Panel Discussion on What Really Happened in Roswell, New Mexico

     Aired July 4, 1997 - 7:30 p.m. ET
     KEVIN RANDLE, UFO RESEARCHER: There were five alien bodies. They
     were, have been described as being about four and a half to five and
     a half feet tall. The skin was very ashen colored. The heads was
     slightly larger than a head on a human body.
     GERALDINE FERRARO, CROSSFIRE (voice-over): Tonight, what really
     happened in the New Mexico desert 50 years ago.
     ANNOUNCER: From Washington, CROSSFIRE. On the left, Geraldine
     Ferraro. On the right, John Sununu. In the crossfire, in Roswell,
     New Mexico, UFO researcher Kevin Randle, author of "Conspiracy of
     Silence". And in San Francisco, Roswell skeptic Kent Jeffrey.
     JOHN SUNUNU, CROSSFIRE: Good evening. Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
     (voice-over) Was it a bird, a plane or an alien space craft? The
     U.S. Air Force now says it was none of the above but that has not
     stopped hundreds from gathering in a New Mexico desert this week to
     mark the 50th anniversary of what's known as the Roswell incident.
     In 1947 they believe a UFO crashed, injuring its alien pilots, who
     were then captured by the federal government. Government cover-up
     theories started after the alleged crash when the air force first
     issued a press release saying it had recovered a flying disk.
     Further examination determined it had actually been a balloon. But
     that change simply fueled the controversy that's been kept alive
     ever since. Hoping to put the theories to rest, 50 years later now
     the Air Force just released its own investigation explaining that
     the witnesses had simply seen military tests and no aliens were
     involved. But from what it looks like in Roswell this week, the
     believers just don't believe the official word.
     (on camera) That's our CROSSFIRE tonight, what really did happen in
     Roswell 50 years ago. Gerri?
     FERRARO: Kevin, this week 100,000 faithful will be at Roswell to
     celebrate the 50th anniversary of that sighting. In addition to
     that, there are three museums that are going to be charging
     admission. People will be hawking souvenirs. You've got six
     competing sights that will be seeing -- having bus tours taken to
     them at a fee. People like you will be writing books on this whole
     thing. Isn't the only conspiracy here the conspiracy to, you know,
     flush out and get to the gullible on this whole thing?
     RANDLE: Absolutely not. I think what we're looking at is Roswell
     exploiting a historical event that happened in this town, much in
     the same way that Gettysburg exploits the battle that took place
     there during the civil war and Plymouth exploits the Plymouth Rock.
     What we have here is a very real event that has caught the public
     imagination and there's nothing wrong with the town of Roswell
     turning it into a tourist attraction. But that should not detract
     from the scientific and from the investigative evidence that
     suggests an alien space craft crashed in 1947.
     FERRARO: Well, Kevin, you know, it's interesting that you compare
     them to Gettysburg. I mean there we have actual historical proof
     that those things took place. In the instance in Roswell for
     instance, you have some people who said they found parts of a
     machine in 1947 and nobody mentioned in 1972 that there is a
     possibility that aliens had landed. That's not exactly someone would
     forget if indeed that happened. Where is your credible evidence in
     this instance?
     RANDLE: Well, first of all, it's not true that they waited till
     1972. There were some people involved in the case that we're talking
     about, the alien presence, long before that. But I think what we
     have to take a look at is the eyewitness testimony of very credible
     individuals who were there and when the provost marshal of the 519th
     bomb group told me personally that the craft was extraterrestrial in
     origin. Patrick Sanders (ph), who was the...
     FERRARO: How did he know that? How did he know that?
     RANDLE: He was there when he saw it. He saw the craft. He saw the
     bodies. He was responsible for the security on the site. He was able
     to observe all these things.
     KENT JEFFREY, ROSWELL SKEPTIC: Do you have that on tape, Kevin?
     RANDLE: Kent, you know that I don't have that particular comment on
     tape. But I do have on tape the comments he made about being sworn
     to secrecy. I have comments on tape about other aspects of this and
     you know as well that the family members have corroborated that he
     talked about the reality of that situation.
     JEFFREY: Well, I still...
     SUNUNU: Kent, let me give you a chance to get in here with a couple
     of questions. First of all, I don't believe in UFOs. I never found
     any evidence of a cover-up when I was chief of staff. But let me be
     devil's advocate tonight. If it was just a weather balloon, what is
     so secret about a weather balloon that the air force had to wait 50
     years in order to write its report?
     JEFFREY: Well, I think it was more of a case of poor public
     relations. The air force should have spoken up about this in 1980.
     We should have had the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, or
     better yet the commander in chief, the president of the United
     States, speak up and say, ladies and gentlemen, I have checked into
     this. I give you my word unequivocally that the U.S. government is
     not harboring a crashed space ship. That is what they should have
     SUNUNU: But Kent, didn't the president say almost those exact words
     in Belfast a little while ago? JEFFREY: Yes, he did, in a very
     roundabout way, to a school child. But unfortunately that is not
     quite the same as going on record historically and making an
     unequivocal statement or promise to the American people. A recent
     Gallup poll showed that 71 percent of the populace believes that the
     government knows more than it's telling. I think it's time for the
     government to face up to that fact and be more forthright with the
     people, more candid and open.
     SUNUNU: OK, Kent, one time, as I understand it, you felt there was
     something to the story of Roswell. You had a transition. Would you,
     in the interest of trying to explain what made you believe and then
     what made you not believe, in a short statement tell us how you went
     from one position to the other?
     JEFFREY: OK. Well, initially it seemed that there was some very
     impressive military testimony to the effect that indeed there was a
     crashed disk. Plus we had the newspaper headline from the 1947
     papers. So we did have something substantial there. I even felt
     strong enough that this was a possibility that I started a grass
     roots effort to try to get the matter declassified. However, within
     the last year evidence has surfaced that in my opinion it makes it
     clear to anyone who would look at these facts objectively beyond not
     just a reasonable doubt but beyond all doubt that this material was
     not of an extraterrestrial origin. We have military documents from
     1948 that state concisely and unequivocally that there was no
     physical evidence. These are top secret communiques between the
     chief of intelligence at Wright Patterson Air Force Base where this
     craft would have been taken. Colonel Howard McCoy (ph) and a General
     C.P. Cabbo (ph) at the Pentagon, who was the chief of intelligence
     for the entire air force. General Cabbo uses material in a
     memorandum for James Forestall, (ph) the secretary of defense. Now,
     if we had a crashed disk and these people didn't know about it, I
     don't know who on earth would.
     SUNUNU: OK, Gerri?
     FERRARO: Let me, Kevin, let me get back to you. Irving Newton (ph)
     was the weather officer at that time at Fort Worth and he had been
     ordered to go out and inspect the debris. He went out, he identified
     it as a weather balloon. He is still living in San Antonio. Have you
     reached out and spoken to him about your alien theory?
     RANDLE: I've spoken to him a number of times...
     FERRARO: And what has his response been?
     RANDLE: -- and the problem with Irving Newton's testimony is he saw
     a raywin target and a weather balloon in General Ramey's office. He
     did not see the material that Jesse Marcel collected on the debris
     field outside of Roswell. Jessie Marcel, the air intelligence
     officer of the 509th bomb group, was very clear about that. He said
     that the material in General Ramey's office was not the material he
     recovered. And General Thomas DuBose (ph) who was the chief of staff
     of eighth air force in 1947, said that he had been ordered to use
     the balloon explanation as a cover story and he was ordered not to
     talk about it to anybody else. Those orders went down the chain of
     command. FERRARO: Kevin, if indeed there was a cover-up and if
     indeed there were extraterrestrials, you know, how could this
     cover-up have been continued for 50 years? I mean nobody in
     government keeps secrets and certainly they don't keep them this
     RANDLE: Well, first of all, I disagree that they can't keep secrets
     in government. I think they can keep secrets when they really want
     to do so. But this is a self-keeping secret.
     FERRARO: Why would they keep this secret? Give me the reason they
     would do it.
     RANDLE: Well, I think in 1947 it makes perfect sense. We'd just come
     out of a disastrous war. We didn't know what we were dealing with.
     If we could exploit the find we leap ahead of our competitors in the
     world. We also learn the value of air superiority during the Second
     World War. Suddenly the air force does not control the skies. It's
     controlled by somebody else.
     FERRARO: Well, why would they keep that secret today?
     RANDLE: Because it continues today. We can't control the skies. They
     have not gotten the answers and they don't want to admit that they
     have no answers. We can take a look at documentation. I can prove
     beyond a shadow of a doubt there is, was a cover-up. The
     documentation exists to prove this over and over again. In the UFO
     community we used to have to say well, we believe there was a secret
     investigation. We believe that there's a cover-up.
     FERRARO: Do you support a Congressional investigation of this? Do
     you think the taxpayers should pay for that to be done?
     RANDLE: Absolutely.
     FERRARO: How much do you think we should spend on this, Kevin?
     RANDLE: I think we should spend as much as we need to get the final
     answers because it would revitalize our space program, it would
     bring an awful lot of interest in what's going on in science. The
     benefits would be unimaginable if we could get to the bottom of this
     whole thing.
     SUNUNU: Kent Jeffrey, let me ask you, the folks that believe in
     Roswell don't have to come up with every witness that is accurate,
     all they need is one of their witnesses to be right. Isn't there the
     possibility that one of their witnesses is right?
     JEFFREY: Well, there's a possibility that even more than one witness
     might be correct in what that witness is stating. So much of the
     information or the testimony is secondhand and secondhand
     information is not admissible in court and there's a very good
     reason for that, because the person who is providing the secondhand
     information has no positive assurance that they were told the truth
     in the first place. Plus, you have the factors of miscommunication,
     misunderstanding, memory of things that took place decades ago.
     Memories of things seen can very easily be blended with memories of
     things read or that were heard about and I think a lot of that is
     what has occurred here in the Roswell situation.
     SUNUNU: Kent, now you know, there are reports of other incidents
     besides Roswell. Is there nothing in any of the other reports of the
     incidents that can convince you that there is the possibility of
     UFOs really being out there?
     JEFFREY: I think there's a possibility. I don't think we have
     definitive proof. Yet I like to compare it to the Sedi Program where
     they've had a few very encouraging signals but nothing that repeats
     itself and satisfies the scientific criterion of actually confirming
     it. With the case of UFOs, I've flown as an airline pilot for 26
     years. I've never seen one but I have talked to some other pilots
     who have, usually during their military experiences. In some cases
     these sightings have been confirmed by ground radar. You cannot
     easily explain away something like that as Venus or swamp gas or
     some kind of an illusion. So I think that there is a very small
     corps of sightings that are not easily otherwise explainable in
     conventional terms by credible people that deserve scientific study.
     Unfortunately, the entire subject has a stigma because it's a
     favorite topic of the tabloids and we have all the nut cases and the
     hoaxes and so on and consequently the baby is thrown out with the
     bath water.
     FERRARO: We're going to stop for just a minute and when we come back
     we'll talk a little bit more about the possibility of aliens having
     been here and if they were here, why didn't more join them.
     FERRARO: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Fifty years ago this week, some
     believe an alien space craft landed in a New Mexico desert. The U.S.
     government says it was all a misunderstanding and the alleged crash
     was just a military test. We're debating what really happened.
     Joining us from Roswell, New Mexico, where thousands are gathering
     this week, is Kevin Randle, author of "The Truth About the UFO Crash
     At Roswell" and "Conspiracy of Silence," and in San Francisco, Kent
     Jeffrey. He's researched the Roswell incident and doesn't believe
     there's any evidence of an alien landing. John?
     SUNUNU: Kevin Randle, let me ask you a question. As I read all the
     references to what happened at Roswell, a lot of them are
     contradictory even amongst the believers. You're considered an
     expert on Roswell. How many aliens, how tall were they and where are
     they now?
     RANDLE: The best evidence that we have is based on the eyewitness
     testimony. I stress that again. Kent mentioned secondhand testimony,
     I spoke to the witnesses. There were five alien bodies, four and a
     half to five and a half feet tall, ashen gray, not wooden dummies,
     as the air force says, very slender individuals, the head slightly
     larger than heads on a human body, the eyes slightly larger than
     human eyes. Humanoid looking beings but alien creatures nonetheless.
     SUNUNU: Where are they?
     RANDLE: Best evidence we have is that the craft and bodies were
     taken to Wright field, Wright Patterson Air Force Base and I don't
     have any persuasive evidence that it's ever been moved. It may well
     have been.
     SUNUNU: So you think the materials are probably still under
     government control?
     RANDLE: There's no doubt in my mind they're still under government
     control. As I say, I've looked at the documentation. I've looked at
     the information available and we can prove beyond a shadow of a
     doubt that a cover-up has been in place for years.
     SUNUNU: So if the president asks and gets a negative answer, will
     you be satisfied?
     RANDLE: If the president was asked and had the conclusive proof that
     there was nothing to it, yeah I'd be satisfied. The answer he gave
     in Ireland, for example, was if it was real, the air force didn't
     tell me. Well, they may not, he may not have known because he didn't
     ask the proper questions.
     JEFFREY: If I can jump in here a second, I have to say I agree
     absolutely with Kevin that Wright Patterson Air Force Base is where
     this material would have been taken and where it would have been
     kept in storage. I mean, we have the foreign technology division
     there. It has a different name now but again, it was called foreign
     technology for a reason. Any craft with the potential for invading
     our skies would be taken to Wright Patterson Air Force Base for
     study and possible re-engineering. The Roswell story, that's an
     inherent part of the Roswell story, Hangar 18 the blue room, that's
     where this wreckage is supposedly kept. Now, I mentioned a moment
     ago what we need is an unequivocal statement from the president or
     the chairman of the joints chiefs. I have something with me, a paper
     that I consider almost as good. It's from three retired military
     officers, all of whom held high ranking positions at Wright
     Patterson Air Force Base. Their collective tenure there was 17
     years, from 1957 to 1974. Their names are Walter Klinikowski (ph),
     Walter Vetunic (ph) and George Weinbrenner (ph). As a matter of
     fact, George Weinbrenner was the -- he was the commander of the
     foreign technology division. So there's no way in the world you
     could say this man wouldn't know. My research took me in contact
     with these three gentlemen and in the interests to get the truth out
     to the American people, they have agreed to sign a joint statement
     putting their honor and their reputations on the line historically
     stating unequivocally that during their tenure at Wright Patterson
     Air Force Base there was no and is no crash, UFO, no secret hangar
     harboring it and here is the statement, all three signatures.
     FERRARO: Thank you very much, Kent.
     JEFFREY: Three honorable men on the record.
     FERRARO: Kevin, forgetting the scientific community that doesn't
     support your theory, let me just ask you, if indeed there were
     aliens that arrived in Roswell 50 years ago, where did they come
     from and why haven't any come since?
     RANDLE: I don't know why they haven't, where they come from. I don't
     know where they came from. That's a question we can't answer. We
     have lots of sighting reports, I think very credible reports. There
     was a series of sightings in Washington, D.C. in 1952 in which the
     objects were intercepted by fighters. They were seen on radar. They
     were seen by commercial pilots. So we've got some very credible
     sightings showing that they have been back since 1947.
     FERRARO: Kevin, they didn't come out of thin air. They had to have
     come from some place and if indeed you can't answer where they've
     come from then how can you really believe that they existed?
     RANDLE: I've seen the evidence they existed. I see the cover-up
     that's in place. Just because I can't point to a planetary system
     where they originated doesn't mean that they do not exist.
     SUNUNU: Kent Jeffrey, last question. We only have a few seconds. If
     you had to tell the U.S. government the one thing that they should
     do in order to get some credibility on this, what is it?
     JEFFREY: I think what we need is some kind of like anomalous
     technology disclosure act, an act or a law that would assure the
     American people that the U.S. government would never and has never
     held any information back from the people regarding real UFOs or
     extraterrestrial intelligence or knowledge of it.
     SUNUNU: OK. Kent Jeffrey, thank you very much for joining us. Kevin
     Randle, we appreciate you coming on the show. Gerri and I will be
     back in a moment with our closing comments.
     SUNUNU: Gerri, the cold war is over. There's no reason to keep
     anything classified. In order to even let the most diehard Roswell
     supporters understand that this is not real, the federal government
     ought to open up all the files, Hangar 18, let them see everything
     and I think once and for all deal with this issue.
     FERRARO: Yeah, I think you're right. But I think that even if the
     government were to do that they're are going to be people out there
     who are going to say those were aliens they're still hiding from us.
     I don't think you can ever convince them that they didn't exist,
     they don't exist.
     SUNUNU: Even if they happen to see them on television on CROSSFIRE?
     FERRARO: I think you may be right. From the left, I'm Geraldine
     Ferraro. Good night for CROSSFIRE.
     SUNUNU: And from the right, I'm John Sununu. Join us again next
     Monday for another edition of CROSSFIRE.