April 11, 2011

FBI UFO Memo: Proof of Lazy Journalism

FBI UFO MemoA so-called “new” UFO FBI memo has recently started doing the rounds, both in UFOlogical circles and even in the mainstream media.

Sensational tabloid headlines such as “FBI: Aliens DID land on earth” and “Aliens Exist say real life X-Files” from the notorious Sun newspaper, along with “The memo that ‘proves aliens landed at Roswell’… released online by the FBI” from The Daily Mail have added to the plethora of websites proclaiming the truth has finally been revealed.

As is to be expected, those headlines and proclamations couldn’t be more wrong if they tried. The only truth revealed so far is that of one we’re used to in this field of research;

The truth doesn’t matter!

The FBI UFO memo in question, from  March 1950 and written by Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Guy Hottel to the FBI Director at the time, J. Edgar Hoover, is available to view and download from the FBI website. The text contained therein is reproduced below:

The following information was furnished to SA [censored] by [censored]

An investigator for the Air Forces stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.

According to Mr. [censored] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers.

No further evaluation was attempted by SA [censored] concerning the above.

This author has to wonder if journalists of the tabloid variety have lost their basic reading capacity, surely one of the requisite skills needed for such a profession? The first line of the memo states in clear terms that the information was given to the Air Force investigator by someone else. “The following information was furnished to SA [censored] by [censored]”. Further down the memo, we see the person who told the Air Force investigator was also not a first-hand witness, having received the information from yet another source! “According to Mr. [censored] informant”.

Far from being proof of anything, the memo is nothing more sensational than Guy Hottel reporting information as told to him several times removed from the original source.  The last line of the memo serves to ram home the insignificance of the information, when it states the AF investigator attempted no further evaluation. He clearly hadn’t been born the day before.

You will also note that despite headlines to the contrary, there is no mention of Roswell contained in the memo whatsoever. The incident the information refers to IS in New Mexico, but at Aztec, not Roswell.

The Reality Uncovered article Play it again, Scam from February 2009 deals specifically with the Aztec hoax, but in a nutshell the story refers to an elaborate con game perpetrated by Silas Newton and Leo GeBauer. Some people have also touted this memo to be new information, but once again this is flat wrong.

The same day the Aztec article named above was published, in February of 2009, Reality Uncovered administrator “Access Denied” refers to this exact same FBI memo in a post on the forum. Not only does his post prove the memo is far from new, it also shows how the information contained therein had already been debunked years earlier! (Emphasis added)

One particular aspect of the Aztec hoax I find interesting is this…

[from Dave Thomas’ page]


On May 31st and June 1st, 1998, on the nationally-syndicated radio programs Dreamland and The Art Bell Show, noted UFO researcher Linda Moulton Howe described a secret FBI memo from March 22nd, 1950, written to J. Edgar Hoover himself. Memo author Guy Hottel, of SAC, described an investigator’s report of a flying saucer recovery in New Mexico, with mention of three saucers, three-foot tall bodies, metallic cloth, and bandaged alien bodies. The crash was supposedly due to interference from high-powered radar. But all of these elements (saucers, aliens, cloth and tape, radar site) have been firmly traced to the yarns spun by our two swindlers! William Moore even traced how the story got from Silas Newton to J. Edgar Hoover: Newton told George Koehler (employed at radio station KMYR in Denver), who told Morley Davies, who told Ford dealers Murphy and van Horn, who told auto dealer Fick, who told the editor of the Kansas City Wyandotte Echo. By that time, Koehler had become “Coulter,” just like a game of “gossip” (or a game of “pi”)! This article was picked up in the news, where it caught the interest of the OSI. The OSI agent passed the story on to Guy Hottel of the FBI, and he gave the 8th-hand story to Hoover.

So, if you see any stories proclaiming proof that the aliens are here because the FBI said so, send them to Reality Uncovered for a history lesson!

Discuss this and more in the Reality Uncovered Forums or leave a comment below.

Filed under: Disinfo,ET,Exopolitics,The Core Story,UFOlogy,Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 2:33 pm


  1. avatar

    […] FBI UFO Memo: Proof of Lazy Journalism « Reality Uncovered […]

    Pingback by UFO, ROSWELL, AND ALIENS >> Ufo Information, Ufo Video | News12.US - US News and Trends — April 11, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  2. avatar

    Good stuff lately, ZT. Thanks.

    Comment by jjflash — April 11, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  3. avatar

    Thanks Steve for the history lesson!

    50 years from now this document will be re-“discovered” and the same claims of “OMG disclosure” will be heard.

    I’d like to see a direct link between the Hottel memo and the Silas/Gebauer scam. Not that I’m not convinced, but it would be nice to know how William Moore traced the story to its origins. Where was his investigation published? Frank Warren wrote that the redacted name of the informant is Koehler, which would definitely put the whole matter to rest, but I don’t know where he found the information.

    BTW please correct the bad link to http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2009/02/play-it-again-scam/

    Comment by nablator — April 11, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  4. avatar

    Bruce Maccabee writes:

    On Apr 10, 2011, at 12:40 PM, brumac@………..

    “This document has been available since I got it from the FBI in 1977.
    It was contained in a package of government documents made available
    by the Fund for UFO Research way back in the ’80’s.
    I wrote about it in my book, The UFO-FBI Connection published in 2000.
    Apparently this was a result of a story told by Silas Newton during a lecture
    at the University of Denver on March 8, 1950. Newton was making this up
    in order to con some oil investors (claiming he had secret technology
    developed from an “alien” source or something like that). Apparently
    some listener told someone else and so on until the FBI
    heard about it from “an air force investigator” }(name unknown).
    The story told by Newton was picked up by Scully and published
    some time later.

    The only reason that I can fathom for all the interest now is that
    most people are not aware of the history of the subject combined
    with the FBI decision to highliglht some of their documents.”


    Comment by Caryn — April 11, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  5. avatar

    Another awesome writeup Steve!

    Comment by RyanDube — April 11, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  6. avatar

    I remember Pete Gersten quoting that memo almost word for word in Tuscon more than ten years ago.

    Comment by Kim Walker — April 11, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

  7. avatar

    Thanks for the encouragement and additional information guys, much appreciated!

    It never ceases to amaze me how often the same old stories are regurgitated and presented as new and important. The tabloids are the worst culprits, have they no shame?

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 11, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  8. avatar

    Oh, and thanks Nab for pointing out the bad link. That has now been corrected :)

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 11, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  9. avatar

    I suspect this has less to do with sloppy (i.e. lazy) journalism and more to do with the need for headline sensationalism and capturing market share.

    That said, this is an interesting (and important!) document: it proves that well-placed individuals, like the FBI Director, were on the receiving end of some pretty wild information. One might also question the need for stories of this kind to land on the desk of the director. And how many of these tales might have been shared with other agencies (Richard Helms at CIA comes to mind).

    Does anyone here know if ‘three’ aliens/spacecraft fit the original version of the alleged hoax? The alleged ‘three visitations/visitors’ is a key aspect of the EBE core tale passed to Dan Smith et al by the usual suspects.

    Comment by Gary Bekkum — April 12, 2011 @ 3:17 am

  10. avatar

    Frank Scully’s Behind the Flying Saucer’s has extensive information regarding the lecture at the University of Denver. The “mysterious scientist” (Silas Newton) claimed that four saucers had visited earth and three of the four had crashed.

    I’ve got a digital copy of the book if anyone wants to read it.

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 12, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  11. avatar

    […] […]

    Pingback by Alien contact - April 11 - Page 18 - Grasscity.com Forums — April 12, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  12. avatar

    Regarding the FBI Director being on the receiving end of some pretty wild information, it is well known he had a great interest in UFOs. His SAC’s would certainly be aware of this also and were probably after some extra credits – and laughs.

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 12, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  13. avatar

    […] Excellent article and some excellent comments. The Reality Uncovered website has also covered this story in a recent update. Focusing on where the memo originated and the role of tabloid newspapers in hyping non-events like these, the article can be found at the following link: http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2011/04/fbi-ufo-memo-proof-of-lazy-journalism/ […]

    Pingback by Comment on Guy Hottel FBI UFO Memo: Roswell ‘Proof’? Not Exactly by Stephen Broadbent | Johnsblog - I Know I'm Right... — April 12, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  14. avatar

    ‘Behind the Flying Saucers’ is on line here:


    It seems there is a discrepancy between the book and the FBI document?

    “The over-all dimensions of the ship were found to be a fraction short of 100 feet in diameter. To be exact it measured 99 99/100 feet wide. From the outer tip of the wing, which was entirely circular, to the bottom of the saucer, measuring in an imaginary line vertically, was 27 inches. The cabin which was entirely round, was 18 feet across, and 72 inches in height. Exactly 45 inches of the cabin was exposed above the outer rim of the saucer. The portholes were located in this area.”

    “There we were able to count sixteen bodies, that ranged in height from about 36 to 42 inches.”

    The FBI account is:

    “… investigator for the Air Forces stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. ”

    Also, note that the author of the FBI memo says the AF investigator “stated” rather than recounted, etc. which is either sloppy or curious, depending on your opinion of the memo.

    Since I haven’t spent more than a few minutes looking at this, is there something else I am missing?

    Comment by Gary Bekkum — April 13, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  15. avatar

    I would think you are missing rather a lot.
    The specifics of the actual saucer measurements etc. as told to the Air Force investigator are neither here nor there Gary. Maybe you missed this part from the above article:
    “Newton told George Koehler (employed at radio station KMYR in Denver), who told Morley Davies, who told Ford dealers Murphy and van Horn, who told auto dealer Fick, who told the editor of the Kansas City Wyandotte Echo. By that time, Koehler had become “Coulter,” just like a game of “gossip” (or a game of “pi”)! This article was picked up in the news, where it caught the interest of the OSI. The OSI agent passed the story on to Guy Hottel of the FBI, and he gave the 8th-hand story to Hoover.”

    Have you ever played, gossip, pi or chinese whispers?

    As for stated rather than recounted, I would say both are perfectly acceptable!

    Few minutes or few hours Gary? Going by your initial tweet on the matter (a few days ago), I would tend to think it is the latter 😉

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 13, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  16. avatar

    Stephen, it does seem that your version of the gossip-train is nothing more than hearsay? In other words, worth about as much as the original FBI memo? If I am wrong, please explain, thank you!

    Btw the new ‘PsycheLeaks’ project will be releasing Lee Graham’s AVIARY UFO X-FILES for those UFOlogists interested in on-going research. The stack of information we received from Lee is about a foot thick and has been sitting in the in box since last summer. I imagine some of the information will be of interest to Reality Uncovered investigators.

    Comment by Gary Bekkum — April 13, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

  17. avatar

    P.S. The ‘three’ visitors is at the core of the USAF (OSI?) version of the core story, per Kit Green (see Pilkington’s book “Mirage Men” for the details).

    Comment by Gary Bekkum — April 13, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  18. avatar

    I have posted the text and graphics of Moore’s 1985 fisking of the Hottel memo, plus some older mentions in newspapers, here:

    Cheers, Dave Thomas

    Comment by Dave Thomas — April 14, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  19. avatar

    Thanks for putting all that together Dave and kudos to Chris for digging up the Moore piece and Robert for the news clippings. Definitely a must read for anyone interested in the genesis of this myth… err hoax.



    Comment by Access Denied — April 14, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  20. avatar

    Ah, you mean the same Bill Moore who allegedly identified himself with AFOSI disinformation services to Lee Graham, among others? 😉

    Btw I have started posting some of Graham’s hand-written notes for anyone interested.

    Comment by Gary Bekkum — April 14, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  21. avatar

    Two of the press reports I saw even said the infamous memo was secret. Totally false.
    Memo is 60 years old and has been in the public domain for 34 years. Big deal.

    Comment by CDA — April 15, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  22. avatar

    Thank you! I was tearing my hair out about this very issue, and I’m glad to see that SOMEONE who isn’t a debunker had the intellectual honesty to admit the plain truth: that there is nothing about this report which confirms an alien event. Indeed, if anything it strengthens both the Air Force’s explanation about the “weather balloon” and the Project Mogul revelation of a few years ago.

    How could the ones who went off screaming like little girls about how Hottel’s memo “proves” an alien event (and it certainly wasn’t only media: there were a LOT of UFO bloggers passing along the same bunk information) have been so stupid and silly? How could they have staked their credibility, their entire reputations, on something they hadn’t even read? What this sorry episode proves, which I hate to admit, is that a lot of the “believers” really are dimwitted saps and backwards simpletons who will buy anything, no matter how incredible, if it gives them the slightest hope about UFOs or aliens.

    All these morons did was to humiliate themselves and set the entire “movement” back years. Every single UFO blogger, researcher, author or so-called “expert” who claimed the Hottel memo was proof of UFOs needs to be shunned, now and forever, as simply not worthy of our time and attention. The only way we will gain any credibilty ourselves is to ruthlessly cut out any of those who betray their own credibility in such humiliating fashion.

    Comment by Sardondi — April 17, 2011 @ 4:48 am

  23. avatar

    […] Elsewhere, recent revelations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s The Vault website set off a spate of news stories – many not so well thought out – and lead to the report FAA Instructions to Staff on UFO Sightings Debunk Cover-up Claims. […]

    Pingback by Video: Three Large Triangle UFOs Over Indiana - The science, the strange and the anomalous - Quasi Mundo — April 17, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  24. avatar

    […] first example is a story from April 11th this year, entitled FBI UFO Memo: Proof of Lazy Journalism. This article was in response to a veritable media frenzy concerning information gleaned from the […]

    Pingback by SEO Best Practices in Action « Stephen Broadbent — April 26, 2011 @ 1:58 am

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