There have only ever been two official Congressional Hearings
held on UFOs. The House Armed Services Committee convened
the first such hearing in 1966 in response to widely publicized
sightings and repeated public and media criticism of the Air Force’s
Project Blue Book. The hearing had the noted support of former U.S.
President, Gerald Ford, the House Minority Leader. However,
the only witnesses who testified were allied to Project Blue Book.
As a result, the Secretary of the Air Force announced that there
would be an outside, independent review of Blue Book. This
was to be the genesis of the University of Colorado’s Scientific
Study of UFOs –or the Condon Committee project (after
Edward U. Condon), as it is popularly known. Two years later,
the House Science and Astronautics Committee convened a second
hearing (which occurred during the final stages of the Condon
Committee project) to review the scientific evidence for UFOs.
It took the form of a scientific symposium in which six scientists
testified and six others submitted prepared papers
In 1969, the Condon Committee published its findings.
According to the director of the project, physicist Dr.
Edward U. Condon, no scientific evidence existed in support of a
genuine UFO mystery for UFO. The result? It was
recommended that Project Blue Book should be
terminated. Critics of the Condon Report have noted, however, that
no less than 30 per cent of the cases investigated by the committee
defied explanation. According to the critics, such as Dr.
J. Allen Hynek, Dr. Condon's conclusions were politically
oriented rather than scientific: the Air Force wanted Blue
closed at the earliest opportunity.
Nevertheless, of the six scientists who testified as part of the
University of Colorado’s study, five were of the opinion that UFOs
were still a valid area for investigation. Of those, the late Dr.
James McDonald concluded:
"My own study of the
UFO problem has convinced me that we must rapidly escalate serious
scientific attention to this extra- ordinarily intriguing puzzle."
Following the release of
the Condon Report, Project Blue Book was set for
termination, with an announcement to that effect made in March 1969.
A formal directive was finalized in December of that year by Air
Force Secretary Robert C. Seamans, Jr. According to
"The continuation of
Project Blue Book cannot be justified either on the ground of
national security or in the interest of science.”
From the commencement of
Project Sign to the conclusion of
Project Blue Book, 12,618 UFO reports were analyzed. Of
these, 18% (701 cases) were catalogued as unidentified – and nearly
half of which dated from 1952. Since the close of Blue Book,
the Air Force has constantly tried to distance itself from the UFO
subject – publicly, at least. The Air Force’s current fact sheet on
UFOs states that "since the termination of Project Blue Book,
nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO
investigations by the Air Force." Nevertheless, as the Freedom of
Information Act has shown, official interest in the UFO
subject continues - albeit at a restricted and far more covert level
than that of Project Blue Book.