By Donald Burleson
Special to the Daily
Any researcher in the field of UFO studies who has ever submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to government agencies, as I have done many times, has probably had the experience of seeing those agencies reply that they have no records of the type requested, and in fact, aren’t interested in the subject of UFOs. One can amass an abundance of evidence that this isn’t true.
Let me tell you a story that is true. Years ago, there was a Canadian radio engineer named Wilbert Smith, who was very intrigued by the question of UFOs and their propulsion systems. He had heard that some American scientists shared his interest. In 1950, through some contacts at the Canadian embassy in Washington, he was granted an interview with a top scientific advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense named Robert Sarbacher, who was a Harvard professor and had an office at the Pentagon.
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During their meeting, of which Smith recorded detailed notes, Smith asked him if it was true that in the United States the whole subject of flying saucers was highly classified. Dr. Sarbacher replied, “Yes, it is classified two points higher than the H-bomb. In fact, it is the most highly classified subject in the U.S. government at the present time.”
Imagine how absurd it would be for the government to say, on the one hand, “UFOs are of no importance to us” and to say, on the other, “but let’s classify what we know about them higher than we classify the hydrogen bomb.” One can’t have it both ways, and Dr. Sarbacher’s eminence as a scientist promotes one’s confidence that his remarks about UFO secrecy mean just what they say.
A couple of months after his meeting with Dr. Sarbacher, this same Wilbert Smith, who had a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and was in charge of a radio communications program for the Canadian government, wrote a top-secret memo to his government describing his theory that UFOs might employ a form of magnetic propulsion possible to adapt for human use. He referenced his interview with Dr. Sarbacher in D.C. as a selling point. The result was that the Canadian government instituted a research program called Project Magnet, which operated for some four years with Wilbert Smith in charge. (The 1950 memo was declassified in 1978.)
Again, one can scarcely imagine a government committing serious time and money to such a program if they had no interest in UFO research, or thought it fanciful.
After Smith’s information from Dr. Sarbacher came to the attention of other investigators, further research revealed details about the 1948 Aztec, New Mexico UFO crash, at which prominent scientific consultants discovered alien hieroglyphics that were sent to William Friedman to try to decipher. Friedman had been a cryptographer in the service of Gen. John Pershing and would become the chief cryptologist for NSA, the National Security Agency.
It hardly seems likely they would call in such world-class analysts if they didn’t think the UFO question was important.