The U.S. government has been covering up evidence of extraterrestrial visits for more than 50 years, an array of 20 retired Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration and intelligence officers said yesterday.
They demanded Congress hold hearings on what they say is long-standing secret U.S. involvement with UFOs and extraterrestrials.
Calling it the "greatest secret of the 20th century," the officials, who termed themselves "witnesses" of UFO-related events, described a series of military investigations they said they saw: crashes of alien spacecraft, bodies of alien beings, secret government documents, even James Bond-style "erasures" of people who knew too much.
"The individuals who have these sightings range from airline pilots and military pilots to police officers, some of the people your lives depend on, on a daily basis," retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Brown told a roomful of skeptical reporters.
"They are very reputable, dependable people," he said.
"The field is filled with hoaxes and scams," said Dr. Steven Greer, director of the Disclosure Project, which had gathered the witnesses. "But it doesn't mean all of it is."
The 20 witnesses, he said, were a fraction of the 400 people who are willing to testify under oath-and under congressional immunity-about a secretive portion of the government they say has gone out of control.
UFOs have long fascinated Americans, including several U.S. presidents. Webster L. Hubbell, a former associate attorney general under President Clinton, has described in an autobiography his unsuccessful quest to determine government involvement in the topic.
John Callahan, a former FAA division chief of accidents and investigations, said he was directed by CIA officers to cover up a Nov. 18, 1986, incident involving a UFO and a Japanese airliner near Anchorage, Alaska.
"We were all sworn to secrecy that this event never happened," he said.
Michael Smith, a former U.S. Air Force air traffic controller stationed near Klamath Falls, Ore., in the 1960s and early 1970s, reported seeing a UFO hovering at 80,000 feet one night.
"I was told you keep it to yourself," he said. "NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] called me one night to say there's a UFO coming up the California coastline. I asked them what to do. They said nothing, not to write it down."
After he was stationed at another military base in Michigan, UFOs were so close to one landing strip, he said, that two incoming B-52s had to be steered around them.
The Disclosure Project, a Crozet, Va.-based research organization that has been gathering government witnesses for several years, says its reason for going public is because the U.S. …