The famous Roswell UFO crash in 1947 was either an extraterrestrial craft (which I do not believe) or it was an advanced project of the United States military. Either way, it didn’t benefit the government of the United States to tell the truth. If it was an ETI, then the Pentagon certainly didn’t want to share the technology it might harvest from an alien spaceship with other nations, and if it was a secret project, then for sure the military didn’t want Russia to know about it.

And if it was a secret project employing Nazi scientists smuggled into America via Operation Paperclip just two years after the end of World War 2, then the United States government certainly didn’t want American taxpayers to know about it!1

Deception in war is a very old art, going back at least to the time of the great Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. During the Second World War, the Pentagon created a task force called Joint Security Command to preserve secrecy around planned military operations.

Joint Security Control (JSC) was founded during WW2 as the US deception planning counterpart to the British deception organization knows as the London Controlling Section (LCS). Together, JSC and LCS perfected the art of strategic wartime deception, initially in North Africa but then throughout the theater of the European war, including the deception planning that contributed to the success of D-Day. […]

In May of 1947, JSC received a revised charter, one that authorized it to continue its deception mission not just under wartime conditions but also during times of peace. JSC was tasked with preventing important military information from falling into the hands of the enemy, to control classified information through proper security classification, to correlate, maintain and disseminate all of the information furnished to JSC by the War and Navy Department Bureau of Public Relations, and finally the very important mission of cover and deception planning and implementation.2

Note that the JSC’s revised charter was issued less than two months before the UFO outbreak of June-July 1947, which included the Roswell crash. A declassified FBI memo dated July 21, 1947 related how a Colonel Carl Goldbranson of the War Department’s Intelligence Division had sent a telegram on July 5 to Army Air Force Major Paul Gaynor, a public relations officer, advising him to contact “[blacked out] Illinois who may have important information concerning [UFOs’] origin.”3 Major Gaynor had been quoted in a United Press story dated July 3 as saying the AAF had dropped its investigation into flying saucers because of a lack of concrete evidence.4

Independent researcher and author James Carrion, a former international director of the Mutual UFO Network, a former signals intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, and an IT manager, has established that Col. Goldbranson was a member of the JSC since at least 1943, specifically working on “Cover, Deception, and Task Force Security.”5 The July 21 memo is important because it documents that a member of a military unit responsible for strategic deception, operating just below the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had asked the FBI to investigate UFO reports.

And thus we have FBI agent Guy Banister sending telexes marked SM-X to Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover.

If, as I believe, the ET hypothesis is the least likely explanation for the wave of modern UFO sightings that began in the summer of 1947, then the motives of intelligence agencies to spin a compelling cover story become clear. Blaming odd lights and strange shapes in the sky on an extraterrestrial intelligence gets curious eyes looking at a target as far removed from the government as one can get. Is it better for the government for the public to believe that we’re being visited by ETIs or for word to get around about tests on a new supersonic fighter/bomber/drone?

Cases like the Paul Bennewitz affair, where a businessman whose company supplied equipment to the US Air Force was fed bogus information by an agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to convince him that Earth was being colonized by aliens working from an underground base near Dulce, New Mexico, only highlight the impact the intelligence community has had on the UFO phenomenon over the last seventy years.

Bennewitz was a physicist by training. He lived in New Mexico within sight of Kirtland Air Force Base, home to the Manzano Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility, and Sandia National Labs, a research site that mainly tests non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons.

In the late 1970s, Bennewitz became convinced that the strange lights in the sky over Kirtland were the advance team of a race of hostile aliens preparing to invade. He began using his skills as a physicist and an inventor to monitor strange radio emissions from Kirtland.

More significantly, he began writing letters to people that he thought should know what was happening in New Mexico. This brought him to the attention of the United States government and its military. Apparently, there was concern that someone as bright as Bennewitz might unintentionally expose something the Pentagon didn’t want the Kremlin to know. So, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations got involved.6

Having learned the essential parts of Bennewitz’s theories—very ironically from the man himself, by actually breaking into his home while he was out and checking his files and research notes—that aliens were mutilating cattle as part of some weird medical experiment; that they were abducting American citizens and implanting them with devices for purposes unknown; that those same aliens were living deep underground in a secure fortress at Dulce, New Mexico; and that we were all very soon going to be in deep and dire trouble as a direct result of the presence of this brewing, intergalactic threat, the Air Force gave Bennewitz precisely what he was looking for – confirmation that his theories were all true, and more.

Of course, this was all just a carefully-planned ruse to bombard Bennewitz with so much faked UFO data in the hope that it would steer him away from the classified military projects of a non-UFO nature that he had uncovered. And, indeed, it worked.

When Bennewitz received conformation (albeit carefully controlled and utterly fabricated confirmation) that, yes, he had stumbled upon the horrible truth and that, yes, there really was an alien base deep below Dulce, the actions of the Intelligence community had the desired effect: Bennewitz became increasingly paranoid and unstable, and he began looking away from Kirtland (the hub of the secrets that had to be kept) and harmlessly towards the vicinity of Dulce, where his actions, research, and theories could be carefully controlled and manipulated by the Government.7

No, Virginia, there is no underground alien base at Dulce. It’s a government PSYOP. (Or rather, a MISO—Military Intelligence Support Operation is now the preferred term.) Paul Bennewitz was gaslighted by the AFOSI with the help of prominent ufologist William Moore, co-author of the first major book on the Roswell phenomenon, 1980’s The Roswell Incident. Moore admitted to his role in the Bennewitz affair in a presentation to the 1989 MUFON national convention, but he justified it by claiming he’d used the opportunity to search for information that might expose government knowledge about the alien origin of UFOs—to work as a double agent, in other words.8

Oddly enough, this revelation only reinforced the faith of true believers in the ETI meme. The government wouldn’t try to discredit a prominent ufologist like Paul Bennewitz if he wasn’t on to something extraterrestrial, would they?

Yes, it would. What Bennewitz was investigating had more to do with Russians than aliens.

The government deception worked beautifully. Not only did it distract attention from whatever the Air Force wanted to keep hidden at Kirtland AFB, it established the underground Dulce base as a fixture in UFO lore.

To be blunt, the UFO research community has assisted this deception by being willing dupes. The low standard of evidence required for wide acceptance makes it easy for stories like the Dulce base to spread. French researcher Jacques Vallee illustrated this point in his 1991 book Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception.

“Why doesn’t anybody know about [Dulce]?” I asked.

“It’s underground, hidden in the desert. You can’t see it.”

“How large is it?”

“The size of Manhattan.”

“Who takes out the garbage?”

The group looked at me in shock. There is a certain unwritten etiquette one is supposed to follow when crashed saucers and government secrecy are discussed; you must not ask where the information comes from, because informants’ lives would be in danger, presumably from hired assassins paid by the Pentagon, the kind who try to hit the tires of fully-loaded gasoline trucks speeding through refineries. And you are not supposed to point out contradictions in the stories. Questions must always be directed at the higher topics, such as the philosophy of the aliens, or their purpose in the universe—not the practical details of their existence. In other words, it is not done to ask any question that has a plain, verifiable answer.9

Valee’s point has been ignored for thirty years. The fact that the heat signature of an underground base the size of Manhattan would be visible to relatively low-tech commercial satellites is no match for the simple fact that many in the UFO community, like the character Fox Mulder in the iconic sci-fi series The X-Files, simply want to believe.

But what about the multitude of contactees and abductees? Surely, not all of their cases are fake.

True enough. But, in most cases, it appears their stories stem from emotional or psychological issues that have nothing to do with the existence of ETIs. Sadly, rather than getting help to deal with their problems, some of which are rooted in trauma, they are exploited by true believers because it supports the desired narrative—that Earth is a favored destination by advanced races of extraterrestrials.

More on that next month.

  1. Which is a plausible scenario. See “The 1947 Roswell UFO Crash,”, retrieved 8/11/17.
  2. Carrion, James. “Human Deception at Play during the UFO Wave of 1947.” August 20, 2016., retrieved 8/11/17.
  3. Ibid.
  4. “AAF Drops Flying Disc Probe For Lack of Evidence.” The Waco News-Tribune, July 4, 1947, p. 3.
  5. Carrion, op. cit.
  6. Coppens, Philip. “Driving Mr. Bennewitz Insane.”, retrieved 8/23/17.
  7. Redfern, Nick (2012). “UFOs: The Project Beta Scandal.” Mysterious Universe. Retrieved 8/22/17.
  8. Donovan, B. W. (2011). Conspiracy films: a tour of dark places in the American conscious. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, pp. 104-105.
  9. Vallee, J. (1991). Revelations: alien contact and human deception. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 53.