Capital Times, Madison WI - July 7, 1992                    
Flying saucers, little green men, "Take us to your leader" - ridiculous.
Not to be taken seriously.  So why is the National Security Agency
investigating them?

Why is the intelligence agency tapping phones and possibly trading
technology to foreign governments to get UFO information?

Why won't they release documents regarding their reserach?

It's all true, and so top secret that even the classification status of
the documents is itself a secret.

Madison resident Fred Olsen is trying to change that.  He's suing the
National Security Agency under the Freedom of Information Act, not to
gain the release of the documents - at this point, hardly likely - but
just to get the intelligence agency's reasons for all the secrecy.

"It's become clear that the government is very concerned with UFOs,"
says Olsen, a paralegal and mediator, And the concern is just, he
argues. "If UFOs can penetrate our air space at will, and our jets can't
catch them, and they can jam our communications and radar," he says,
trailing off, leaving conclusions to the listener.

Concern over UFOs from a strategic standpoint came to Olsen after a
hitch in th U.S. Navy.  From 1972 to 1975 he was a fire control
technician on the USS Columbus, a guided missile cruiser stationed in
the Mediterranean. He had no interest in UFOs until 1984, when he heard
about UFO intrusions into nuclear weapons storage areas. He was upset.

"I decided to immerse myself in the field," Olsen says.  He called up
computer bulletin boards, examined government files obtained through
other Freedom of Information Act requests, and came away even more

"I came to the conclusion that I couldn't make conclusions," he says.

Others may not be so cautious in their assessments, especially after
reading the documents to which Olsen and others have gained access
through the Freedom of Information Act:

* Nov. 21, 1950: "I made discreet enquiries through the Canadian Embassy
staff in Washington who were able to obtain for me the foliowing
information: The (UFO) matter is the most highly ciassified subject in
the United States government, - rating higher even than the H-bomb." -
From the Smith Memo, written by Wilbert Smith, head of Project Magnet, a
Canadian Department of Transport program that studied radiowave
propagation as an energy source (a theorized power source for UFOs).

* 1968: "Up until this time, the leisurely scientific approach has too
often taken precedence in dealing with UFO questions. If you are
walkinig along a forest path and someone yells "rattler," your reaction
would be immediate and defensive.  You would have to treat the alarm as
if it were a real and immediate threat to your survival. Investigation
... would be geared to developing adequate defensive measures in a
minimum amount of time.  It would seem a little more of this survival
attitude is called for i n dealing with the UFO problem." - Lambros
Callimahos of the national Security Agency in his monograph titled "UFO
Hypothesis and Survival Questions," distributed within the NSA.

The most interesting document, however, is the July 1, 1980 affidavit
submitted by Eugene Yeates, chief of the NSA's Office of Policy,
explaining why UFO documents cannot be released. The 21-page affidavit,
filed in response to a separate Freedom of Information Act suit, was
released after four pages were completely blacked out, or censored, with
many more pages virtually deleted.

Some interesting facts survived, however:

* The NSA admitted to having 239 UFO documents as of 1980, 79 of which
originated with other government agencies.  There may have been more,
and more may have been generated since.

* Of the 239, 156 are communications intelligence reports produced
between 1958 and 1979. Two of those originated from SIGINT operations
(deletion) in exchange for sharing of technology and COMINT information.

Translated, that means that the NSA, CIA or other agencies traded
technology and communications intelligence (COMINT) for signal
intelligence (SIGINT).  And precisely where did our government and
others get the COMINT, or communications intelligence?

The NSA chief said 54 of the 156 COMINT reports are based wholly upon
intercepted communications (eight lines and two pages deleted here).

In short, our government is spying - possibly on its own citizens who
happen to be using international communications links - to gain UFO
information, and is possibly trading with foreign governments for
similar intelligence.                                               

In summary, said Eugene Yates of the NSA, "I have weighed the
significant need for openess in government against the likelihood of
damage to our national security at this time and have determined that
each record should continue to be classified."

Despite this, on July 14 U.S. District Court Judge John Shabaz granted
Fred Olsen's motion for an index to the affidavit deletions, detailing
in each instance the reason or reasons for censorship of a document
which, in the first place, was an explanation of why 239 other documents
would not be released.

The NSA has until Aug. 3 to respond.  Whatever turns up, Olsen doesn't
expect to feel vindicated.

"I don't espouse any answers for what UFOs are," he says. "I don't have
any answers or hard beliefs, other than that when the government holds
secrets this tightly, something is very wrong."