Date: October 11, 2018
From: Fran Ridge
Subject: CIA & the DEMISE of NICAP in 1969
Distribution: NICAP Research, NICAP A-Team

This chronological email commentary shows where we were/are after studying what each other had to say about this issue. It is imperative we come to some conclusion. It can always be updated. Possible or probable that the CIA or AF put NICAP out of business. Brad says it was AF, not the CIA. But it was CIA people who did certain things that was a causation factor. Or was this a coincidence? What is the bottom line?

 - Fran Ridge


I think that is a fair summary.

The decisions to abandon:

        1)  UFO Evidence Vol. 2
        2)  The University of Colorado rebuttal
        3)   special publications
        4)   fight to make government UFO information public

was a radical departure from NICAP efforts and policy.  The excuse used that the government no longer had a present in the UFO arena and all that was left to do was to investigate reports and advocate serious study seemed weak.

 - Jan Aldrich


An old note, exact date unknown from the late Richard Hall (Fran Ridge):

Concerned about the impending demise of NICAP, Gordon Lore consulted with me and made a conscientious effort to alert key Board Members, seeking their help in salvaging the organization. Other staff members had their own ideas and, apparently, plotted their own schemes independently. After a complicated series of transactions, Gordon Lore was notified by telegram from an area Board Member on December 5, 1969, that his services were no longer required and he was locked out of his office, all with no advance notice or discussion.

Outraged by this development, I strongly protested it to all the Board Members, pointing out in the process that I was owed back salary that had not been paid in full because of financial problems. Later I learned that my protest had resulted in several resignations from the Board. However, long and contentious negotiations with Board Members J. B. Hartranft, Jr. and Col. J. Bryan, III (now Board Chairman), over back salary issues went nowhere and left me permanently bitter about the treatment I received.

- Richard Hall

The government had essentially zero to do with NICAPs ultimate (late 1970s/80) demise. Any concentrating on the very last years of NICAP utterly misses the point. NICAP lost out because NICAP was built to get the government to reveal what they knew in congressional hearings. That battle was lost circa 1958-1962. THAT is covered in UFOs & Government.. NICAP in the late 70s was just a hanging-on shadow of itself, being rapidly passed by by APRO, CUFOS, and finally MUFON. Dick Hall knew that; Don Berliner knows that; Ted Bloecher knows that. 

- Mike Swords 


I would add this 1966-1969, the investigative subcommittee system was a gem.  However, the financial/business part of NICAP was a disaster.  And in an attempt to get that out of Keyhoe's hands, Hall et al. enlisted the Board to fix it.  A threat they used was the Board might held accountable for NICAP'S sloppy business practices.

The Board changed the make up of NICAP putting the finances in the hands of Accuf's management organization essentially to escape that responsibility.

The extent that Keyhoe personal carried NICAP is probably not appreciated.

Dave has various material from Fournet which support this contention.

- Jan Aldrich

I always feel some sympathy for Keyhoe in his failed role as NICAP head.  Like me, he was bereft of business and organizational skills.  Prior to Allen Hynek's emergence he was, as we know, the most prominent ufologist in America, so one understands why he was chosen to head NICAP.

As history attests, however, that was the wrong decision.

-Jerry Clark

I totally disagree with the posted factless comments.  Keyhoe was fired by 3 AF agents led by a AF-CIA top operative who had worked to topple organizations with disinformation and financial manipulation to exploit economic weaknesses, and who had withheld that background from fellow NICAP Board members, and who took over from Keyhoe as head of NICAP. 

- Brad Sparks

Not factless.  Factful.  Keyhoe was not fired.  He was kicked upstairs to the board.

- Jan Aldrich

Keyhoe was removed from Directorship of NICAP on Dec 3, 1969, by an illegal meeting of 3 AF-linked Board members who had no authority to convene and take its action under the By-laws with no legally-required notice or legal quorum.  Keyhoe was replaced, in the newly and illegally designated position of NICAP President by the AF-CIA top operative who had worked to topple organizations with disinformation and financial manipulation to exploit economic weaknesses, and who had withheld that background from fellow NICAP Board members.

- Brad Sparks

What three members are you talking about.  Fournet had resigned from the AF in 1953.  There were proxies from other members so nothing illegal there

- Jan aldrich

As you know they were Bryan, Hartranft and Fournet, all AF Reserve / ex-AF, and all removed Keyhoe peremptorily on Dec 3, 1969, without a hearing from Keyhoe or notice to him or notice to Board members of their meeting agenda and intended action.  They had no proxies to conduct an illegal meeting without legal notice.  

The AF had the termination of BB in the works for several months (see Bolender memo Oct 1969) and did not want NICAP declaring victory over the AF when BB was ended by announcement two weeks later on Dec 17, 1969.

- Brad Sparks


How is the Board meeting illegal?  Proxies were present.  Where is the reference that no notice was given?  If proxies were granted some kind of notice had to be given.

We are plowing old ground.  I agree that it was possible that the CIA might have set up a take over of NICAP.  I just don't think that the evidence points to that.  I grant that there are indications which point to some type of interferrence with NICAP.  I see the merits of your arguments. As before, we agree to disagree.

Fournet stayed on the NICAP board until the end.  Ex-AF means just that. He resigned because he was dissatisified with the AF.  He told Henry Woo that he thought the AF mishandled the UFO investigation. He got no credit for his service at all.  He was part of the Hancraft-General Richardson group that dumped Accuf and tried to reorient NICAP.  I think Hall's insistance on his back pay, killed this attempt.  That is why I don't see him as a CIA guy.

One can say that Nixon was lack-a-day care taker.  All NICAP projects (Colorado rebuttal, UFO Evidence Vol 2, special publications) under Keyhoe ended with the end of his directorship.  So if anyone was a CIA plant it was Nixon.  By the way Dave's stuff show that Nixon was essentially dumped later by Accuf.  Accuf was a rather sketchy character in the whole thing.

I completed the US Army enlisted psyops warfare course and went thru the officer's course which ended very little to the mix.  I know you think this is a big deal.  I was completely unimpressed.  Ditto, The Civic Action Officer's Course.  "Hearts and mines" and all that crap.  Unimpressive.  I saw a CIA briefing on psyops.  He said after the Hungarian revolution neither Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty had much credibility.  Voice of America did because the satellite countries could listen to East Bloc weather reports which said the winter temperatures were greater than they were.  VOA had credibility because the temperaue were the correct, so in this small area lead to turst of VOA.  He said that black and grey area psyops were alway viewed with suspession.  The truth is always better.  

The board has the power to remove the administrative head.  There is no requirement for due process.  Proxies usually confer all power unless otherwise limited.  I seem to remember seeing one.  There were no limits set.  However, I can't say that for sure.

- Jan Aldrich

OK. As moderator on several lists for over two decades I have seen topics get repeated from 3-6 times. We always come back to them. This time, this topic is for the record, because we're all not going to be around here in 5-10 years. It is imperative that we get it right and onsite.

So when we talk about people, we need to name names. And since these people said or were given documents that terminated them (for example), who gave them the documents, signed the documents, what did they say? And on what dates? So if Keyhoe was fired, where is the evidence? Has to be in NICAP files. Organizations don't just say "tottaloo".

Somebody said Keyhoe was stopped by police and was late for an important meeting. Sounds like a TV movie. 

One source on a radio show said NICAP was closed down by the AF less than a month before BB closed.  Not true. 

So let's proceed with whatever it takes to get these facts straight once and for all.

- Fran Ridge


It was not the CIA, it was the AF that wanted NICAP neutralized, and wanted it de-fanged before it ended BB in Jan 1970.  

Bryan's background was heading the Political and Psychological Warfare Staff, which involved undermining and neutralizing organizations ("political warfare") with agents on the inside and/or (with or without agents) the manipulation of financial support, especially against financially vulnerable orgs, the cultivation or even creation of financial scandals, etc.  Psych ops and propaganda were secondary.  

Fran just quoted a Dick Hall statement citing the funny business with the NICAP action by Bryan-Hartranft-Fournet in firing Keyhoe and Lore, and no doubt Dick did not know it was all illegal though maybe he had some suspicions (emphasis added):

... After a complicated series of transactions, Gordon Lore was notified by telegram from an area Board Member [Hartranft] on December 5, 1969, that his services were no longer required and he was locked out of his office, all with no advance notice or discussion.

Outraged by this development, I strongly protested it to all the Board Members....  However, long and contentious negotiations with Board Members J. B. Hartranft, Jr. and Col. J. Bryan, III (now Board Chairman), over back salary issues went nowhere and left me permanently bitter about the treatment I received.

The American Bar Association notes the general illegality of proxy voting on corporate Boards (like the NICAP Board of Governors, the exact labeling makes no difference):

The common law regarding proper action by a board of directors, including the prohibition on proxy voting by directors, developed in the business (or stock) corporation arena. State statutes governing business corporations and nonprofit (or nonstock) corporations both reflect the codification of this common law.  [Emphasis added.] 

As two corporate attorneys have put it:

Whether incorporated or unincorporated, it is well settled that corporation directors generally cannot vote at directors' board meetings by proxy but must be personally present and act themselves.

This requirement is for good reason. Directors are expected to stay informed to fulfill their fiduciary duty. To do that they must be present. A director's personal judgment is necessary, and the duties cannot be delegated or the powers assigned. Because it is so obvious, no cases contradict this concept.

One leading case decided in 1893 and still good law today, Ohio National Valley Bank vs. Walton Architectural Iron Co., said a director of a corporation cannot vote by proxy at a meeting of the directors. That holding was confirmed 63 years later in Greenberg vs. Harrison (1956), which said a corporate director must be physically present at directors' meetings and cannot vote by proxy.

Legal disputes over Board authority to terminate employees are fairly common, and arguments are often based on legality of proxy voting, as well as lack of legal notice to convene, etc.

- Brad

I don't see "CIA people" involved in 1969, and CIA had no reason to care in 1969.  Bryan is just one, and who doesn't count as "CIA" when he had switched allegiance to the AF in 1952-53, worked in the Secretary of the AF Office, etc.  His skill set was taking down organizations, causing divisions within and with other orgs, fomenting scandals, targeting financial weaknesses, getting negative press coverage of the org and certain leaders, etc.  Surprise surprise we see it all over again in miniature with NICAP, and didn't even require the full panoply of political warfare skills I just listed (partial list anyway), since NICAP was too easy, a tiny pipsqueak, a little bug swatted by a massive anvil.   

The CIA had no motive or reason to care about NICAP in 1969.  But in earlier years, NICAP greatly embarrassed the CIA and the Agency wanted the annoyance stopped.  In fact, at one time the founder of NICAP, Townsend Brown bragged to the press that NICAP was a "civilian intelligence agency" (or "CIA") on UFOs for the general public.  Can you imagine how that pissed off the leaders of the CIA?  (Can you imagine what J. Edgar Hoover would have done if some civilians called themselves an "FBI"?  We have actual cases and Hoover came down on them like a ton of bricks.)  

And then NICAP recruited the first Director of the CIA, Adm. Hillenkoetter, to serve on the NICAP Board and make public statements supporting NICAP goals.  This totally humiliated the CIA.  The CIA Chief Historian Gerald Haines records that CIA wanted its General Counsel to meet Hillenkoetter and get him off the NICAP Board, and Haines suggests CIA succeeded eventually, in 1962.  But that was all over by 1969.  

- Brad Sparks

How about the CIA and the AF in tandem putting NICAP out of effective business when the Board headed by Col. Joseph Bryan fired Keyhoe and I. No question in my mind that Stuart Nixon was a CIA plant. He practically admitted that to me (see  Chapter 19, The CIA Connection in my current book Flying Saucers From Beyond the Earth) during his first week on the NICAP staff. I also believed then and still believe that Keyhoe did not think that the CIA wanted to put NICAP out of business. Don’t forget:  Keyhoe’s best friend at the Naval Academy was Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the first director of the CIA. My last conversation with him in 1973 when he was promoting his last book indicated that he still didn’t believe the CIA would put NICAP out of effective business and that Nixon was “too dumb” to be a CIA plant. Well… We all now what happened after Jack Acuff and his crew took it over and eliminated all the subcommittees; effectively ending ongoing serious investigation of UFO reports. What else can ypu say about someone (Jack Acuff) who reportedly toyed with selling  NICAP’s assets to a pro-Nazi group?


For  more insight, read Chapter 19 of my book, which includes Dick hall’s spirited defense of my attempt to keep NICAP going before using what Dick called “Gestapo-like tactics” (courtesy of Stuart Nixon) in dismissing me. The last time I talked with Keyhoe was when he was promoting his last book from the National Press Club and he still didn’t believe that Nixon was a CIA plant and that the CIA would work to put NICAP and Keyhoe effectively out of business. It was only up to Fran Ridge and his surviving NICAP stalwarts to put NICAP back in the lead in bringing to light and investigating both old and new cases. Onward and upward, the keep your Eyes In  the Skies, the title to the intro to my book. It continues to get good buzz, guys!