Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter: Not MJ-12, but not completely honest either

The few remaining proponents of MJ-12 would have you believe that both Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter and Dr. Howard Menzel were members of that supposed super-secret UFO cover-up group.

As I, and many, many others have shown over the years, MJ-12 didn't exist, and the MJ-12 documents are bogus beyond any reasonable doubt (google MJ-12 in this blog's search engine to read past columns on this subject).

But that doesn't mean that Hillenkoetter and Menzel were unacquainted, or that Hillenkoetter wasn't playing games with members of the UFO community.

On 13 December, 1964, Major Donald Keyhoe, of NICAP, sent a letter to his old freind and former Annapolis classmate Hillenkoetter, who was a former member of NICAP's Board of Directors (1957 - 1962). In it, Keyhoe asked about information he had been given that Hillenkoetter, among other things, had discussed NICAP and UFOs with Menzel, and had commented favourably on one of Menzel's anti-UFO books.

Hillenkoetter replied on January 8, 1965, that Keyhoe had been misinformed. Hillenkoetter wrote:

I saw Dr. Menzel at a dinner in December but other than saying 'Good Evening - Merry Christmas' there was no conversation and I have never carried on any conversation with Menzel about NICAP or UFO. He did send me a copy of his book for which I thanked him but took no posiiton on the statements he made. (emphasis added - PK)

This was a lie.

On September 19, 1963, Hillenkoetter had written to Menzel:

Thank you very much for your book. To my mind, it was very well done and I enjoyed it and found it of great interest. I should say that you have effectively put to rest all surmises about flying saucers being from 'outer space'. You have done a thorough and praiseworthy job."

He continued:

As I told you at the last 'Ends of the Earth', I resigned from NICAP about 20 months ago feeling that it had degenerated from an organization honestly trying to find out something definite about possible unknowns, into a body bickering about personalities.
He concluded:

At all events, you have done a fine job and I am very grateful you were so kind as to send me your book Again with thanks and the hope of seeing you at the next 'Ends of the Earth'.
In this letter, Hillenkoetter does indeed discuss UFOs and NICAP with Menzel, and also offers high praise for his anti-UFO work.

One could say that there was a difference between "carrying on a conversation with Menzel", as Hillenkoetter stated in his letter to Keyhoe, and "writing him", but, all things considered, that is a distinction without a meaningful difference in this instance.

So, what can we glean from this?

First and perhaps foremost in the context of MJ-12, Hillenkoetter's letter to Menzel is not the kind of letter that one MJ-12 member would have written to another, as I noted here.

However, it does reveal a fair bit about Hillenkoetter's character, little of it good, and leads one to wonder just how sincere he was about his involvement with NICAP in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

After all, if he would lie to Keyhoe about matters as relatively trivial as this, what else might he have lied to him about?

It's a question worth asking, even without the bogus MJ-12 connection.

Paul Kimball


Aaron said...

This might be a silly question to people more familiar with the players in this story, but what was the point of that lie? Any insight as to why he lied to Keyhoe?


Aaron said...

Paul -

Where does all the correspondence from Hillenkoetter come from? I'm just curious to know who the source is and how they got it.

not_anonymous said...

As I, and many, many others have shown over the years, MJ-12 didn't exist, and the MJ-12 documents are bogus beyond any reasonable doubt

I think it was Firmage who framed the documents' authenticity as falling into one of 4 categories:

1. All genuine.

2. All bogus - created by an amateur.

3. All bogus - created as "official" disinfo for some purpose

4. Mix of fact and fiction. I would include the possibility that one or more individual documents is genuine while the rest are not in this category.

As it seems you have definitely decided against option 1, I'm curious to know your current feelings are on the other three.

I'm also curious as to who is presently considered to be the most likely candidate(s) in the case of complete forgery and how many man hours you would guess may have been involved.

When talking to the uninitiated in regards to the ufo phenomena I try to make the case that either the phenomena is real or the most complex and fascinating sociological event is occurring and in either case it demands serious attention. Whether hoax, genuine or a mix of the two, the MJ-12 documents are fascinating. If a pure and total fabrication it seems to me that the hoax is a genuine masterpiece of a true artist.

BoyintheMachine said...


"I'm also curious as to who is presently considered to be the most likely candidate(s) in the case of complete forgery and how many man hours you would guess may have been involved."

Jaime Shandera played a key role and is most likely a covert agent. Last Greg Bishop mentions is that Shandera has disappeared.


Paul Kimball said...

not_anonymous (nice handle, by the way):

You asked:

I'm also curious as to who is presently considered to be the most likely candidate(s) in the case of complete forgery and how many man hours you would guess may have been involved.

There seem to be two options - William Moore and Jaime Shandera, and perhaps others, in order to shake witnesses loose on Roswell or for monetary gain, or Richard Doty and others at AFOSI, either as part of some low level disinfo scheme that had nothing to do with UFOs, or just for the heck of it. Perhaps a bit of all of both these options.

In terms of the time involved, surprisingly little. Despite what Stan Friedman will tell you, the basic information in the MJ-12 documents was all available in the public domain when they would have been created in the early 1980s. Only the depth of Menzel's work with the government was relatively unknown, but then it's most likely that Menzel was added either as a joke, or an authenticating tag.

None of this, of course, means that a group like MJ-12 could not have existed, although I find this unlikely, unless you believe the crashed flying saucer stories.


Paul Kimball said...


You asked:

Any insight as to why he lied to Keyhoe?

That's the million dollar question. Was Hillenkoetter just trying to avoid a row with an old friend, or was this indicative of something more, which, given Hillenkoetter's involvement with both NICAP and the CIA would be an interesting angle to pursue? I would guess that the likeliest answer is the former, but we just don't know.


Paul Kimball said...


I got copies of the letters from Stan Friedman a couple of years ago as part of the research I was doing for a documentary. I would have to double-check with him as to the exact source, but they are unquestionably authentic.


mr. intense said...

I suspect the MJ-12 papers are a mix of "genuine" documents and "fabricated" ones, i.e.--genuine in the sense that most likely some element of the US Government (USG) created them, but not for the ostensible purposes indicated (like how to handle and crate up dead alien bodies, etc.). If I had to guess who, it would be USAF intelligence or maybe the CIA.

I think they may have been created to test the security of our own USG personnel (to see how they would react to such "surprise material", and to test their ability to keep such "high-level" classified docs secret and secure, as required), and for the purpose, if these leaked, inadvertently or even deliberately, to see who would emerge from the "woodwork" to be involved in transmitting same and who, most importantly, might be on the receiving end, like the Soviets, et al.

I mean, this stuff would be seen as _so_ provocative (Aliens! Crashed UFOs!) that the temptation to carry out or copy such docs might have been very difficult to resist for some military or intelligence personnel, which might be what any such test was set up to determine, which is the psychological reliability, "perceptual acuity" (can subjects discriminate between real and fabbed docs, or not, and if so, either way, what do they do?), and security consciousness of persons with access to _real_ high-level classified data, especially those with central access, like military SCIF (special compartmented information facility) managers or supervisors--I'm thinking, in this case, of someone like Sgt. Clifford Stone, who alleges he saw a "Cosmic"-level manual about aliens and ufos when he was working in a SCIF in Europe with the US Army, working with NATO. I think Cosmic may also be a genuine, high-level NATO classification term. And no, I don't buy Stone's more elaborate and extended "tales".

There may have even been fabricated UFOs, ala Lazar at Area 51, and at least one other example I've read about, to test and study the level of security "stamina" of the personnel "exposed" to such physical artifacts.

I mean, why not? I think it would be a damn effective way of running such a test of security reliability and consciousness, among other reasons, a "Swiss Army knife" that would serve many purposes, even if leaked, by "accident" or with "clear intent" (thank you, Fawcett and Greenwood). Vallee has also speculated, at times, along some of these lines.

Could Malmstrom, etc., have been a "staged" event? It would be dang useful to see how security personnel react to overwhelming "surprise" incidents, for both defensive _and_ offensive reasons. Wasn't it Tordella of the NSA himself who wrote the draft memo about the potential vulnerability and security hazards "surprise materials" could present to US national security and the potential use of a staged, major "ufo incident" that could present a devastating "blind spot" to US security, if used by the Soviets as a precursor to a Russian nuclear "first strike", and how we should therefore pay more attention to ufo phenomena, if for no other reason than to be able to discriminate between "natural" atmospheric phenomena and/or artificial incidents, whether staged by a nuclear foe or even an actual "alien" event?

I'll have to double-check my history and the records on this speculation, but it makes a hell of a lot of sense to has some of these original, now declassified documents, which I will review to refresh my recollection of the NSA/Tordella reference.
Consider: the US came close to missle launch against the Soviets in at least two major incidents, one involving a flock of high-flying birds, another when a radar misinterpreted radar bounced off of the moon! This is the kind of sub rosa potential hazard and vulnerability that must be dealt with, and may already havebeen, but nuclear missles still present humanity with the greatest potential for apocalypse currently, and I'm hesitant to assume the reliability of the technologies of target detection, discrimination, and launch, and the personnel monitoring and managing them. Aren't most radars, even military ones, "detuned" not to pick up "spurious" or anomalous reflected "clutter" and other signals that could someday turn out to be vastly significant?

(Jeez, I'd hate to see some actual alien spacecraft approach low over the North pole, be mistaken for a missle attack, and accidently cause or trigger a nuclear strike! Or, not be detected at all, for various reasons...)

And, getting back to MJ-12-related matters, it really has _nothing_ to do with the question of whether ufos are "real", "intelligent", or not--it has to do with national security, military intelligence needs, manipulaton, and data like MJ-12, etc., uses and tests the psychological and emotional vulnerabilities and belief systems of the persons so affected and subject to such "nefarious activities".

It also "muddies the waters" of legitimate scientific research into ufos tosuch an immense degree that, as Vallee once said, ufo investigation presents and even requires forms of counter-intelligence, regardless of what we're dealing with, in order to begin approaching some semblance of the real history or better idea of the "truth" of these concerns and issues.

Back on topic:

It (MJ-12 types of disinformation) would also function well as a form of "black psyop/ propaganda bait", in order to draw some agents out, and maybe even to persuade people like Stalin, who, after the "Roswell" incident was first made public in 1947, was said to be _very_ interested, and had GRU and KGB agents assigned to look into the matter. Perfect!

Serves multiple purposes, could even have been done to make the Soviets think, since we _knew_, even before 1947, that they were working toward A and H-bomb weapons, and that even if they succeeded, _we_ carried an even "bigger", Alien Stick to whack them with if and when required (like advanced propulsion tech, vehicles, and "special weaponry").

Need I mention the real classified tech and purposes of Project Mogul, to detect by acoustical microphones high up in a certain level of the atmosphere to "hear" and record the boom/echo of potential early Soviet nuclear testing, etc.?

Maybe someone like Nick Redfern (or Michael Ravinitsky, an FOIA expert) would like to look into this, based on his experiences and book about the "ufo spies". Hmmmm...?

Makes me wonder if and how many resources, and funding, may have been diverted, away from other areas, by the Soviets, if this did occur, at the behest of the US. Talk about tactical and strategic mind games!

Or if any other "enemy" (damn Commies!) or even allies were not just subject to this elaborate mil/intell circus "midway" of funhouse mirrors and opaque smoke, for cover and diversion/distraction reasons, but may also have been involved _themselves_ in playing turn-about on the US at times!

[What a wicked weave we create when first we practice to deceive...calling James Jesus Angleton! Talk about a wilderness of mirrors...or is it a "nightmarish carnival of mayhem"? (David Letterman)--Sheesharama!]

These kinds of possible black ops also allow the creators and "watchers" to study the personalities, relationships, social network, and potential for persuasion of same, and the effect/affect on such personnel, whether enemy or allied, or military, intelligence, or civilian. Wonderful stuff!

Even if _not_ true, if it was _believed_, the black propanganda could be said to have been successful, as the criteria is to modify and change the "enemy's" _perceptions, actions, and directions_ in various military and intelligence fields as a result, regardless of the veracity of the "bait".

James Oberg, Moore, or Bamford might have some insights on this, as would Haines, the CIA historian, but I don't think they would "show their cards", assuming they know or have any to play.

I suspect this is an endless game of Texas Hold'Em "poker", for as long as it serves a hidden, useful purpose and functions effectively as such, for a multiplicity of "legit" reasons.

And "we" could and would monitor these effects on the subjects, and see just how effective it might have been or be. Remember the CIA director, W.B. Smith, who wrote a famous memo suggesting that ufo phenomena presented an opportunity for both offensive and defensive psychological operations? Whatever happened, action-wise, to that prescient memo afterward, what actions, if any, were undertaken as a result, and where are the associated (still classified?)tabs attached to the W.B.Smith memorandum?

I think that defensiveand offensive psyop planning and ufo belief manipulation may have actually occurred, and may have even been implemented as a policy, subsequent to the denial-based findings of the infamous, CIA-organized "Robertson Panel", depending on the context, circumstances, or need.

Sure would like to see some of those USG Psychological Strategy Board documents regarding usage of ufo docs and propaganda declassified one day.

Roswell itself, whether as a staged incident, inadvertent mistake taken advantage of later for cover and propaganda purposes, or taken advantage of belatedly for these kinds of goals and others, may even be a reason for all the USG folderol involved about Roswell, as this kind of stuff has now become part of the mythos, and may remain classified or had crucial documentation destroyed, as it would amount to a _domestic_ military/intelligence psyops campaign, affecting US civilian populations, which I think might be both illegal and unconstitional, not to mention unethical, amoral, and anti-scientific, even if originally directed at the Soviets, etc.

I also suspect some civilian "ufo researchers" may have had a hand in fabricating later docs, and maybe for similar reasons as the USG, perhaps like William Moore, or Tim Cooper, unless others they knew, like Doty of the AFOSI, created them or were supplied them to provide to civilian researchers to study how these things can spread, be distributed, and then influence and divert the targets from certain lines of investigation they may have been pursuing, such as Bennewitz, etc., again for possible "national security" or state secrets reasons.

Pretty damn intriguing, at the very least, them MJ-12 papers and the related conspiracies.

MJ-12 and the related issues should be investigated more thoroughly than they have been, and should be of some concern to those within __and_ outside of the "ufo community", like congressional intelligence oversight committees, which, for the past 7 years or more have been derelict in their duties. We and they should at least consider, and hopefully think more deeply about how the scandal of MJ-12 can be investigated and perhaps resolved someday. We may come up with some important data and real history that could help clarify things about the intent and purpose behind this fraud. I’m sure Stan Friedman would sure be interested in finding out who placed and how and why that original roll of film just happened to land in Jaime Shandera’s mailbox! I suspect a “magic” trick of another kind than has been supposed so far…

benkeshet said...


Hi. I was surfing the net looking for info on Hillenkoetter.

A few notes on this exchange of letters:

Hillenkoetter had received a book from a distinguished Harvard professor and, as a public official accustomed to responding courteously, wrote a not-lengthy thank you letter. What should anyone expect, a critical response on a distinguished professor's views in a gratis book?

He did not go into any detail about NICAP other than to say he'd left because of bickering. It was public record he'd left NICAP a year before he wrote Menzel the thank you letter.

Evidently Hillenkoetter had also stated in 1960:

"Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense."

In his letter to Menzel, Hillenkoetter put the scare quotes around "outer space" and not around "flying saucers." That could be construed to mean he was "honestly trying to find out something definite about possible unknowns" but had found no convincing evidence for the ETH, a position also held by Hynek and Vallee.

So Hillenkoetter may not have bought Menzel's debunking line completely, but he evidentlly did feel that the ETH "outer space" explanation was "effectively put to rest."

More than a year after this, Keyhoe sent his letter. Was Hillenkoetter "lying" in his response to Keyhoe. Personally I doubt if Hillenkoetter had made duplicates and triplicates of his earlier response to Menzel. So going by memory, before "email" permanent records, he could say he'd made no significant comment either about NICAP, or about Menzel's position. In any case, that may have been Hillenkoetter's thinking in his letter to Keyhoe.

Keyhoe was by then pushing the ETH view and USAF coverup. Just because they were Annapolis buds doesn't mean they had to see eye to eye on every detail.

As you pointed out, this exchange of books and letters does not lend itself to the proposition that Hillenkoetter and Menzel were colleagues on MJ 12.

Best wishes.