ceased to report their findings to the Air Force because of the seeming frustration--that is, all information going in, and none coming out. It is in this area that NICAP may find its greatest mission.
"We are in a position to screen independently all UFO information coming in from our filter groups.
"General Albert C. Wedemeyer will serve the Committee as Evaluations Adviser and complete analyses will be arranged through leading scientists. After careful evaluation, we shall release our findings to the public."
Donald Keyhoe, a retired Marine Corps Major, and author of three top seller UFO books, was appointed director. The mere fact that another civilian UFO investigative group was being born was neither news nor UFO history because since 1947 well over a hundred such organizations had been formed. Many still exist; many flopped. But none deserve the niche in UFO history that does NICAP. NICAP had power and it raised a storm that took months to calm down.
NICAP got off to a fast start. Dues were pegged at $7.50 a year, which included a subscription to the very interesting magazine The UFO Investigator, and the operation went into high gear.
With such names as Fahrney, Wedemeyer, Hillenkoetter, Del Valle and Knowles for prestige, and Keyhoe for intrigue, saucer fans all over the United States packaged up their seven-fifty and mailed it to headquarters. Each, in turn, became a "listening post" and an "investigator."
Keyhoe set up a Panel of Special Advisors, all saucer fans, to "impartially evaluate" the UFO reports ferreted out by the "listening posts," based on facts uncovered by the "investigators."
Even though the "leading scientists" Fahrney mentioned in his statement never materialized NICAP was cocked, primed, and ready.
To get things off to a gala start Keyhoe, as director of NICAP, wrote to the Air Force and set out NICAP's Eight Point Plan. In essence this plan suggested (some say demanded) that the Air Force let NICAP ride herd on Project Blue Book.
First of all, NICAP wanted its Panel of Special Advisors to review and concur with all of the conclusions on the thousands of UFO reports that the Air Force had in its files.
This went over like a worm in the punch bowl.
First of all, the Air Force didn't feel it was necessary to review its files. Secondly, they knew NICAP. If every balloon, planet, airplane, and bird that caused a UFO report hadn't been captured and a signed confession wrung out,
the UFO would be a visitor from outer space.
The Air Force decided to ignore NICAP.
But NICAP wouldn't be ignored. They bombarded everyone from the Secretary of the Air Force on down with telephone calls, telegrams and letters.
Still the Air Force remained silent.
Then NICAP headquarters called in the troops and members from all corners of the nation cut loose. The barrage of mail broke the log jam and just enough information to constitute an answer dribbled out of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
But this didn't satisfy Keyhoe or his UFO hungry NICAPions. They wanted blood and that blood had to taste like spaceships or they wouldn't be happy. The cudgel they picked up next was powerful.
The Air Force had said that there was nothing classified about Project Blue Book yet NICAP hadn't seen every blessed scrap of paper in the Air Force UFO files. This was unwarranted censorship!
While Congress was right in the middle of such important and crucial problems as foreign policy, atomic disarmament, racketeering, integration and a dozen and one other problems, NICAP began to bedevil every senator and representative who was polite enough to listen.
It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease and in November 1957, the United States Senate Committee on Government Operations began an inquiry concerning UFO's.
I gave my testimony and so did others who had been associated with Project Blue Book.
A few weeks later the inquiry was dropped.
But NICAP had made its name. Of all of the thorns that have been pounded into the UFO side of the Air Force, NICAP drove theirs the deepest.
In the midst of all this mess Admiral Fahrney, General Wedemeyer and General del Valle, politely, and quietly, resigned from NICAP's board of governors.
Neither the loss of these famous names nor the defeat at the hands of the Air Force has stopped NICAP. They continue to forge ahead, undaunted.
In many UFO incidents they have actually uncovered additional, and sometimes interesting, information.
NICAP Director Don Keyhoe has taken a beating, being accused of profiteering, trying to make headlines, and other minor social crimes. But personally I doubt this. Keyhoe is simply convinced that UFO's are from outer space and he's a dedicated man.