Summary: To those involved in the UFO field Bruce Maccabee is well known as a meticulous researcher who has applied his skills as an optical physicist to many photographs of unexplained phenomena. He is also known for his strong background in the history of the field. The UFO FBI Connection will add another important piece for those attempting to make sense of the often discombobulated evidence of this complex puzzle.
UFO FBI Connection: The Secret History of the Government's Cover-Up, Bruce Maccabee, Ph.D., Llewellyn Publications, 2000
To those involved in the UFO field Bruce Maccabee is well known as a meticulous researcher who has applied his skills as an optical physicist to many photographs of unexplained phenomena. He is also known for his strong background in the history of the field. The UFO FBI Connection will add another important piece for those attempting to make sense of the often discombobulated evidence of this complex puzzle.
Readers should be aware that the book places considerably more emphasis on history than it does on the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in studying UFOs. To be sure, Maccabee does intersperse the chapters with comments about FBI participation, however, other agencies play more primary roles, especially the U.S. Air Force. Given the propensity of publishers to sensationalize, it is understandable why this manuscript has shamelessly exploited the popularity of Fox Television's phenomenal hit program The X-Files. The book opens and closes with liberal references to the program and its primary characters, Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder.
One lesson that might be taken away by those not intimately familiar with interactions between various government agencies is just how pervasive and pernicious interagency rivalry can be. Such bickering and jockeying for position unfortunately is not limited to subjects considered to be relatively arcane. They are mainstream, day-to-day reality for which we all pay a price.
When reading this text a degree of caution is advised. Maccabee has made many suppositions when addressing topics in which the state of mind or level of knowledge of people now long dead was integral to their actions. In every case he seems to suggest that those actions were intentionally designed to cover-up information about government knowledge about the reality of UFOs. When actions of senior people do not seem to meet such nefarious practices, then reasons for why they were out of the loop are proposed.
For example, on page 21 he addresses comments by Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining, who has long been associated with information about the U.S. Air Force's UFO efforts. Maccabee states “Could it be that Twining had not been informed about the Roswell material? Yes, it is possible.” He goes on to point out that as a lieutenant general (three star), Twining was only an “`employee' of the Top Brass” whom he defines as four star generals. He notes that it “could be” that Twining did not have a “need to know” and was thus left out. Such comments are endemic throughout the book and will undoubtedly delight those in search of support for conspiracy theories. Maccabee may be right with his speculation but readers should discern facts from supposition.
Maccabee does make a strong case supporting indications that as early as the late 1940s many senior people were well aware that UFOs were real. The observations made by many credible witnesses simply did not support the simplistic explanations put forth at the time. He does indicate that many high-level officials were concerned that what was being seen was evidence that the Soviets had somehow managed to make technological leapfrogs and were likely to have gotten well ahead of the U.S. Youngsters will need a refresher course on how paranoid we were during the early days of the Cold War. This was before the days of ubiquitous intelligence-gathering satellites and our access to information about activities behind the Iron Curtain was extremely limited. This inability to determine whether or not a terrestrial agency had created these craft lent strong motivation for the secrecy that ensued.
The FBI was involved in collecting some cases about UFOs. In fact, Director J. Edgar Hoover had personal interest and even played a role in exposing the topic to the public. Maccabee describes how the famed radio news commentator Walter Winchell, on 3 April 1949 announced to the American listening audience that the “flying discs” definitely came from Russia. Running counter to the position of the U.S. Air Force, pressure was placed on the FBI to interview Winchell about his source. Hoover refused to allow his agency to intervene. It was later learned that Hoover himself had been that source.
Maccabee provides many details about cases from the late 1940s and early 1950s. Some will be known to readers, others will not. He describes several instances in which the number of actual cases reported substantially exceeded the number publicly thought to exist. Even within some government agencies it appears that some sandbagging had been going on and not all reports were being transmitted. There is extensive reporting on projects Sign and Grudge. The scientific examination of green fireballs, headed by Dr. Lincoln La Paz and countered by others, is detailed.
Many other cases of historical value, as well as how key people and agencies responded to nearly irrefutable evidence, is highlighted. For those who already know these cases, Maccabee provides new data points that fill in some of the gaps in existing knowledge. Such researchers will find this text to be an invaluable source of information. Others who are not as familiar may find themselves wondering how the inordinate amount of evidence could have gone ignored for so long. Of course, if you believe Maccabee's hypothesis, it hasn't. The problem is that only a select few really know and according to him, they aren't talking—yet
Reviewed by: John B. Alexander, Ph.D.