The case is in the Blue Book files, case no. 4715. I don't have a copy but Tom Tulien and others do. McDonald discussed it in his 1968 House Science & Astronautics UFO Symposium testimony (in the long submitted document of best cases, Case 41, pp. 75, 85). That's where I first heard of it. McDonald found out because he was speaking in N. Calif and met Frank Baker who was the supervisor of Bittick and Gettys (NOT Cooper whom they knew nothing about).
I have a strong feeling that there were two separate sightings of the same
object, possibly at two different times on the same day or maybe even close
1) If you compare notes one is a DD, distant encounter, by civilians using
an Ascanian camera. The other is a CE/landing case witnessed by two
military witnesses using a movie camera they had to acquire. I know from my
sources this is scanty and needs a lot of amplification, so I leave that to
you. For example, what kinds of cameras were reportedly used in each story.
I really do not think there were two cases. Cooper's reference to a "camera crew" means they had the camera, and Bittick and Gettys said it was the Askania at Site #4. Bittick and Gettys said it got as close as 500 yards which makes it a borderline CE case. Bittick and Gettys said they radioed their report as it happened in order to try to get other camera crews onto it for triangulation but no one else was set up or manning the other sites -- it was 6:55 AM, and they had gotten there early because their boss Frank Baker had sent them out early (they later, with McDonald, wrongly remembered it was just before 8 AM presumably because that is when tracking operations were normally supposed to begin and other camera crews did not get in place until just before 8 so at 6:55-7:20 there was nobody else to track it).
2) According to what we know (Bolender memo, etc.) the best cases
(especially involving national security) are not part of the Blue Book
system. The distant encounter by civilians was easy to write off, but even
then you had to dig for it. Cooper's account was more devastating and his
name connected with it would have been sensational, causing problems they
didn't want or need, so it was classified secret and sent elsewhere.
Brad: No way! The case IS in the Blue Book files. Moreover there is an analysis by a Col. Klein (Kline?) at Edwards AFB in the BB file that destroys the balloon explanation and rejects it based on the known tracking of the balloon.
Cooper WAS A NOBODY IN 1957!!! His name wouldn't have meant BEANS to anyone then! He wasn't selected for the Mercury program until 1959 -- TWO YEARS LATER.
Cooper LIED years later and claimed HE sent the camera crew out. The camera crew and their actual boss (Baker) NEVER HEARD OF COOPER!
3) Cooper stuck to his story until the end, only Sci-Fi tried to make it
sound like he was an actual witness, but he always denied that, except
viewing frames of the developed film near the window.
4) People don't write themselves into cases, unless they are mentally ill
or want to participate in a fraud, like Corso. And as smart as Cooper was,
he would have written himself into the case as it really happened, with all
the accurate details. Which brings up another question: When did we first
hear of the case? And what were Cooper's credentials/military records then?
Brad: The case was published A WEEK after it happened, in the LA TIMES of May 9, 1957, (and in an INS wire service dispatch then) long before Cooper came along. Cooper did not reveal the case or blow the lid on any coverup. If anything Cooper has almost RUINED the case.
You are ignoring two other possibilities for Cooper "writing himself into the case" with inaccurate details:
(1) Storytelling mentality of exaggerating roles and details, where no one can predict in advance how much alteration the story will get. This is the most likely explanation. Cooper probably did see the film and got a garbled story second or third or nth-handed and exaggerated it even more in his mind in the retelling to juice it up.
(2) Cooper's exaggeration of a real case, falsely turning it into a filmed landing with landing gear retracting on takeoff, is very similar to the pattern of Air Force OSI fabrications of other real UFO cases with false landings and aliens using AF officers usually at about the rank of Colonel and designed to discredit the case (Bentwaters 1980 is the classic). Cooper was an AF officer and I think retired at rank of full Colonel. Cooper first came out with his phony story about 1978, exactly when AFOSI began a new wave of fabricated UFO stories in an effort to head off what was feared to be another massive UFO flap, this time triggered by the blockbuster CEIII movie.
5) Seeing/filming an object violating airspace over Edwards by more than
one set of witnesses would be expected. We always ask the question: Why
didn't anybody else see an object? Well, here you have a top secret base
full of people and cameras and RADAR, which may have tracked the object
also, alerting numerous witnesses. BTW, where can I/we get all the
documents regarding what we do know or were allowed to see?
Edwards AFB like White Sands was a TEST RANGE and NOT a 24/7 air defense base. Radars were turned on in the mornings for TEST RANGE activities and turned off at the end of a work day, typically 8-5 operations, a work day, no reason to keep going after 5, everyone's tired and wanting to go home, and no reason to start up in the night either unless a special project required it. Hence there were probably no radars on at 6:55-7:20 AM. However if there was a jet interception attempted it was done visually and most likely it was done too late, and the object was gone. Again it was not an air defense base, no jets were fueled and ready on "strip alert," it would have taken time to get a jet ready and up in the air before the day's operations (had the incident taken place AFTER jets were fueled and ready, in mid-day some time, then a faster jet response could have been undertaken, or a jet might have been in the air already, etc.).
6) If Cooper's story is true, wouldn't it make you a UFO proponent/believer
just like he was? It appears he was convinced by a very event a long time ago.
Cooper's born-again ETH-belief seems to emerge out of nowhere about 1978.
I would sink Cooper's false testimony as destructive to the case, and stick what the actual witnesses reported. Bittick may still have the earliest 10 feet of the film, showing the object at the closest range, but won't admit it or alternately claims he destroyed it during a house move (I don't believe it). Efforts are still being made to secure it.