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27242. Civilians, Not Military Investigate UFOs

By Linda D. Kozaryn

American Forces Press Service

	WASHINGTON -- Mass suicide in San Diego has rekindled 

interest in UFOs, but people should not look to the Pentagon 

for answers. The military no longer serves as the nation's 


	Thirty-nine Heaven's Gate cult members reportedly 

believed they were leaving their earthly bodies to reawaken 

aboard a UFO traveling in the Hale-Bopp comet's wake. In the 

past, investigating UFOs was up to the U.S. Air Force.

From 1947 to 1969, Project Blue Book at Wright-

Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, investigated 12,618 

sightings. All but 701 were explained. The reminder were 

categorized as "unidentified" because they involved sketchy 

reports that could not be nailed down, said Pentagon 

spokesman Ken Bacon.

	The public was often skeptical of Air Force 

explanations attributing UFO sightings to swamp gas, weather 

balloons or other natural phenomena. Pentagon officials 

repeatedly denied allegations the military had evidence of 

extraterrestrial visits. A 1950s report from Roswell, N.M., 

for example, claimed military officials had recovered alien 

corpses from a UFO crash site.

	These allegations simply are not true, Bacon said at a 

recent Pentagon press briefing. "We cannot substantiate the 

existence of UFOs, and we are not harboring the remains of 

UFOs," he said. "I can't be more clear about it than that."

	After investigating UFO reports for more than two 

decades, Air Force officials reached three conclusions: No 

UFO reported, investigated or evaluated was ever a threat to 

national security; none of the unidentified sightings 

represented technological developments or principles beyond 

the range of modern scientific knowledge; and there was no 

evidence unidentified sightings were extraterrestrial 


	Finding no national security threat and no evidence of 

extraterrestrial visits, Air Force officials terminated 

Project Blue Book. "It just was not a good way to use 

taxpayers' money," Bacon said. UFO reports are now routed to 

private organizations, he said.