by Philip Coppens
from PhilipCoppens Website

The drive to uncover “the truth” about the UFO phenomenon is often believed to be an “us versus them” situation: the people versus the evil government. But in the 1990s, it became clear that this was not the case. Instead, it became apparent that it were “CIA assets” that were briefing that the CIA had secrets. A rather incestuous relationship…

One leading and influential advocate of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis and the Contact Scenario was Dr. Bruce Maccabee, a former US Navy physicist. Maccabee became prominent in the UFO field in the mid 1970s, and was a founding member of the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR), whose primary purpose was to give grants to UFO researchers to further “the cause”: the study and disclosure of “the truth” about UFOs – and their “obvious” alien, extra-terrestrial nature.

FUFOR has since played a major role in the dissemination of key aspects of the Contact Scenario. For example, it gave Stanton Friedman a grant of $16,000 to authenticate the MJ-12 documents. When these false documents were released in 1987, Maccabee was their greatest supporter.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore (left)

Both by his position and his reputation, Maccabee was an influential figure in UFO research, and his support for several sensational - but controversial - cases has led to their general acceptance by other researchers who, in turn, have promoted them to the public. As such, the UFO myth became firmly embedded within society.

Furthermore, his rise to prominence was due to his claim that he had evidence that the CIA were withholding thousands of files relating to UFOs – a claim that has greatly encouraged the belief in a cover-up and, by extension, that there is something to be covered up.

But while supporting many of the more sensational UFO cases, Maccabee has also used his influence to down-play evidence that supports a more conventional explanation of the UFO phenomenon. For example, when the declassified CIA documents relating to the use of UFOs as a cover for spy plane sightings were released in 1997, he argued vociferously – and successfully – that these were of no significance.

Most importantly, Maccabee worked closely with William Moore, for example on investigating an alleged UFO landing near Kirtland AFB in 1980 – using information supplied by Sergeant Richard Doty – the government’s UFO disinformation agent par excellence. Moore later admitted he had spread disinformation on behalf of the government, promoting the UFO myth.

Maccabee might just be gullible – not uncommon amongst UFO researchers – but in 1993, fellow UFO researchers discovered that Maccabee maintained close links with the CIA. When challenged, he admitted that, since 1979 (i.e. for 14 years), he had indeed regularly briefed the CIA at their Langley, Virginia headquarters on developments in the UFO field, but denied that his involvement went any deeper than that. Many in the UFO community once again accepted his word for it – the alternative was probably too hard to ponder. But if it was all innocent, why had Maccabee failed to explain why he kept these briefings secret for 14 years?

It is ironic that a leading member of an organization that is pledged to challenge official secrecy about UFOs – and one of the main proponents of the idea that the CIA are withholding thousands of documents on the subject – should have such a long-standing, secret relationship with that very agency. In the end, Maccabee’s reassurances failed to convince some, including his close friend and fellow FUFOR board member, Richard Hall.

The drive that the government – and specifically the CIA – is involved in an “alien cover-up” was paramount throughout the 1990s, popularized by the existence of “The X Files”, which in the eyes of the UFO community seemed to “validate” them. John Podesta, working in Clinton’s government, was apparently such a fan of the series that after an episode of the series, he came to work wondering what aspects of the show were based on fact and which government agent that reported into the White House was lying to the President.

Bruce Maccabbee (left) and Stanton Friedman

The role of the CIA within the UFO enigma is bizarre at best. It has often dangled carrots in front of people, and the agency is not alone. In 1989, former NASA scientist Robert Oeschler claimed that he had been invited by top USAF officials to participate in an exercise to finally reveal the existence of extraterrestrials to the public. He was shown photographs, including one of a “typical grey alien”, and was taken to a “top-secret tracking station” off the Florida Coast where he was allowed to see what was described as UFOs being monitored during their flights over US and surrounding airspace. Oeschler publicized this information, although the promised official revelations did not materialize.

Raising hopes of imminent revelations, yet nothing materializing is probably the best gimmick in these exercises, whereby each non-revelation is seen as further proof that there is a cover-up in place and that the forces of evil have once again stopped full disclosure.

And what to make of Oeschler’s taped conversations with Admiral Robert Inman, former head of the NSA and deputy director of the CIA, in which Inman admitted that the US government had recovered crashed UFOs? Inman warned Oeschler that the conversations were secret because of national security considerations, and that the tapes could not be used without official approval. Yet Oeschler was allowed to broadcast them – supposedly revealing the greatest military secret in existence – on television with complete impunity.

It seems that Oeschler was honestly reporting what he had seen and been told – yet all his information came from military and intelligence sources. Is it likely that the likes of Inman would have been truthful in such allegations? And if so, why were they allowed to get away with it? It may also be significant that Oeschler’s greatest supporter and advocate was Bruce Maccabee.

Dr Maccabee’s most controversial endorsement was of the Gulf Breeze sightings and their primary witness, Ed Walters. In the late 1980s, Walters claimed to have taken photographs of UFOs over the Florida coast. Maccabee proclaimed the photographs genuine, an opinion that was hotly disputed by professional photo analysts. Even when an accomplice of Walters confessed to having faked them, Maccabee refused to admit that the photographs were fabricated.

Maccabee and the supporters of the Gulf Breeze sightings argued that shortly after Walter’s initial claims, other people began to report seeing anomalous lights in the sky over the Gulf Breeze area – suggesting the Gulf Breeze sightings were genuine, irrelevant of faked photographs. But curiously, the phenomena only manifested at certain, regular times, specifically when civilians had gathered to see them. Significantly, Gulf Breeze is surrounded by military installations, one of which is specifically charged with psychological warfare experiments.

In 1994, a group of very senior power brokers in the USA tried to promote the Contact Scenario to leading politicians – including the President Clinton himself. Though some presidents before him, like Jimmy Carter, had been interested in UFOs after apparently seeing one from an airplane, Clinton was apparently a fan of science-fiction and genuinely interested in UFOs.

Laurance Rockefeller (left), going for a walk with Dick Cheney

The group of influential and rich people that tried to put UFOs on the political agenda was presided over by their most senior figure: Laurence Rockefeller, whose wealth and influence gave him access to the top level of American – and international – society. As the grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the dynasty, and brother of John D. III, Nelson, Winthrop, and David Rockefeller, he was at the centre of American politics. It was therefore no problem for Rockefeller to brief President Clinton on UFOs while the president was staying at Rockefeller’s Wyoming Ranch in August 1995.

The Rockefeller group’s aim was to convince world leaders of the reality of the Contact Scenario, and to persuade them to make a public announcement to this effect. As the evidence suggests, it came very close to such an announcement.

As part of the UFO temptation of the President, an informal discussion was held in September 1993 at Rockefeller’s ranch in Wyoming. Those attending included:

  • Richard Farley

  • Bob Teets

  • Henry Diamond

  • Dr. Scott Jones

  • Dr. John Mack

  • Dr. Bruce Maccabee

  • Dr. Leo Sprinkle

  • Linda Moulton Howe

  • Dr. Steven Greer

  • Marie Galbraith

  • Keith Thompson

Each of these participants were leading UFO researchers or promising new lights.

Dr. Jill Tartar, then director of SETI, was also invited to the meeting, but declined, stating some of the attendees were “not scientific”. A similar response was received from Carl Sagan, citing a scheduling conflict. He later argued that anything he had to say on the subject had been said in his recent book, “The Demon-Haunted World”.

A key though relatively unknown attendant was Scott Jones, then President of an organization called the “Human Potential Foundation”, to which Rockefeller donated no less than $700,000 for research into the social effects of the public revelation of alien contact, and into the most effective methods for lobbying Congress. The Foundation was established by Jones’s employer, veteran Senator Claiborne Pell, one-time head of Congress’s Foreign Relations Committee, and a great influence on Vice President Al Gore, who was equally said to be interested in UFOs and “strange phenomena”.

In 1993, Rockefeller and Jones met with Jack Gibbons, Clinton’s chief science advisor, using a briefing paper “Matrix of UFO Beliefs” as the backbone of their presentation.

That document had been written by investigative journalist Richard Farley. When asked about its general line of reasoning, Farley stated that,

“the paper reflects my assumption that, for at least some publicly perceived ‘UFOs’, various of our government’s branches would be expected to know very well what may have been witnessed.”

In short, Farley suggested that UFOs were often a label stuck by government branches on top secret flights, experiments, etc. Farley did not seem to argue for the extra-terrestrial nature of the phenomenon.

This, of course, was not conform to Contact Scenario that most of the Rockefeller group subscribed to, so it was no surprise to see that in 1994, Farley resigned, stating “I ultimately disagreed on the timing and dynamics of ‘what to push and when.’” Farley underlined that he had a serious concern that UFOs were being used as “camouflage for exotic aerospace and directed energy technologies.” Though Farley had left, Jones too warned about UFOs being used to cloak other highly classified projects. And though he left, it seems that Farley then tried to brief the Clinton administration of his individual beliefs too.

The same happened to Jacques Vallee, considered to be a leading and most esteemed UFO researcher. Vallee had been offered a position helping with the Disclosure Initiative, but he declined, only to write directly to Gibbons to present his own UFO views, which differed from those ideas Rockefeller was presenting. Vallee offered to meet with Gibbons either in San Francisco or Washington or at Gibbons convenience.


Despite Vallee’s high profile in the UFO community, Gibbons turned Vallee down cold. It is remarkable that Gibbons was interested in talking to Rockefeller about the Contact Scenario but not with Vallee, who is not a proponent of “crashed saucers” stories – and it seems Gibbons was not interested in hearing such “other possibilities”.

C.B. Scott Jones

After an initial meeting, a second briefing paper, aimed towards the Central Intelligence Agency, was prepared by none other than Bruce Maccabee. And with the CIA, we come to the crux of Rockefeller’s – and the Clinton’s – interest: Roswell. The first and most important test case where declassification had to apply, according to Rockefeller, was the Roswell UFO incident. By 1994, a whole series of books had been written on the infamous story, starting in the late 1970s, when the story had been resurrected from oblivion by William Moore, apparently at a time when he was not yet a willing disinformation agent.

Rockefeller repeatedly argued along the lines that,

“There is a belief in many quarters that the government has long held classified information regarding UFOs which has not been released and that the failure to do so has brought about unnecessary suspicion and distrust. Many believe that the release of such information, if it exists, on a basis consistent with national security considerations, would be a significant gesture which would increase confidence in government.”

That was indeed a noble sentiment and throughout the entire initiative, there is no evidence to suggest that Rockefeller was insincere; he seems to have been convinced the government was covering up ET and he tried to uncover the truth.

Rockefeller and Greer’s pressure was able to convince Director of Central Intelligence Woolsey to request full disclosure on the Roswell crash. The outcome was a review of the UFO material, in which the emphasis shifted from the CIA to the Air Force. The conclusion of the report was that the Air Force had lied about more than half of its public statements regarding UFOs from the 1950s onwards. Why? To cover for covert CIA operations.

The report argued that more than half of the UFO sightings during the 1950s and 1960s were actually not UFOs, but misidentified secret spy planes such as the U-2 and SR-71. The damaging part to the Air Force was the report’s author, Richard Haines’ allegation that the Air Force Project Blue Book, set up to investigate UFO reports, actually consulted with the CIA U-2 staff personnel in Washington, and helped to co-ordinate dismissive explanations for the public to cover for the CIA aerial spy operations. In short, the report concluded that the public had been lied to, for decades, by both the Air Force and the CIA, and that UFOs were nothing but a smokescreen. The Contact Scenario had been a public illusion, painted on top of the official lies that masked something else – something more mundane.

Rockefeller largely felt – and so did most of the UFO community with him – that despite claims that this was the truth, these series of reports were more disinformation. The reports were seen as evidence of how powerful the true powerbrokers of the alien cover-up really were.

Rockefeller continued and prepared a special briefing paper for select politicians, heads of state, and CEOs. In this, he engaged the help of Marie “Bootsie” Galbraith, wife of investment banker Evan Galbraith and one-time US ambassador to France. Galbraith wanted to compile a report containing the most reliable evidence for the paranormal nature of UFOs. Though the final 169-page document was less than impressive in scope and was largely a survey of a “best of the year 19XX UFO sightings and incidents”, the effort was remarkable as she managed to unite under the temporary banner of the UFO Research Coalition: CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies), FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research) and MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), the three leading UFO organizations which were seldom willing to co-operate.

Among the cases selected for inclusion in this report were the Belgian wave and the Rendlesham Forest Incident – two cases in which there is a suspicious degree of military and intelligence involvement – and two cases which could have been part of a psychological warfare exercise.

When the Report was finished, Rockefeller did not request many copies for himself. The copies he did request went to General Colin Powell, then former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and later Secretary of State, former Secretary of State for President Nixon Henry Kissinger, evangelist Billy Graham, and founder of the Earth Council and Secretary General of the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro Maurice F. Strong. It reveals the political clout Rockefeller’s initiative had and the extent of his desire to convince the world of the Contact Scenario.

James Woolsey

As mentioned, Rockefeller was not the only person trying to interest president Clinton. On December 13, 1993, Steven Greer met with the “principal advisor to the President for Intelligence matters related to national security,” DCI James Woolsey. It was the first of many UFO briefings that Greer would do for members of the Clinton administration. Though Greer later claimed this was a three hour briefing which was well received by Woolsey, the director of Central Intelligence later stated that the “briefing” was actually a conversation over dinner, in which Greer was one of the guests. Another target of Greer was Bruce Lindsay, one of Clinton’s senior councilors in the White House and one of his closest friends and Al Gore and his staff.

Though at first firmly in Rockefeller’s camp, it seems that soon, Greer decided not play in the team, but make the briefings a personal ambition. An exact reason for the split has never been communicated, but it is believed that the disagreement between Greer and the Rockefeller group was about Greer’s contention that most if not all abductions were the result of US covert black operation paramilitary units simulating “alien abductions” through “reverse-engineered ET technologies.” This was a spin-off of the Contact Scenario, but perhaps one step the Rockefeller group did not want to reach out for.

Greer has since become known as one of the key collectors of “UFO whistleblowers” and since 1993, he hoped to gain amnesty for witnesses involved in classified UFO activities, so they could tell their stories without fear of reprisal. Why such amnesty was specifically required is a good question, for none of these alleged whistleblowers have never been prosecuted, let alone arrested. After Rockefeller’s attempts to achieve full disclosure ceased (and the Clinton administration became embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal ), Greer became the only person collating stories of often anonymous “whistleblowers” claiming the Contact Scenario was true.

Greer’s exposure to “whistleblowers” has led him to one conclusion: that the President and his advisors had not been honestly briefed on the UFO subject. According to Greer, any briefing that might have occurred, would have been an exercise in disinformation. His “deep throat” informants had all stated that neither the DCI nor the President were aware of what was truly going on. And hence, Greer saw Clinton as a fellow victim.

It seems Rockefeller and Co. were able to convince the president of their conclusion. For example, the President was convinced of Rockefeller’s claim that the 1994 official Roswell report was a smokescreen and that he was being kept out of the loop on matters related to UFOs. His lack of faith was most evident during a November 1995 speech in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when he read a letter from a thirteen-year-old Belfast boy named Ryan dealing with Roswell.

“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.)

Though this response may seem ad hoc and personal, we should note that all speeches by the president are carefully prepared – however much they may appear to be unrehearsed.

Rockefeller clearly had the White House talking about UFOs. The biggest players, Clinton, Gore and Woolsey, were convinced that sections of the government were withholding key information from them. Roswell seems to have acted as a catalyst throughout most of these discussions and beliefs.

As mentioned, Rockefeller’s role was of a genuinely interested party. But evidence suggests he too was being played, and that the trail led – via Maccabee and others – back to the CIA. In short, the puppet masters were unknown operatives within the Intelligence Community, trying to convince the president they had items in their possession that the president did not know about. The obvious question would be: why play such games? Even if such information was in their possession, why not simply reveal this material – if that is truly what they wanted to do?

The veil of confusion is slightly lifted with the help of Richard Farley. After a face-to-face meeting between Scott Jones and presidential science advisor Gibbons, Farley discovered a transcript of a phone interview between Scott Jones and Dr. Ronald Pandolfi at the CIA, “discussing Pandolfi’s (and the CIA’s) role in supporting Gibbons’ response to the Rockefeller ‘UFO’ Initiative". Farley wrote in his April 28, 1995 letter to Gibbons that Scott Jones’ former executive assistant told him “Jones routinely ‘bugged’ Pandolfi’s calls.” Farley further stated that the attached transcript was given to him by Jones “for purposes which were not clear to me then, nor presently; I sent it to the FBI and CIA months ago.”

According to the transcript of the April 15 telephone call, Pandolfi confirmed he had been contacted by the White House. He told Jones:

“We [the CIA] had been tasked a couple of days before the proposed visit of Laurance Rockefeller with the White House Science Advisor, to provide a briefing update to him – and we didn’t do that. Instead we tasked our friend Dr. Maccabee to do it. He did an excellent job… Gibbons said that he had gotten a one page input from Rockefeller indicating what the subject was going to be, and he didn’t have any background on it, claimed that he had never heard of MJ-12, or things like that, and so he contacted our representative over there and asked whether we could provide some support.”

“Instead we tasked our friend Dr. Maccabee to do it.”

Maccabee had been hanging around the CIA for a very long time. In fact, Ron Pandolfi’s predecessor at the CIA, Christopher C. “Kit” Green, had spoken to Bruce Maccabee in 1979. Kit had apparently stated that the CIA files might contain as many as 15,000 UFO-related files, of which two or three thousand were really interesting. Back in the 1980s, UFO researcher Bill Moore had also described Kit Green as “a person close to the President of the United States, capable of checking on information to determine its reliability.” It is remarkable that of all UFO researchers, Maccabee and Moore seemed to be prominent visitors of the CIA “Weird Desk”, as the likes of Green and Pandolfi were known.

In this scenario, few possible explanations make sense. Either the Weird Desk has such documents in their possession, but then the question is why full disclosure did not come about – noting that various channels and opportunities existed in the past decades to get the “truth” about the Contact Scenario out. The other scenario is that someone has been playing games – psychological warfare.

This, and other "UFO incidents", did not evolve around whether or not UFOs were alien spacecraft, or, whether or not, ET crashed in Roswell and the Air Force put his tiny, grey body on ice. The UFO psychological warfare was a display by a small group of people, who pretended to have a big secret; a big secret they pretended to have the power to shield from the public as a whole, and the President and his entourage in specific. It was a mechanism whereby even the President was led to believe there were men somewhere in his government whom he had to fear tremendously.


The latter was true - but not because they were in possession of alien beings. In truth, it was - and is - nothing more than an exercise in power, in which a myth was created, then promoted, then apparently covered-up, even though each cover-up was a confirmation of the existence of the myth, so that we would believe. In truth, it was an empty secret...