after we’ve had a chance to go over the document. Incidentally, I told Claiborne Pell about this situation yesterday.”[9]

Two days later Gibbons and UFO supporter Senator Pell met for lunch.  Undoubtedly, the meeting had been set up to discuss the conclusions of the final Air Force report were discussed.  The OSTP files contain a letter from Gibbons thanking Pell for the lunch. Enclosed with the hand-written thank-you letter Gibbons enclosed “the final summary text of the Air Force report on the ‘Roswell Incident.’”[10]


On September 5, 1994 Laurance Rockefeller wrote back acknowledging the Gibbons note about the final Air Force report. He did not acknowledge having seen a copy of the report. Rockefeller simple wrote, “We are grateful for your leadership on this issue and when you feel it is appropriate, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about it.”[11]


Three days later Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall sent a copy of the Air Force Press release to Gibbons, outlining the conclusions of the study “to locate records that would explain an alleged 1947 UFO incident.”


The Air Force Press conference to announce the release of the Air Force Report, was  held without even telling New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff. The Air Force press release was made before Schiff had even read the final Air Force report, giving him no chance to publicly dispute the final conclusions. The lack of warning may not have been an accident.


Schiff was a key UFO supporter who had helped initiate a General Accounting Office (GOA) investigation of the Roswell case. He did this with a March 11, 1993-letter to Secretary of Defense Les Aspin demanding an investigation of the events surrounding the rumored Roswell crash.. He wrote to the Department of Defense instructing him to “direct such a review be undertaken on a priority basis and that representative or representatives of the Department of Defense and the responsible Military Departments promptly arrange to brief and provide me with a written report providing a current, complete, and detailed description and explanation of both the nature of what was recovered, and all official actions taken on the matter. (Roswell)”[12]


The conclusion arrived at in the Air Force Roswell report was not what the Rockefeller team had hoped for.  A copy of the Air Force news release in the OSTP files described the Air Force’s final conclusions.


The Air Force research did not locate or develop any information that the “Roswell Incident” was a UFO event nor was there any indication of a “cover-up” by the Air Force. Information obtained through exhaustive record searches and interviews indicated that the material recovered near Roswell was consistent with a balloon device of the type used in a then-classified project.  No records indicated or even hinted at the recovery of “alien” bodies or extraterrestrial materials.[13]


Rockefeller did not express his disappointment with the Air Force Report until three months after the report was issued. When he finally decided to comment he did it in his careful diplomatic style.  The December 9th letter from Rockefeller to Gibbons, and his key Roswell aide Skip Johns, read in part:

“Thank you again for being so generous with your time in discussing our areas of mutual interest and concern . . . I was delighted to see that we share this openness to a new paradigm.”


“We will continue to explore our interest in extraterrestrial intelligence . . . We continue to believe that the President’s initiative toward a full declassification of unnecessarily classified materials would be a very useful step in this direction and urge you to do all that you can to push this process along.”

“I hope we made it clear that we were very grateful for your initiative in stimulating the recent Air Force Review of the Roswell incident.  Although many who are students of UFOs felt that the report was not complete, your leadership in bringing this about was an important step.”

“We are continuing our citizens’ reconnaissance of the extraterrestrial intelligence phenomena.  We fully understand that with all the pressing current matters on your desk you do not find it feasible to devote substantial time to this area.  However, we would like to take the opportunity of keeping you informed and from time to time seek your counsel.”[14]


Rockefeller’s chief assistant in the White House UFO initiative, Scott Jones, was much more blunt with his opinions regarding the Air Force’s Roswell Report. He wrote to Gibbons Jones lashing out at the Air Force and at the White House.


“. . .there are important issues that the AF Report skirts with deliberateness. That suggests for some reason the cover up continues . . . Jack, I hope you got a fuller briefing from the Air Force than the public, self-serving statement released by them. And if you did, I hope that you have taken an aggressive and positive position within the White House staff to share with the American public every thing the U.S. government knows about UFO phenomena. . .The president could try to defuse any potential political vulnerability on the subject by going to the Congressional leadership with a complete briefing on what has been going on and what he inherited when he came into office. . .the perception is growing that the Clinton administration, as were previous administrations, is an unknown part of the problem. How hard can it be to change the policy of secrecy and denial? Will it be any harder than surviving condemnation from the American public if the U.S. is forced by another country’s announcement, or other action that preempts Clinton’s opportunity for honest initiative?"[15]


Unlike Rockefeller, Jones was much quicker at voicing his disagreement with the Air Force conclusions.  He wrote a nine-page review of the Air force report and attached it to his letter to Gibbons.  It was prepared and mailed to Gibbons’ office only six days after the Air Force Roswell press conference.  The report was titled  “Assessment and Recommendations for Action on the Report of Air Force Research Regarding the ‘Roswell Incident.


Jones, undoubtedly speaking with Rockefeller’s blessing, wrote of the Air force report:


“One message from the Air Force Report is that they still have confidence that this issue can be ‘managed.’  There are other messages of equal importance, which suggest that the game is changing.  The Air Force must deeply regret that it was forced to say anything public about Roswell.  They know the tenacity of the small group of UFO researchers who will follow any lead to the grave, and in this report they have been forced to expose additional leads.”


“The most important event is that after December 1969, when the Air Force closed Project Blue Book and announced that they were out of the game, they are now back in the field.  It may turn out that they actually are not a major player, but have been forced to suit up again.”


Several important precedents have been established by the Air Force effort:


1) The subject of UFO phenomena and government knowledge about it is now viably in the public domain. 2)  Interviewees were provided with authorizations from either the Secretary of the Air Force or the Senior Security Official of the Air Force that would officially allow discussion of classified information, if applicable, or free them from any prior restrictions in discussing the matter, if such existed.”[16]


Jones, besides commenting on the September Air Force Roswell report, spent a great portion of his assessment paper expressing his views on the entire UFO problem.  These conclusions and assessments, outlined by Jones, are important because they indicate where the entire Rockefeller team stood on the key UFO issues, and hence which ideas they were passing on to the Clinton administration.     


      Secondly, Jones’ conclusions on the Roswell report helped to clarify where he stood on the UFO issue based on his view from “the inside” about what was going on inside the Clinton White House.                                   


      In public, Jones had said very little. Part of this was due to an agreement he and Rockefeller had made with Gibbons when the UFO Disclosure Initiative began. In a lecture in gave to the International UFO Congress in 1998 Jones explained,

“I have no details to share about these (Gibbons/White House) discussions. We told Gibbons that what was said at these meetings would not be revealed by us. Indeed, it was the White House that made a statement that the meetings were taking place, and the reason they did that of course was they were concerned that if there was a leak about the fact that we were meetings and talking on this subject in the White House, it would be hard to do damage control, so they leaked it and put a spin on it in their favor.”[17]

Jones was a key player, who described his prime responsibility in the White House Initiative as “ to develop a strategy that would get us into the White House to make our case for more openness on the subject.” He served  not only as a partner to Rockefeller, but earlier as a key aide to Senator Claiborne Pell, Chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, who was also had an active interest in UFOs.  These contacts had provided Jones insights into what might be going on. In his review of the Air Force Roswell report he outlined what he believed might be going on.

 “Congress - “There is no evidence that the leadership of the Congress is paying any attention to the current effort, but the involvement of the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the Congress, charged with examining all matters related to the receipt and disbursement of public funds, is significant.”

“President - The President remains the critical player in this drama.  Maybe each President is not automatically briefed on the subject.  But somewhere around the President, someone knows where to task for the briefing.  My guess is that it is someone within the National Security Council. Someone in the directorate who survives administration after administration.   Dangerously (for democracy and accountability) it could be someone in the private sector. . . If the President asks for it (briefing) with force, it cannot be withheld. If he merely shows casual interest, he might be kept in the dark.”


The disappointment and disagreement with the Air Force conclusions by other UFO researchers was found and described in the OSTP files.  They were much less diplomatic about their views on the Roswell Report than was Laurance Rockefeller.  Although Gibbons’ files contained the counter arguments made by other researchers, there were no indications in the documents anyone in OSTP office answered the charges, or took any investigative actions.


The first letter to arrive from in Gibbon’s office came from aviation and science writer Don Berliner.  Writing on behalf of The Fund For UFO Research, Berliner enclosed a paper he had written titled “Air Force Explanation of 1947 ‘Roswell’ UFO Crash a Lot of Hot Air.”  Berliner wrote:  

“The U.S. Air Force recently “explained” the highly controversial story of material recovered from an alleged UFO that crashed in central New Mexico in 1947 as a once secret Project Mogul balloon.  A careful analysis of the 23-page official report, by the Fund for UFO research, has revealed enough holes in the Air Force theory to bring down the sturdiest of balloons.”[18]


Another comment attacking the Air Force Roswell Report found in the OSTP papers was a 28-page paper identified as “Document 24” in the collection.  This letter with attachments  was written by UFO researcher, writer, and lecturer Stanton Friedman. Friedman was an Roswell expert who had written and lectured extensively on the subject.


Friedman’s paper written on the Air Force Report was titled “The Roswell Incident: The USAF and the New York Times.”  There was no indication in the files of when the OSTP received the document, or even how the Friedman paper got into Gibbon’s office. The report appeared to go unanswered by Gibbons staff.


Stanton characterized the Roswell report as a “preemptive strike against the GAO” and a continuation of  “a long, easily documented, history of USAF misrepresentation about UFOs.”[19]  In a careful analysis of the Air Force Report Friedman carefully pointed out the flaws in the report’s argument for the 1947 Roswell crash being caused by a Mogul balloon.


As 1994 came to a close the records of the OSTP showed that discussion of Roswell by the Rockefeller group had stopped. Yet, actions and statements by President Clinton in 1995 and beyond seemed to indicate that the President was still interested in the topic of Roswell. An example illustrating this interest was revealed in September 1998, when during the Lewinsky investigation, the Clinton White House turned over to prosecutors a list of books held in Clinton’s private library. The list of books did not include the Air Force Report on Roswell which basically concluded to paraphrase Scott Jones, “nothing happened, you can go back to sleep.”  The President’s book list did include “UFO Crash at Roswell” by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt, which concluded there was a crash at Roswell, and it had nothing to do with balloons, as claimed in the Air Force report.[20]


More importantly, statements made by President Clinton indicated he was no more a believer in the Air Force Roswell explanation than those in the Rockefeller group, or the other UFO researchers who had sent in dissenting papers to the Gibbons office.


Clinton’s lack of faith in the September 1994 Air Force Report was most  evident during a late November 1995 trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland to promote a peace plan in the war torn country.  During the lighting of the city Christmas tree, Clinton read a letter from a thirteen-year-old Belfast boy named Ryan dealing with Roswell.

He then proceeded to answer the letter with a response that to the untrained eye seemed nothing more than an attempt to entertain the crowd with a humorous reply. In effect, the reply was loaded with meaning.

“And to all of you who have not lost your sense of humor, I say thank you.  I got a letter from 13-year-old Ryan from Belfast.  Now, Ryan, if you're out in the crowd tonight, here's the answer to your question.  No, as far as I know, an alien spacecraft did not crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. (Laughter.)  And, Ryan, if the United States Air Force did recover alien bodies, they didn't tell me about it, either, and I want to know.” (Applause.) [21]

Speeches prepared for sitting Presidents are very carefully prepared events. Whatever words turn up in a Presidential speech do not appear there by accident.  In the Reagan administration, for example, speeches went through up to 30 drafts, and had to be signed-off by up to 25 agencies, departments, and individuals. Every single word was checked and approved for release.


What President Clinton appeared to be saying in his Belfast speech was that he knew he wasn’t being told the whole story on Roswell, and he like everyone else, would like to be told what really happened.                                                                     


In late 1994 the Rockefeller/Gibbons discussion turned from Roswell to other UFO angles such as abductions. In a December 13, 1994-letter, found in the OSTP files, Scott Jones wrote Gibbons sending him information about the latest book release from one of the most prominent UFO/abduction writer Whitley Strieber. The new book was titled  Breakthrough.


The discussion of Strieber and abductions had actually begun during the initial April 1993 briefing given to Gibbons, where Jones had provided Strieber’s first best selling book “Communion.”  Now in December 1994 Jones was sending Strieber’s latest information on the subject. In the letter Jones stated that he was sending the Strieber manuscript in part because he believed Gibbons would find:

“That some of its speculations are mirrored in official studies and assessments that you have discovered in the government.  While I hope this is true, I would not really be surprised if you tell me some day when it is appropriate for us to have a full discussion on the subject, that government really failed to address the metaphysical nut of the problem.”


“Consciousness is the core issue.  If the government hasn’t realized this, it has kept itself out of the loop of possible understanding of the phenomena and what responses to make.”[22]


This was not the first time Jones had talked to Jack Gibbons about the importance of the mind related to the UFO mystery.  As mentioned previously, Jones had warned Gibbons about possible mind control research being part of the UFO matrix during the February 4th face-to-face meeting between the two men.  In that discussion Jones warned that the UFO phenomena was being used to cover mind control research.


Part of the information Jones had based this assessment on came from Dick Farley and Jacques Vallee who had claimed there was much more to UFOs than Roswell. Farley described these UFO items as “high strangeness” cases and “psychiatric abuse issues” (mind control experimentation by U.S. black operations). “My colleagues and I refused to limit our work to just Roswell etc. as we had been commanded by Scott to do,” wrote Farley. “The evidence for the other stuff was too strong... The issue between Scott and I was whether to let the ‘perps’ of the BAD elements of UFOlogical disinformation of the hook.”[23]


In fact, after Farley broke with the Rockefeller Disclosure team he went as far as to say that Rockefeller and Scott Jones “stuck with the Roswell scenario despite knowing first hand that it was a gigantic hoax.”[24]


An interesting sidelight to this apparent insight by Jones about the “core’ issue is the fact that the idea of the importance of the metaphysical went back almost 50 years to the very first days of UFO research done by Canadian researcher Wilbert Smith who headed up the Canadian government’s investigation of UFOs.


In the often quoted Top Secret “Memo to the Controller of Telecommunications”[25] most researchers refer to Smith’s four key points identifying what he learned about the flying saucers while making inquiries in the United States:


1) the matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States

2) flying saucers exist

3) a group headed by Vannevar Bush is working on the problem, and 4) the matter is considered of “tremendous significance.


Most researchers, however, ignore the very next line, which indicates the United States government may have realized right from the very beginning that the metaphysical was the “core” issue.  In the very next line of the memo following the four points Smith wrote about the importance of the mind to the UFO mystery.

“I was further informed that the United States authorities are investigating along a number of lines which might possibly be related to the saucers such as mental phenomena, and I gather that they are not doing too well since they indicated that if Canada is doing anything at all in geo-magnetics, they would welcome a discussion with suitably accredited Canadians.[26]


[1] In the summer of 1968, while on a Wellesley Internship Program, Hillary worked as an intern researching and writing for Melvin Laird, then a Wisconsin congressman.

[2]. Letter - Melvin R. Laird to Laurance Rockefeller, dated May 9, 1994.

(3]. Memorandum -Robert G. Damus, “Proposed Executive Order Entitled ‘Declassification of Selected Records within the National Archives of the United States” May 23, 1994.

[4]. Nelson, Laurance, David, John D. III established the Rockefeller Family Fund in 1967, and Martha Baird Rockefeller The Fund characterized itself as “practicing a strategic brand of grant making that helped produce a number of nationally significant public interest gains.”


[5]. Memorandum -Anne Bartley to Jack Gibbons “Laurance Rockefeller Interest in Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

[6]. Jones explanation for the lack of documents being discovered in the search was his belief that the CIA was not the place the cover-up was taking place. “If I had the responsibility to run a super safe black program on this subject,” wrote Jones, “I would take it completely out of the government’s hands . . . and run it from the private sector, probably somewhere in the aerospace community.” This, Jones figured, would allow officials to be able to answer Congress that “no such program exists in their department.”

[7].  Letter - Scott Jones to John H. Gibbons, Ph.D. August 11, 1994.

[8]. Letter - John L. Petersen, Diane C. Petersen, R. James Woolsey, and Suzanne H. Woolsey to Steven M. Greer, dated September 16, 1999.  In the letter signed by both James Woolsey and his wife Sue, they contended that the December 1993 “briefing” described by Greer was nothing more than a “dinner party.” Greer’s contention that they were very interested was described by the Woolsey as no more than “ listening to your views and politely asking questions.”

[9].  Letter - Jack Gibbons to Laurance Rockefeller, dated 8/17/94.

[10]. Letter, Jack Gibbons to Claiborne Pell.

[11]. Letter - Laurance Rockefeller to Jack Gibbons, dated September 5, 1994.

[12]. Letter - Steven Schiff to Les Aspin, dated March 11, 1993.

[13]. Memorandum for Correspondents No. 235-M, U.S.A.F., September 8, 1994.

[14]. Letter, Laurance Rockefeller to John H. Gibbons, dated December 9, 1994.

[15] Letter, Scott Jones to Jack Gibbons December 2, 1994.

[16].  Jones, Scott, “Assessment and recommendations for Action on the Report of Air Force Research regarding the ‘Roswell Incident.’” Human Potential Foundation, September, 1994

[17] Jones, C.B. Scott “How the Alien Presence Affects Society” International UFO Congress lecture 1998

[18].  Letter Don Berliner to John Gibbons, dated September 23, 1994

[19].  Freidman, Stanton, “The Roswell Incident: The USAF, and the New York Times.” dated September 26, 1994 

[20]. Randle, Kevin and Schmitt. Don, “UFO Crash at Roswell”, 1991 New York Avon Publishers


[21]. Clinton, Bill “Remarks by the President and the First Lady at the Lighting of the City Christmas Tree,”  Office of Press Secretary, November 30, 1995

[22]. Letter - Scott Jones to John gibbons, dated December 13, 1994

[23]Farley, Dick, “re: Popular Mechanics on UFOs” from SarfattiScienceSeminar discussion group, April 13, 2001

[24]Farley, Dick, “re:(UFO beliefs, Vallee&Hynek, Tart, etc.)re” from SarfattiScienceSeminar discussion group, December 10, 2000

[25]. Smith, Wilbert, “Memorandum to the Controller of Telecommunications” November 21, 1950

[26]. ibid