Saturday, April 21, 2007

Robert Landry and MJ-12

If Majestic-12 (or any other group like it) really existed in the wake of the crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, why would President Truman, who supposedly created this group, have asked his Air Force aide, Colonel (later Major General) Robert Landry, to keep an eye on the UFO phenomenon for him, and brief him quarterly?

This is how Major General Landry, who retired from the USAF in 1962, and died in 2000, described it in an addendum to a 1974 oral history interview (original here):

In this time period the UFO phenomenon was getting quite a bit of play in the press, radio, TV and from miscellaneous other sources. All manner of objects and things were being seen in the sky by people, including attempted UFO landings and UFO hoverings over isolated areas. There was even a report of seeing little men with big round heads getting in and out of a UFO. Well, the President, like any other citizen, is exposed to all these goings on, too.

In any case, I was called one afternoon to come to the Oval Office--the President wanted to see me. We talked about UFO reports and what might be the meaning for all these rather way-out reports of sightings, and the subject in general. The president said he hadn't give much serious thought to all these reports; but at the same time, he said, if there was any evidence of a strategic threat to the national security, the collection and evaluation of UFO data by Central Intelligence warranted more intense study and attention at the highest government level.

I was directed to report quarterly to the President after consulting with Central Intelligence people, as to whether or not any UFO incidents received by them could be considered as having any strategic threatening implications at all.

The report was to be made orally by me unless it was considered by intelligence to be so serious or alarming as to warrant a more detailed report in writing. During the four and one-half years in office there, all reports were made orally. Nothing of substance considered credible or threatening to the country was ever received from intelligence.

Note: the Air Force had been charged by the Department of Defense with the collection and evaluation of UFO data from all sources such as the other services, the National Weather Service, and any other reliable source.

Now, this isn't some sort of scoop on my part. General Landry's remarks have been reasonably common knowledge in the UFO community for some time now. Indeed, some pro MJ-12 ufologists like Grant Cameron have used them to buttress their claims that Truman was interested in UFOs, without seeming to understand how Landry's statement undercuts their belief in the existence of MJ-12, or any other super-secret UFO committee. If MJ-12 did exist, and Truman wanted a report on what the CIA was up to, all he had to do was contact DCI Hillenkoetter, who was also supposedly a member of MJ-12. Of course, Truman would have been getting reasonably regular reports on UFOs from MJ-12 anyway, if such a committee had existed.

So, what conclusions can be drawn from Landry's statement, the accuracy of which has never been disputed?

First, President Truman was clearly interested, at least to a degree, in UFO reports. This shouldn't come as a surprise - lots of people, in and out of government, were interested in UFO reports in the late 1940s, for the very reasons that Landry mentioned.

Second, there was no super-secret group, whether MJ-12 or otherwise, set up by Truman to deal with UFOs. If there had been, there was no conceivable reason for him to ask Landry (shown above in WWII, as commander of the 56th Fighter Group) for quarterly reports on the UFO phenomenon.

Finally - and this follows from the second conclusion, although it is less certain than the first two - there was probably no crash of an alien spacecraft at Roswell, or anywhere else prior to 1948. If there had been, the MJ-12 proponents are likely correct in their assertion that Truman would have established some sort of oversight group. If he had, however, he would not have asked Landry to give him regular reports, and check in with the CIA.

These are the logical conclusions that should have been drawn from Landry's statement a long time ago. And yet ufologists like Grant Cameron, and Stan Friedman ignored them.

Paul Kimball

15 comments:

Andy said...

Bingo.

BoyintheMachine said...

"there was probably no crash of an alien spacecraft at Roswell, or anywhere else prior to 1948"

??? From whence did you draw this conclusion? The reality, or non-reality, of MJ12 has no connection to whether a 'flying disk' crashed at Roswell. If your opinion is that Landry would have known and spoken about the crash at Roswell then you are mistaken. If your opinion is that Truman would have known or spoken about Roswell, then you are also mistaken.

Believe it or not, there are a good number of *important* secrets deliberately kept hidden from some of the most powerful men in the US.

Who was the man that Clinton sent to find the answer to two questions; 1.) Do UFO's exist?, and 2.) Who Killed JFK? The man came back later and told President Clinton that he had been given the run-around on both issues. Note the phrase, 'the run-around' implies an attempt to prevent the acquisition of knowledge, implying certain individuals do indeed wish to keep things secret, even from the highest office.

-Jason

Don Maor said...

Dear Paul:

You reasoning is very false. There are many things that may be happening. For example, Truman could be wanting to test the UFO temperature in the secret agencies measured by termometer (a guy) who was NOT inside the secret, for example, Robert Landry. May be Truman was wondering if there were any inappropriate leak in the CIA internal system...etc.

There are a few anomalies in Landry ‘s declarations also. First, it was said that the reports were given by Landry orally, and only if important they would be made written. I remember Friedman quoting a guy who said "the first rule of secrecy is, nothing on paper". This rule contradicts the notion of the orders given to Landry. Why such strange contradiction? May be Truman was precisely wanting to test Landry's knowledge about UFOs with discretion or secrecy, _avoiding_ the written briefings.

May be the reason for oral briefings was precisely that he was already receiving better briefings from MJ-12 members, and that is why he did not want written briefings from Landry, who would be only a complementary source.

Other curiosity is that Truman said that he was not very interested in the subject. This may be a distractive statement, for not to look worried.

Generally speaking, the problem with your reasoning is that there may be many may be’s here, so even if your conclusion is correct, you are not arriving to it with in a correct way.

Paul Kimball said...

Jason & Don:

No problem with my reasoning here - just with those who don't want to accept the logical conclusions.

Jason - you're missing the point. Virtually everyone who supports Roswell agrees that Truman knew, and that he would have set up some group to deal with it (Kevin Randle called it the "Unholy Thirteen"). To imagine that Truman was kept out of the loop is simply wishful thinking. Don't confuse the way things might work now (emphasis on "might") with how they worked sixty years ago. One always has to view things in their proper historical context.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Don:

Generally speaking, the problem with your reasoning is that there may be many may be’s here, so even if your conclusion is correct, you are not arriving to it with in a correct way.

With respect, the maybes come from the other side, who have consistently ignored, misrepresented, or simply failed to understand the evidence with respect to the late 1940s and early 1950s, and crashed flying saucers. If you read the work of someone like Grant Cameron in its entirety, you would realize how many internal contradictions there are in his reasoning, which is shared by many others in the UFO field. They view things, not as part of the whole picture, but as pieces.

That's not how historians do it.

Paul

BoyintheMachine said...

Paul, I'm sorry but you failed to live up to 'Ufology's Voice Of Reason" on this one. I agree that MJ12 is most likely a hoax. However, to state that such hoax disproves the Roswell event is stretching credibility to the ripping point.

Claims of evidence via statements such as; 'Virtually Everyone Believes..." doesn't help your position either.

I would advise you to rethink your current opinions of the United States Army and the men compromising it, as currently you give the impression of it being a club of schoolboys who happened upon some unidentified remains and who subsequently ran to Teacher for help. (Us Boys should realize that you most definately do not tell Teacher jack! Instead, you find you a stick and you poke around in it, exploring... You keep it a secret!)

You might also want to update your opinons concerning the interplay between U.S. military branches as well as with other government offices. A unified front will naturaly be visible, masking internal rivalries for power, yet another reason why both Landry and Truman may not have been debriefed had such a crash occured.

-Jason

Paul Kimball said...

Jason:

No offense, but I would suggest you do some historical research about the military and intelligence services during the time period in question, and not just give in to conspiracy-oriented theories that have been the rage for the past twenty years, or project your feelings of what today's services are like back 60 years. As for saying that the lack of an MJ-12 type group disproves Roswell, you should re-read what I wrote, because I didn't say that. I simply said it makes it more likely, for the perfectly logical reasons I outlined.

As for the "virtually everyone believes" comment, find me a Roswell researcher of note who doesn't think that (a) the President was informed, and (b) a super secret group of some sort or another was set up to deal with it. Good luck with that. The reason they believe it is because it's a logical conclusion - assuming there was a crash of an alien spacecraft. If you think that's something that the USAF could have hidden from the President in 1947, or the other services or intel agencies, then you're wrong.

In my opinion, of course.

Paul

not_anonymous said...

While admittedly fascinated with the whole MJ-12 mythos I would by no means consider myself a staunch proponent of it's reality. However, if I were to read Landry's addendum exactly, he states Truman asks him for quarterly oral reports of what the CIA knows about UFOs. I'm not clear on the date which Truman asks for this. The Air Force has already had Project Sign, Grudge and then Blue Book. Doesn't the Director of CIA give the President daily briefings? Wouldn't any major UFO incidents come up as a matter of course during the daily briefing? Why does Truman need another channel of information aside from the official Air Force projects already underway and tasked with collecting data from other agencies?

Did Landry EVER file a written report? One would have to imagine that he Capitol flyovers of July 26, 1952, reported on the front pages everywhere, would have warranted a written report. Is one available? Did Landry imply that nothing during his tenure warranted a written report?

If something like MJ-12 did exist you would most definitely want a number of "thermometers" in place for a variety of reasons. It would be highly suspicious of the President to not be making some inquiries when congressional staff members are reporting ufos over the capitol. People close to the President in his daily routine, esp his Air Force aide would have to feel like they were in the loop to some extent or they would surmise there was a highly unusual channel of information to which they were not privy.

Not that any of these questions means your conclusion is an unreasonable one, it's just that giving Landry some busy work seems entirely in keeping with the general idea of the MJ-12 mythos. Something just strikes me as odd about a casual "when you have a chance" request for a quarterly oral report in light of official ongoing projects already tasked with the topic and the nationwide obsession during that time period.

Or maybe it's just me.

Paul Kimball said...

The only "logical fallacies" I see here are from the well-meaning commenters, who seem to prefer speculation, or a-historical "reasoning", as opposed to the known facts, upon which a logical conclusion can be reached.

History 101 fellas.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

not_anonymous:

You wrote:

However, if I were to read Landry's addendum exactly, he states Truman asks him for quarterly oral reports of what the CIA knows about UFOs. I'm not clear on the date which Truman asks for this.

Sometime in 1948. The exact date is unclear.

The Air Force has already had Project Sign, Grudge and then Blue Book. Doesn't the Director of CIA give the President daily briefings? Wouldn't any major UFO incidents come up as a matter of course during the daily briefing?

You would think so.

Why does Truman need another channel of information aside from the official Air Force projects already underway and tasked with collecting data from other agencies?

It never hurts to get a summary direct from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Did Landry EVER file a written report?

Apparently not.

If something like MJ-12 did exist you would most definitely want a number of "thermometers" in place for a variety of reasons.

Why?

It would be highly suspicious of the President to not be making some inquiries when congressional staff members are reporting ufos over the capitol.

Umm... and people accuse me of making leaps. This assumes that Truman was deluged by politicians and others demanding explanations for UFO sightings. I suspect that was not the case, at least not in relation to the people who were deluging him with stuff related to war and peace and the economy and all that stuff that voters actually care about.

People close to the President in his daily routine, esp his Air Force aide would have to feel like they were in the loop to some extent or they would surmise there was a highly unusual channel of information to which they were not privy.

And the unfounded speculation continues.

Not that any of these questions means your conclusion is an unreasonable one, it's just that giving Landry some busy work seems entirely in keeping with the general idea of the MJ-12 mythos.

Again, why? As Truman's Air Force aide in the early years of the Cold War (or the hot one, once Korea was underway), I suspect Landry didn't need any "busy" work.

Something just strikes me as odd about a casual "when you have a chance" request for a quarterly oral report in light of official ongoing projects already tasked with the topic and the nationwide obsession during that time period.

Why? Truman had a personal interest that went beyond the official Air Force investigations. I see absolutely nothing surprising about that at all.

Or maybe it's just me.

I think so. You, Don and Jason. :-)

Paul

not_anonymous said...

So, just for fun, let's assume that something like MJ-12 did exist. This leaves us with two possibilities: Either Landry had clearance to know about it or he didn't.

In the first case, Landry's addendum could just be a lie of omission. Given the implications of the supposed crashed saucer(s) it's really difficult for me to imagine Truman not wanting VERY frequent updates on the situation and having a Colonel aide in-house cleared to relay reports would have been real convenient. Is there any evidence that Landry was in on it? Not that I'm aware of.(Which isn't saying much.)

In the second case, Landry's already substantial duties, personality, reputation or a host of other factors may have deemed him inappropriate for MJ-12 clearance but as a thermometer he may have been ideal. He is directly linked to the President's ear and any person or agency interacting with him would know so. They would be aware that if they gave him the runaround on anything they would essentially be doing so to Truman himself.

From an executive's standpoint a thermometer would be desirable to gauge the mood of the troops so to speak. The MJ-12 mythos posits the most important compartmentalized defense program of all time. What makes this unique however is the fact that the subject of said program already has an incredibly public facet. It's on the radio and the front pages of the nation's newspapers, civilian and military personnel are claiming to see them and it's quite clear and well documented that highly placed officials in the military and government are becoming aware of and taking a real interest in the subject. Human thermometers would give you some idea of how the various agencies were reacting to the nationwide fascination that goes beyond what they put in their reports. Were they being caught up in it? Were they happy to just send the data up the chain of command and forget about it? Was there any sign of an impending avalanche of disclosure? Given the subject matter involved you would have to think that a collapse of the chain of command would be a very real concern.

In regards to giving Landry busy work, I mean ufo busy work. Here you have the beginning of a nationwide obsession beginning to steamroll it's way into the public consciousness. As the President's personal link to the agency tasked with handling the subject would it not strike you as damn odd if the President wasn't asking for any kind of reports on the subject? Given your duties, what would you surmise if the topic never came up at all? If it were me I would think the President was getting his info elsewhere and then I would be wondering and subtly inquiring with my contacts, my commanding officers and so on about where was else.

My understanding of the really deep black compartmentalized programs is that you don't just to call them TOP SECRET PROJECT 1897A and refuse to talk about them. You do everything possible to make sure the existence of the program can't be surmised in any way. There are compartmentalized projects operating and budgeted within visible classified projects. Not talking about something at all can imply it's existence. To the general public this probably seems ridiculous but everything I have read about these kinds of programs says that is how the procedures work.

Again, I'm simply working with the MJ-12 mythos for fun here. It is entirely within keeping of the mythos that someone who thinks they would have been in the loop wasn't and that they would have been given a bit of something to do to make them feel like they were.

Of course it's all unfounded speculation but my central point is that it is not internally inconsistent with the MJ-12 story of the most important compartmentalized program of all time.

For me, one of the central problems with the MJ-12 mythos as it stands is that I find it terribly difficult to believe that those particular twelve guys had so much time to apparently go about fulfilling their seemingly full public careers. How could there not be enormous chunks of time missing from their public life in light of the most important thing of all time? How could these guys be qualified to make informed decisions about any of this stuff without it becoming their full time responsibility?

I rather like the idea that some of the MJ-12 stuff(not that absurd SOM101 for god's sake) might be official disinfo for internally measuring security procedures or for leaking to the Soviets. What a fantastic story that would be in it's own right.

Bob Koford said...

I've been going over the transcript of the Truman, Key West meetings/vacation of March, 1949.

For what its worth, regarding Landry, he does not give the slightest hint that he is involved with or interested in anything other than fishing, the whole time! If one checks in the archives one can clearly see that we had some really weird goings on in the United States at that time, with possible spies launching green flares at Army bases, Green Fireballs seen, etc. The ONLY guy to have regular briefings with Truman, that very well might have been a more reasonable candidate, while everyone else was busy having a good time, including Landry, seems to be Admiral Leahy.

Plus-

UFO researchers consistantly make the Air Force out to be the ones conducting the flying saucer investigations, which is in part true, because we know of Projects SIGN, GRUDGE, etc., but it was actually an Armed Forces investigation! Just like Allen Hynek wasn't the only specialist helping the program out, this problem was being handled by EVERYONE! Then, with JANAP 146, it including everyone else!

I think that the program was much too big to think that the Air Force projects we know about, by name, were the end-all projects. They were clearinghouses for the information, which was a very important part of the process, but who (because we know this information wasn't just being compiled for fun) was the top group going over the data, and who did they report to? MAJCOM would have needed a body of experts of some type to aide in the designs for building up the satellite coverage which had been called for from the very beginning, by people like Valley and J. Forrester.

So I don't think it is a slam dunk in any way that Landry was Truman's UFO information conduit.

Frank said...

"there was no super-secret group, whether MJ-12 or otherwise, set up by Truman to deal with UFOs. If there had been, there was no conceivable reason for him to ask Landry for quarterly reports on the UFO phenomenon."

I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. It's perfectly reasonable to have Landry providing field reports and updates on a regular basis because they came in on a regular basis because new sightings came in on a regular basis. Read the Ruppelt book.

Vril1 said...

Landry was the "new man" Both the Navy and the Army had an older and more experienced aid for the president. And Trumann knew them personally.
Another good viewpoint for collecting information is to have more than one source. Especially if you are the president.
If the Roswell incident happened it would probably be handled by the Army and not the Airforce, because of the Radar implications and the crewmembers found.
MJ12 is probably an Navy bound organisation.
And remember Landry was having an office at second floor White house.
Both Navy and Army was reciding at first floor. It says something about Trumanns affection for the two old militaries.

Vril1 said...

Landry was the "new man" Both the Navy and the Army had an older and more experienced aid for the president. And Trumann knew them personally.
Another good viewpoint for collecting information is to have more than one source. Especially if you are the president.
If the Roswell incident happened it would probably be handled by the Army and not the Airforce, because of the Radar implications and the crewmembers found.
MJ12 is probably an Navy bound organisation.
And remember Landry was having an office at second floor White house.
Both Navy and Army was reciding at first floor. It says something about Trumanns affection for the two old militaries.