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Thread: Kecksburg

  1. #1


    What really crashed in Western PA ?
    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
    Sherlock Holmes

  2. #2
    The Herald Tribune


    November 11th, 2009 07:16pm

    Let’s hope NASA’s just sloppy

    by Billy Cox

    Did NASA analyze whatever crashed in a forest outside Kecksburg, Pa., on 12/9/65 or not? After six years of litigation, an extraordinary report by journalist Leslie Kean raises legitimate questions about the space agency’s ability to access its own records.

    Considering how NASA evidently erased its original high-rez footage of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, this isn’t necessarily news. What’s baffling is how — amid all the missing documents, particularly those pertaining to its relationship with the Defense Department concerning the recovery of space debris — NASA apparently can’t keep its stories straight.

    With support from the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003, Kean’s Coalition for the Freedom of Information took NASA to court after it responded to her FOIA request for Kecksburg data by saying it had nothing to share. In 2005, NASA spokesman Dave Steitz told the Associated Press its analysts had examined the debris and determined it was a Soviet satellite. “We boxed (the case) up and that was the end of it,” Steitz added. “Unfortunately, the documents supporting those findings were misplaced.”

    Not only did that statement contradict NASA’s own position that no space debris entered the atmosphere on 12/5/65, it appeared to confirm the existence of the elusive analysis that provoked the lawsuit in the first place. Even though the Air Force party line maintained nothing fell to Earth that day. In a voice mail at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Steitz said he was out of the office until Monday.

    “Why did we have to file suit at all if they knew this all along?” wonders Kean from New York City.

    Kean scored a surprising 2007 victory from a federal judge who ordered NASA to conduct a more thorough records search. She exhausted all legal options in August after NASA turned over hundreds of documents, most of them irrelevant or incomplete, and said it was in full compliance. Although she published her report on Monday without gaining any additional insights on Kecksburg, it contained some real head-scratchers.

    Among them:
    In 1996, one Paul Willis, indentified as NASA’s Headquarters Records/Forms Manager, was informed in writing by the National Records Center how the “Fragology Files” he’d requested — detailing the recovery and evaluation of space debris from 1962-67 — had vanished in 1987. In her futile efforts to retrieve those, as well as two boxes of records dealing with NASA’s Pentagon liaisons from 1965-66, Kean was told that Willis had walked out with the material she was asking for, in 1996, and never returned it. She asked if NASA could track Willis down and recover the data, but was informed Willis no longer worked for the government, and that such a request exceeded FOIA requirements.
    Did you get that? If you’re a federal employee who takes public property into retirement with you, it’s OK to keep it.

    Here’s another little nugget: In 1969, NASA engineer/fragology custodian Richard Schullherr huddled with USAF Project Blue Book official Col. Richard Bagnard in 1969, a meeting that confirmed two Air Force projects to retrieve fallen space objects were underway. “The observable phenomena of reentry were easily recognized and our response in general was to identify the particular decay,” Schullherr wrote. “When a particular decay could not be identified with an observation, we stated that it was a meteorite or a satellite which was not of sufficient importance to warrant tracking by NASA or NORAD.”

    In other words, meteors and satellites became the default words for anything that couldn’t be explained or identified. That unofficial policy also surfaced in a 12/10/65 note — written the day after the Kecksburg event — by a USAF major named Howard: “(Blue Book director) Major (Hector) Quintanilla said that it was Ok to call it a meteor that entered the atmosphere. He said that investigation is still under way. There was no space debris which entered the atmosphere on 9 December 1965.”

    There’s more. But the bottom line: Kean didn’t get what she was looking for. Maybe NASA conducted a thorough search, or maybe it didn’t. Without any independent oversight — and there isn’t — we’ll probably never know. But she doesn’t fault contemporary NASA personnel. She says they’re understaffed, overworked and swamped by blizzards of FOIA requests. What she’s certain of is that the sunshine system is in frantic need of an overhaul.

    “A citizen is supposed to have access to government documents under the law. They shouldn’t need a lawyer to do it,” she says. “I did. And there were moments of frustration and exhaustion. But the fact that an ordinary citizen can go after a federal agency and get the court to make it do its job gives me hope.”

    President Obama’s first executive order was to strengthen government transparency. Maybe Kecksburg should be where the rubber hits the road.
    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
    Sherlock Holmes

  3. #3
    The Herald Tribune


    November 17th, 2009 04:14pm

    NASA still mum on Kecksburg

    by Billy Cox

    Going on week two now since journalist Leslie Kean published the results of her six-year campaign to acquire NASA documents related to its involvement with an alleged UFO accident over Kecksburg, Pa., on 12/9/1965. And still no response from the space agency.

    NASA was never all that hot to trot on revisiting this literal blank spot in its own history. Long before Kean’s Coalition for the Freedom of Information lawyered up a request to review NASA’s “reports of space objects’ recovery” from 1962-67, the agency’s “fragology” files had been listed as missing. By 2007, federal judge Emmet Sullivan had had it up to his keister with NASA’s stonewalling and nearly blew a fuse in court.

    “This is outrageous what’s going on here. And it’s not your fault,” he told NASA attorney Marina Braswell. “But it’s a sad commentary to say the least. This is NASA. I never heard of a FOIA trial. But what do you do? And this is not one of these cases where — well, I’m not sure. I’ll hear from plaintiff. It’s not one of these cases where the government is really accused of hiding the ball and hiding documents. But maybe it is. I’m not sure.”

    Sullivan slammed NASA with a $50,000 bill in plaintiff’s legal fees and ordered the space agency to conduct a more rigorous search of its vaults. When the smoke settled, more than the frag files were gone. Also missing were the requested files on NASA’s liaisons with the Pentagon during the relevant time period. In fact, Kean was informed a stash on the agency’s relationship with the Defense Department from 1964-66 had been destroyed.

    NASA did release copies of form letters it sent to people who wrote in about UFOs, but it included none of the citizen queries that triggered those robo-replies. The no-brainer is that some of those letters might’ve provided additional details about the Kecksburg UFO, which provoked an apparent military recovery operation. NASA provided files that referenced attached photos and attachments — only, without the attachments.

    Maybe that’s all lost to history. But NASA spokesman David Steitz has not responded to repeated requests by De Void to reconcile a curious statement he made in 2005. On the 40th anniversary of the Kecksburg incident, two years after a NASA analyst had refuted the Soviet-satellite theory, Steitz told the Associated Press that the Russians had, indeed, lost a satellite near Kecksburg, but that the records had disappeared.

    Once again — Mr. Steitz: How can you make that statement if the records are missing? How did you acquire that information? What summaries or analyses did you read? Where are those records now? Was NASA/Johnson Space Center orbital debris scientist Nicholas Johnson lying in 2003 when he said Russian hardware couldn’t have plowed into the woods that night? Should I form an office pool for Week Three?
    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
    Sherlock Holmes

  4. #4
    And finally, this new development!

    The Herald Tribune


    November 19th, 2009 04:44pm

    Ixnay on the ebrisday

    by Billy Cox

    Now we learn that a NASA spokesman was just guessing a few years ago when he told an Associated Press reporter that a Soviet satellite crashed near Kecksburg, Pa., in December 1965.

    “My speculation in 2005 was inaccurate,” David Steitz told De Void from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    Last week, journalist Leslie Kean published the results of a six-year legal odyssey to figure out what role the space agency played in any analysis of a UFO that allegedly went down in the Pennsylvania woods on 12/5/65. Compounding the intrigue were remarks Steitz made to the AP on the 40th anniversary of the event, as Kean’s FOIA litigation advanced through federal court. Although a Johnson Space Center scientist had earlier ruled out orbital debris — Russian or otherwise — as a suspect, Steitz’s explanation to the wire service sounded pretty specific.

    “As a rule, we don’t track UFOs,” he said. “What we could do, and what we apparently did as experts in spacecraft in the 1960s, was to take a look at whatever it was and give our expert opinion. We did that. We boxed (the case) up, and that was the end of it. Unfortunately, the documents supporting those findings were misplaced.”

    Steitz reversed himself on Thursday afternoon. “Since then, I’ve learned that was inaccurate,” he said. “I never saw any documents.”

    So 2005 was a blowoff after all. At least we cleared that up.
    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
    Sherlock Holmes

  5. #5
    This got a good mention in the latest Hangar 1 ufo files s01e04 ufo crashes and recoveries.
    It focused a lot on the journalist eporter and news director for the local radio station WHJB, John Murphy who was killed by a hit and run several years after dropping a ground breaking doc on his radiio

  6. #6
    There are a number of good documentary about the incident

    UFO Crash at Kecksburg - The Untold Story

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