If there's any one element on which all parties to the Unidentified Flying Object controversy agree, it's the fact that every thing about UFOs is up in the air.
And the situation didn't change a whit yesterday as the Leader of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena announced in State Department tone and rhetoric that "we have broken relations" with a government-funded UF0 investigation.
Retired Marine Corps Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe charged that the University of Colorado study headed by physicist Edward U. Condon was anything but scientific and that Condon and the resident project head were openly biased.
The move followed publication in Look magazine of a report of deceptive memos, staff firings and a negative outlook on UFOs by the project leaders.
Series of Tempests
The current UFO crisis is but one of a series of tempests surrounding the oft-reported, but scientifically undocumented, sightings of strange saucer-like forms and shapes in flight.
Long under study by the Air Force in several separate projects, UFOs have managed to move even the studiously academic scientific community as well as government into support ing an objective study. NICAP, one of the less strident, but no-nonetheless dedicated parties, claims it also wants a balanced, scientific appraisal of the problem.
At its behest, and at that of others, the government financed a $500,000 project to answer UFO questions.
NICAP, which also challenged the earlier Air Force probes, now terms that study the "Colorado Fiasco."
Message to Johnson
Maj. Keyhoe announced at yesterday's press conference that he has also written President Johnson apprising him of NICAP's views and asking a new study.
Before the session turned into a nose-to-nose confrontation between Keyhoe and author Philip Klass over Kiass' allegations that UFOs are a form of ball lightning, Keyhoe read portions of a memo allegedly from the project leader, Robert Low, to the university of Colorado's vice president, Thurston Manning.
In it, Low is alleged to have said that to enter such a study objectively, "one has to admit fhe possibility that such things as UFOs exist. It is not respectable to give serious consideration to such a possibility."
Further, the memo continued:
"The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of non-believers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer..."
Maj. Keyhoe also charged that the investigating staff of the project was made up chiefly of psychologists whose goals were to examine the credibility of the witnesses rather than their purported evidence for sightings.
NICAP does not argue, he added, that either Low or Condon was being dishonest. "Both seemed to believe they were being correct in their approach," he said.