The January, 1989 issue of The MUFON Journal featured an article which I wrote. It was called, "Deliberate Deception: The Big Sur UFO Filming." In that article I detailed having taken part in an official U.S. Air Force cover-up of a UFO filming which I supervised in 1964. I told about my part in the incident, revealed what I had seen on the film- a strange object which I called "a UFO" that day in the office of Major Florenz J. Mansmann in the Headquarters, 1st Strategic Aerospace Building at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I also revealed that I was summarily ordered to keep quiet about the incident. I was told, "Lieutenant Jacobs, this never happened. You are to say nothing about it." And, that is the very definition of the word "cover-up."
I wrote my article at the urging of my friend John Andrews and at the invitation of Walt Andrus at MUFON, Inc. I did so because I thought the information I had to share was important to serious students and investigators of the UFO phenomenon, because I thought it was important to verify that the government of the United States had, indeed, covered up information about the subject, at least in this one case to which I was a party, and because I found the whole thing interesting from a number of intellectual and philosophical viewpoints. I spoke to some of these issues in the article. Certainly, I saw no harm in it. The story was the truth so far as I knew it.
I got a number of letters and inquiries in response to the article. Most were productive, even from those who did not accept everything I said and who wished to debate points with me. I respect informed and congenial debate. As a professional academician I find such activity to be very healthy, in fact.
What I do not find healthy or productive is the malicious carping and adolescent ill-temper of one Phillip J. Klass. I first heard from this overbearing boor in a letter dated January 25, 1989 in which he practically ordered me to turn over to him a paper which I had referenced properly in my article, to wit: "Preliminary Report on Image Orthicon Photography from Big Sur", written by Kingston A. George; an operations analyst on the experiments with the B.U. Telescope which we used at the Big Sur site. Klass offered to pay me $25 dollars for my trouble and inferred that I should hop to it and get this document sent to him so it would be at his home when he got back from a ski trip with his wife.
I don't like being ordered around, especially by people I don't know. I didn't know Phillip J. Klass from Adam's Ass at that time. I've come to wish that it had been the fabled donkey which entered my life that January day in Maine instead of him. Since that time I have tried mightily to avoid this gadfly and his self-righteous pronouncements. I have refused to respond to his barbed correspondence. I have left him free to believe what he wants to believe, expecting to be left alone myself. I have not wanted to play his idiot's game. But, now he has provoked a response. Klass says that I lied about the incident; made it up out of whole cloth. And he says I did it all for five hundred lousy bucks from a tabloid newspaper.
Klass has become nearly hysterical in his need to repudiate my story. I can only guess that the reason for his bizarre antics is that my story is even bigger than I thought it was. There must be some hidden agenda from which he is playing. The purpose of the article you're reading now is to refute the allegations made about me by Mr. Klass, to illustrate the depth of the well of ignorance from which he draws his screwy conclusions about me and my story and, hopefully, to put him and his crude slanders out of my life for good. I really think the poor man needs to find something better to do with his retirement years than to persecute people who don't accept his viewpoint about the nature of the universe and one of its myriad mysteries.
In his self-published "Skeptics UFO Newsletter" dated Jan. 1993, Klass writes nearly two full, single spaced pages about me and my story. His headline reads:
"JOURNALISM PROFESSOR (AND FORMER USAF OFFICER) 'MANUFACTURES' A TALL UFO TALE, THEN ACCUSES THE GOVERNMENT OF COVERING IT UP:"
The "journalism professor (and former USAF officer)" is me.
Now, I have no quarrel with anyone who wishes to propose an alternate version of what happened that day in 1964, nor could I object to anyone presenting real evidence which proved, if possible, that I was wrong in what I saw and what we photographed. Phillip J. Klass does not present facts, however, but insists on libeling me personally while attempting to assassinate my character to discredit my story. This is a tactic which Klass seems to enjoy using, not only with me, but with anyone with whom he disagrees. Because he can't prove witnesses wrong, he impugns their character. He uses this nasty technique throughout his so-called "newsletter." It's an old, vicious trick. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin used it over and over until he was finally exposed as a fraud and charlatan by Edward R. Murrow and others. Mr. Klass really needs to go back to school to learn about journalistic ethics, as well as the definition of the word "news" if he intends to continue his publishing pretense, in my view. If he learned anything there from, it might save a lot of us from the venom of his Poison-Pen.
For the record, once more, I did not "manufacture" anything. The story I told was true. I stand by it as it was accounted in The MUFON Journal. My story has been verified by the only witness to it willing to come forward. And that was Florenz J. Mansmann himself, the Air Force Major who issued the cover-up order to me in the first place. He is one of the few people who got to analyze the film in depth at the time we took it. Klass, I must point out, has never even seen the film, much less had the chance to analyze it for content.
There are several forms of proof which count in scientific enquiry. One of them is to have verification from a credible source other than the observer. If I had "manufactured" a "cock and bull story", as Klass asserts, then no one would corroborate it. As the observer and reporter of my true story, I hereby present verification- corroboration- from a very credible source. I quote from letters written by Florenz J. Mansmann:
From a letter to Lee Graham dated 1-30-1983:
The Enquirer story is true except the year was 1964 not 1965. The camera system we used was capable of 'nuts and bolts' focus from a point seventy miles from any object being tracked so the photos were readable." ..."Consider if this secret scientific community did not believe in all the data you have so expertly put together, why would they send up so many packages from Vandenberg and the Cape to try to establish communication. Your research shows only too well we have received communication, but as yet have not enjoyed the two way communication we are attempting. It will come soon."
From a letter to Peter Bons dated March 8, 1983:
"Dr. Bob opened a Pandora's box and in the last few months I have been bombarded with phone calls and letters. I try to answer the sincere ones. First, the Enquirer story was true except the date was 1964. I was in Vietnam in '65. Telescopic photography of that magnitude makes sizes undeterminable. We knew the missile size but could not compare since we did not know how far from the missile the 'object' was at time of beam release. Maneuverability was also at question for the same reason. Propulsion was plasma like but not probable. In such gravity, plasma induced speed and maneuverability would not seem possible. From clarity, action and situation in the film, the assumption was, at that time, extraterrestrial. Details would be sketchy and from memory, the shape was classic disc, the center seemed to be a raised bubble, not sure any ports or slits could be seen but was stationary, or moving slightly- floating over the entire lower saucer shape, which was glowing and 'seemed' to be rotating slowly. At the point of beam release- if it was a beam, it, the object, turned like an object required to be in a position to fire from a platform--- but again, this could be my own assumption from being in aerial combat... There is one thing going on which may bring more to light soon. Howard University is into computer scanning for extraterrestrial signals from worldwide information gathered from amounts of data, good scientific data."
From a letter to Mr. Robert Brown dated 11-28-91:
"This letter will verify that the entire UFO story as printed on the front page of the Oct. 12, 1982 National Enquirer is true and factual as was the UFO cover-up story on page 87 of the Jan 1985 issue of Omni Magazine."
In reference to discussions between the civilian agents who took the film and the 1st Stratad Chief Scientist, Mansmann also comments in this letter to Brown:
"There was mention of not including this incident on 'blue paper' which I did not understand at the time, but which I now feel he [one of the civilian secret agents] meant 'the Blue Book' of UFO incidents. Discussion of other incidents and projects were discussed between the other four in the room, but I was busy filling out their papers for release and security of the film. The reasons for and classification of the film I remember was left blank for them to fill in. I only signed for the film when I first received it. 'They' did not sign out for all the footage but took out that part that showed the encounter and returned the rest of the film to me as a 'complete' package. The one agent stated as he handed me back the film---'that leaves you off the hook but not off any disclosure--- understood'? Naturally my answer was 'Yes sir.'
Lieutenant Jacobs went through the same routine when he arrived, when he reviewed the film and when he departed.
There has been so much developing in the realm of life, time and space since that time. And I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of so many unbelievable projects that to this day I believe we are getting help from someone or something 'out there'."
And FINALLY, to me on 1-30-85:
"So verification is not a question. Your story as I told everyone is true."
Now-- Klass says I "manufactured a tall UFO tale." Obviously Klass doesn't know a damn thing about it, nor about scientific enquiry nor about the rules of evidence, as it seems from his strident ranting in this pathetic "newsletter." When he impugns me, this snide putz also impugns the word and reputation of an honorable and truly heroic figure, Dr. Florenz J. Mansmann, who as an Air Force officer made real sacrifices of his personal safety and health for the love of his country while people like Phil Klass sat on their smug pseudo-skepticism with their smart mouths, becoming self-proclaimed "debunkers." And that is something which I won't tolerate from this ninny or anyone else. Phil had better look up the word "libel" before he prints any other lies about me or my former comrade in arms, Florenz J. Mansmann. We were both officers. As such we took an oath, "not to lie, cheat, steal nor to tolerate such behavior in those around us." Evidently Klass took no such oath, by the evidence of this wretched attack on me and my verifying sources.
Klass concludes his garbage barrage at me by saying:
"After publication of Bob Jacobs' wild Big Sur UFO tale in the National Enquirer, he wrote to his former boss, Florenz Mansmann, on January 14, 1985 to explain what had prompted him to write the article. Jacobs said he first tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the article to Omni magazine. 'As a poor teacher in an impoverished state [Wisconsin], I then sold it to The Enquirer to pay a few bills.' Jacobs reportedly received $500 for his article."
I have no idea how Phil Klass got his paws on a personal letter from me to my friend, Florenz Mansmann. Nor do I know why he tries to distort the truth further by quoting it out of context. There are several errors here of omission and commission by the "ethical" Mr. Klass. First, Mansmann was never my "boss". He was a senior officer working in a related duty to mine in another Command. Second, I was not implying, as Klass' bracketed insert indicates, that Wisconsin was impoverished. I was the one in an impoverished state, a word meaning "condition" or "circumstance," not my geopolitical residence. Schoolteachers are always poor. At least the ones I know. I am a freelance writer, too, and I usually get paid for articles I write, as I did with that one. So what? Klass has been paid as a writer, also. What does that have to do with the veracity or lack thereof of the issue at hand? And finally, if Klass is going to pry into people's personal correspondence, and publish it, why not reveal what I REALLY discussed in that same letter? Here's what Klass did NOT see fit to print.
I wrote the letter to share some thoughts about the topic of the UFO incident with an old comrade. I was extremely concerned because Lee Graham had told me that Mansmann was afraid of "reprisal", if he got involved in attempts to locate the missing Big Sur film. I wrote in that letter from which Klass quoted:
"Lee Graham tells me that the Air Force now denies that there even existed a 'telescope site' from which to shoot such film. You and I know it was there. I have a photo of us at the site smiling at the radio device I designed to send timing signals up there from Vandenberg. I got the Missile Insignia for that one. You and I also know that the same site exists today on Anderson Peak. From it we see the shuttle enter California airspace! The Air Force can ONLY deny things, it seems. And, like the Russians and the Nazis, when they deny the truth and then the truth comes out in public, how can they expect our citizens to have trust and confidence in the institutions we have erected to serve us?"
"Given that, as you put it to me at the time, 'this never happened' [referring to the record of the UFO on film], it's not surprising that Lee Graham can't get verification of it from the Air Force or the Freedom of Information Office. When Lee Graham tells me in a letter that you confirm the story but are 'reluctant to make any inquiry... for fear of reprisal from the agency that appropriated the film', I shudder in my boots. I have an old, rusted, bent key. I picked it out of the dirt at Dachau. An historian friend of mine affirms that it was used to, most likely, to open the hot oven doors at that awful place which consumed so many of my people who were afraid of 'reprisal' from their government. Over two decades after the filming of a 'warning shot', must we still fear 'reprisal' for seeking answers to what may be the innermost secrets of the cosmos itself?"
"I'm only a humble school teacher and alfalfa farmer in Wisconsin. I could disappear tonight. Only my fiancé, my dog and a few close friends would notice. Because I am an American, I don't fear such 'reprisal', however. Perhaps it is because I am a very naive American? Perhaps it's because our government has done such a very good job of making 'nut-cases' out of anyone who reports a UFO that my credibility is shot and nobody cares what I say anymore."
"Certainly there are a large number of 'fringies'; true deluded or psychotic people who have climbed aboard the UFO bandwagon, claiming daily free rides to Venus and elsewhere to give their impotent lives some notoriety and meaning. The media have had a lot of fun propagating their stories at the expense of those of us who investigate in good faith and natural curiosity at a most peculiar and potentially exhilarating phenomenon or set of phenomena."
"And all this leads me to question; why all of this idiotic cover-up? They are here, aren't they? We know it. The Russians know it. The South Africans and Pakistanis know it. Every kid in the third grade knows it. Reagan with his 'Star Wars' nonsense knows it. So what's all the 'fear of reprisal' business. Steven Spielberg told us all about it, for God's sake. Do we have to hear it at Disneyland?! Do guys like Lee Graham have to ferret out the truth to convince their buddies that they aren't nuts?"
I also made the following comment in that letter, and wonder why Klass made no reference to this:
"Philosophically, however, I have to wonder at our arrogance in assuming that if contact from interstellar intelligence HAS taken place, that it has only taken place with us. The technology to which you and I were witness, the technology recorded on that few feet of film, indicates orders of magnitude from our relatively primitive efforts in mechanics, propulsion and possibly quantum physics as well. Such intelligence might be suspected to regard us as little more than savages: ALL of us on this planet. I might even in my more retrospective moments, regard that beam of light. no, THOSE BEAMS of light on our film as a WARNING. A shot fired across the bow, so to speak, of our nuclear silliness ship. I have a true account, told me by another former Air Force guy of a VERY close encounter in 1957 at one of our SAC bases in the Atlantic. I'll relate it to you in person one day, I hope."
Now, THAT is what my letter to Mansmann was about. It was about truth and care and concern and compassion; qualities which Klass ignores in his attack on my character. Perhaps the issue of "character" will become clearer as I respond to other specific "charges" raised by Klass in his "newsletter" item.
First, he quotes only from the first report of my incident which was published in The National Enquirer in 1982. While the essential facts of the story are accurate in that report, it does a disservice to keep using this piece to characterize both me and the incident. In the MUFON Journal article, I spent a lot of time decrying the tabloid factor in ufology. The Enquirer, as Klass observes, was the only publication which would take my piece in 1982. I tried having it published in a number of more respectable periodicals, with no success. And while the writing style was changed by The Enquirer' rewrite staff so dramatically that I can recognize very little of it as my own (eg: I would NEVER say phrases like, "At the time of the mind-boggling encounter...") the facts I reported are the facts of the case, all except for the date which I clarify in my MUFON Journal report; a report written entirely by me and me alone, in my own words and my own style.
I make a point in this second article, in fact, of saying that those who wish to debunk, defame, ridicule and defuse actual, unexplained UFO encounters, could rely on the tabloid factor as part of their tactic of defamation; a tactic which Klass is obviously using now. Why, I must ask, does he not use the MUFON Journal piece as the basis for his critique?
Klass reports, correctly, that on January 25, 1989 he wrote to me for the Kingston George report which I had referenced in my MUFON article, and that I refused to give it to him. There's a reason why I referenced it and a reason why I refused to turn over it, or anything else I might have had, to Phillip J. Klass. First, the original point of the reference:
When my article appeared in The Enquirer, several researchers began to seek verification. These included a staff member from The National Enquirer, T. Scott Crain, Lee Graham, John Andrews and others. Lee Graham was the most persistent. As these researchers went to work, in sequence the Air Force did the following:
[a] Denied that I ever had been in the Air Force.
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[b] Denied that I had been in the 1369th Photographic Squadron
at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[c] Denied that I had anything to do with the Image Orthicon
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[d] Denied that I had anything to do with establishing a tracking
site at Big Sur, California.
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[e] Denied the existence of a tracking site at Big Sur, California.
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[f] Denied that there were any Atlas F or Atlas D launches from
Vandenberg during any of the times I said that the incident may have occurred.
(Then were forced to admit their error)
[g] Denied that there were any malfunctions of any missiles launched
during the period of the Image Orthicon/B.U. Telescope operation.
AND- were forced to admit their error when I referenced the official, Air Force preliminary report by Kingston A. George which said, "...One powered-flight anomaly was observed, and the coverage of the flights has produced enough data to show that Big Sur photography could be an important adjunct to other instrumentation."
That, and that alone was the reason for my reference. The Air Force had said that were no anomalies. George's report refuted that by saying that there had been at least one. I never said nor implied that the Kingston George report affirmed that we had photographed a UFO. Klass implies that's exactly what I did, and once again, Klass is wrong.
As for character: Consider why I refused to give Klass my copy of the report. When he wrote in January of 1989 demanding that I hand over to him my private papers, I wasn't sure who he was. When I asked him for references, he gave me the names of two people as follows:
"However, 'to put [your] mind at rest' as to my bonafides as
a loyal American citizen, you have my permission to make inquiry to the following:
(1) Adm. B. R. Inman (USN, Ret.)
3509 Needles Drive
Austin, Tex. 78746
Adm. Inman was deputy director of the CIA during the early years
of the Reagan Administration. Prior to that he was director of the National
Security Agency, and before that he was Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence
(2) Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, Director
2800 Shirlington Road (#405)
Arlington, Va. 22206
Gen. Graham was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,
and before that was deputy director of the CIA.
Both men have worked with me and gotten to know me in my efforts
for Aviation Week."
Put yourself in my position now. I had published an article charging that the CIA, or some other secret agency of the government, had been instrumental in covering up the documenting of a UFO, that I had been ordered to be part of a cover-up in connection with that incident, and had now written about it. Then- along comes some chipmunk demanding that I turn over material to him and referring me to Bobby Inman and Daniel Graham to soothe my anxiety! The last outfit in the world to which I would turn for verification of a source or the legitimacy of a UFO "researcher" would be the CIA!
Then, in a little research of my own, I discovered in a newsletter, entitled, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, VOl. 1- Nr. 1, the premiere issue, an article titled KLASS DISMISSED, Part 1 of 3, which characterized Phillip Julian Klass as a CIA "asset"; one who deliberately spreads disinformation, specifically about UFOs. This interesting newsletter was published by W. Todd Zechel, Paragon Productions, P. O. Box 632, Sauk City, Wisconsin 53583. Zechel was the founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) and a former field agent for the National Security Agency (NSA). Articles about him have appeared in OMNI, TV GUIDE and PARADE magazines..
I contacted my attorney immediately, and he advised me to have nothing to do with Klass or any of his people, since they might be trying to set me up for some sort of violation. In a letter dated April 3, 1989 I told Mr. Klass politely to go away and leave me alone, as follows:
"On advice of counsel and with all due respect, I am declining your offer. I have nothing which belongs to you, I have nothing to which you are entitled by rights and I don't like feeling pressured.
My article in the MUFON JOURNAL says all that I have to say about the incident at Big Sur. The pertinent part of the Kingston George report was quoted only to prove that there was a malfunction during the period of time during which the B.U. telescope was at Big Sur and that the B.U. telescope was certified to have recorded it. This proof was necessary to refute the earlier assertion by the Air Force that there was not even a launch, much less a malfunction recorded by the B.U. telescope. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by this denial since the Air Force also denied earlier that there had ever been a Lieutenant Robert Jacobs!
If you want a copy of the Kingston George report, I suggest that you request it from the Air Force. It is appropriately and accurately labeled in my article and was in wide circulation around Vandenberg Air Force Base at the time of its publication.
Your barbed comments are self-defeating. What I do for a living has nothing whatever to do with you or my freelance writing. I don't need lectures, especially from you, on journalistic ethics. You need to learn some tact if you expect people of good will to cooperate with your research activities."
I had cited my source properly, given him the name of it and its author and its date. That's all that ANY scholar needs to do. Klass wanted me to do his research for him, and I chose not to play his game. And that should have ended it. Unfortunately, it did not.
Mr. Klass went after my job at the University of Maine, trying to discredit me in an attack which might well have had me disciplined academically, if not fired! This fit of pique was prompted directly by my refusal to turn over the Kingston George document. Writing to my chairman, Professor R. Steven Craig in the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, Klass began his tirade with:
"Dear Prof. Craig:
I am writing to bring to your attention what seems to me to be unbecoming conduct on the part of a journalist and member of your faculty. One should expect a faculty member to serve as a role model for students in demonstrating the ethics and responsibilities of their profession. I refer to Dr. Bob Jacobs."
Klass then "introduced" himself as a "graduate electrical engineer turned technical journalist" and explained that his "hobby for more than 22 years has been investigating seemingly mysterious, inexplicable UFO incidents and applying my technical training and journalistic skills to find prosaic/earthly explanations."
He says that he became interested in my "claim" of having photographed a UFO, referencing both of my articles on the subject, including the piece about the Kingston George report. He tells Craig about offering to pay me for a copy of that report, comments on some of my response to his request, concluding with my refusal to send him the document. Then he goes for my throat:
"I understand why Jacobs is reluctant to release this report.
Based on my research, I'm confident the report would reveal that his "UFO
tale" is a cock-and-bull story.
If Jacobs were a young journalist working for the National Enquirer,
or one of its even less scrupulous clones, I might be more tolerant of his
behavior. But when a professor of journalism, who publicly accuses the USAF
and U.S. Government of 'cover-up,' resorts to intentional distortion of the
facts to mislead his readers and then to cover-up, I am deeply distressed.
I hope that you share my feelings.
(original signed by)
Phillip J. Klass"
I find it nothing short of astonishing and morally reprehensible for a man's "hobby" (Klass' OWN description of his interest in ufology) to result in an attempt to have another man, in this case me, discredited and fired from his profession and his livelihood! What kind of a perverted mind would try to destroy a man's career simply because that man would not jump when it said boo?? I find it so astonishing that I cannot believe that Klass is in this thing as a "hobby." This letter of his about me is clearly and patently slanderous. Nowhere in my article do I "distort the facts" or "mislead [my] readers and then to cover-up" as this venomous, misleading and distorted epistle of his asserts. This is either a shameless lie and a desperate, deliberate ploy to discredit me, or the ravings of a man with a severe problem in perceiving and dealing with reality. No one should have to endure this sort of blatant abuse.
My freelance writing and publishing activities, just like my career in the Air Force and the events of that day in 1964, have absolutely nothing to do with my present career as a dedicated, well-respected, and legitimate university professor. What right has Phillip Julian Klass to contact my boss over a matter like this? This bizarre behavior lends credence in my mind to Zechel's report about Klass, justifying fully my reticence to have anything to do with him. If it weren't so serious in its potential consequences, this episode might have been funny. It was not. It is not.
Such behavior is dangerous and despicable. Universities are highly vulnerable institutions where any report or insinuation of misconduct on the part of a faculty member must result in the institution taking that report seriously and undertaking an investigation of the accused. Unlike in the world at large in this country, in Universities we are presumed guilty until proven innocent in these Politically Correct times. Klass caused me considerable embarrassment and grief before I cleared my record of these charges, as I'm confident he intended. I ignored him then, feeling it best to let sleeping dogs lie. I cannot do so now.
In the final blow, in his "Skeptics.." report, Klass comes to his intended coup de grace. It turns out, Klass reveals, that Kingston A. George himself has written an article in the Winter, 1993 issue of Skeptical Enquirer, published by CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal). Klass is, of course, a member of this organization. So are James Oberg and The Amazing Randi (professional magician and debunker, James Randi). It is reasonable to conclude that Klass played some considerable part in getting Kingston George to write his article. Klass reports as follows about the George article:
"On Sept. 22, 1964,* an Atlas ICBM was launched shortly before
dawn and the small rockets intended to release its "warhead" and two decoys
seemed to function properly. (Contrary to Jacobs "claims, the warhead did
not tumble into the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles short of its target.')
But the motion pictures obtained with the new image orthicon were analyzed
and they revealed that when the decoys were released they were accompanied
by a small cloud of debris. Unless this was corrected, George wrote,
'the soviets could defeat our ICBM decoys by using a few telescopes
on mountain peaks in the USSR'. ...
As a result of this important discovery, George reports in
his article, "Everyone who was at the telescope site or had seen the film
had to be identified. All, including Jacobs and myself, had to be questioned
on what they had seen and what they thought it meant. Each was cautioned not
to mention what was on the film to anyone and not to discuss it with others--
even fellow workers who had originally seen it at the same time! None of us
had more than a guess at the meaning, and the civilian intelligence experts
who did the "debriefing" gave no hints. Weeks later, my clearance level was
increased to allow me to see the films again and analyze them. I don't think
Bob Jacobs ever gained the required clearance."
* emphasis on date added by Jacobs
I have every reason to believe that Kingston George is an honorable and honest man. Therefore, I believe him when he reports seeing the film taken from a flight on September 22, 1964 and that he later analyzed that film with the results he feels free to discuss here. Whether or not there is much credence to a concern that the soviets might have been able to defeat "our ICBM decoys by using a few telescopes on mountain peaks in the USSR", I leave up to the reader to decide. For my part, the vision of a forest of telescopes trained on the skies 24 hours a day looking for a "small cloud of debris" is "mind-boggling", indeed.
As anyone who has followed this incident knows, I have had trouble fixing the exact date of the launch. This is not deliberate on my part, but simply a matter of inexact records. The launch in question may have happened on September 22nd. It may be the same one Kingston George describes. But there are discrepancies in his memory and mine. First, the launch we photographed was NOT predawn. It was broad daylight. The radar chaff, a “cloud of debris”, was part of the package. The object which flew into the frame was a solid craft, saucer shaped, and not a “cloud of debris.” George may be talking about another incident entirely since, according to my records, the most probable dates were either September 2, 3 or 15, 1964. If the date was September 22nd, then he is not discussing the same portion of the flight which I am.
In a letter to T. Scott Crain, Jr. dated May 6, 1987, as reported in Crain's MUFON Journal article referenced above, Mansmann comments on statements by an Air Force spokesman to OMNI Magazine writer, Eric Mishara. The spokesman is quoted as saying, "We have no documentation of a UFO incident...The dummy warhead hit the target." Mansmann responded:
"If the Air Force spokesman did review a close-dated launch and saw nothing, it could not have been the launch that perpetrated such quick security action."
Klass claims that "the security classification of the movies taken by Jacobs was quickly upgraded from 'Secret' to 'Top Secret' " and so, as George puts it, "I don't think Bob Jacobs ever gained the required clearance." Security clearances in the military are granted on a per project and a "need-to-know" basis. I had a "Top Secret" clearance a number of times. The fact is that I DID see the film I discussed, so I must have been cleared for it. Mansmann says I saw it! But, this is not the real issue. The film which I'm discussing had NO SECURITY CLEARANCE. You may recall that we were told, "It never happened." If it never happened in fact, then it cannot have been classified.
In an article called UFO FILMED CIRCLING ATLAS ROCKET by T. Scott Crain, Jr. in the September 1988 issue of The MUFON Journal, pg. 10, Mansmann confirmed the number of times he viewed the film, and with whom else he did so, to wit:
"...once in my quality control review and editing for the General with only one of his staff; once in review with the Chief Scientist and his assistant; once for the Commanding General with only one of his staff; and a fourth time with the Chief Scientist, his assistant, the three government men and Bob Jacobs."
I must point out that NOT ONE of these people was Kingston A. George. I think it highly possible that Kingston George never viewed this film since he was not on site the day it was photographed. If he did "analyze" this film, it was not with the limited group which Mansmann references and George is still not talking about the UFO footage which I saw, but obfuscating the issue with this story of another, relatively mundane incident. The film images which I saw and those reported by Kingston George via Phil Klass, are NOT the same things! Speaking about his final turnover of the film in question to the agents that day, Dr. Mansmann told T. Scott Crain, Jr., "They did not sign out for all the footage but took out that part that showed the encounter * and returned the rest of the film to me as a 'complete' package."
* emphasis added by Jacobs
It was no "small cloud of debris" which performed so amazingly on the film which I viewed. It is not a secret that the package deployed from the nosecone, by the way, contained aluminum "chaff" which formed a "small cloud of debris" in-tended to fool the enemy radar. This "cloud" was part of the decoy system. It was plainly visible on the screen, as was the UFO which flew into the frame and fired beams of light at the warhead. This "cloud" of chaff, needless to say, also would have been visible plainly to 'a few telescopes on mountain peaks in the USSR.' .
I wrote once that I had nothing more to say about this curious incident at Big Sur. Had Phillip Julian Klass let the matter lay, I would have been true to my word. But I concur firmly with the old saw that says, "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." The infuriating arrogance of Klass in his vitriolic attacks on the character of good men must not be tolerated. It is the epitome of evil in a free society where the open exchange of ideas and information is paramount to the survival of that freedom. Klass is certainly within his rights to investigate, to do his own "research," and to publish his own views on any topic of his choice. Florenz Mansmann and I were in the Air Force, along with millions of other veterans over the decades, to defend those rights of his. I expect him to observe the same rights in others, however, and not to resort to slander and libel and the manu-facture of "tall tales" of his own to assassinate the character of those with whom he disagrees. We have clear laws against such conduct, and I shall be only too happy to invoke them if Mr. Klass persists in defaming me personally.
This concludes what I have to say about the incident at Big Sur. I have told my story and given the documentation for it. Mr. Klass and Mr. George believe that there is another explanation for what I saw than that which I report. Others have offered their opinions, too over the years since I came forth from the the dark of covering it up. Someone I believe to be James Oberg, another professional "debunker," sent me a copy of an article "proving" to his satisfaction that the UFO was the planet Venus. Before that he sent me a copy of another document which he had found, contending that it was the moon. While in the Air Force I photographed both Venus and the moon in missile shots a number of times. Both Florenz Mansmann and I are extremely familiar with what those pictures look like. The image on film about which I report here was neither of these celestial bodies! When I first submitted the article to OMNI magazine back in 1982, the editor wrote back to inform me with his rejection notice that they were not interested in "points of light" and that the Air Force told them that what I reported was actually "internal lens reflections in the telescope". Where they got the information for that one is beyond me! Maybe OMNI reporter, Eric Mishara or Harry Lebelson, formerly of OMNI; can speak to this anomaly. I can't.
And finally, if the film, as Kingston George implies is now unclassified, then why in the world has it not been released to the numbers of solid researchers like Lee Graham, and T. Scott Crain, Jr. and Eric Mishara and OMNI magazine and others who have filed FOIA actions to see it? Every one of these enquiries has been greeted with the same response by the U.S. Air Force; the film does not exist. If it does and if it is released, there are two people who can verify whether or not it is the one which they saw that September day in 1964 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Phil Klass and Jim Oberg are not included in this exclusive list, I'm afraid. The witnesses are Dr. Florenz J. Mansmann and Dr. Robert M. Jacobs. And I'm certain that I speak for both of us when I say that we would welcome that opportunity to put this thing to rest once and for all. Until then the evidence rests.
Mr. Klass can believe whatever pleases him. What he may not do is to accuse me of having "manufactured a tall tale" or of "covering it up." Such charges are utterly and absolutely false and the kind of conduct that brought them forth is unacceptable both in scholarly research and common, polite discourse. He is, in short, a liar.