The most recent winner of the Nobel Peace
Prize, former President Jimmy Carter, has long been interested
in the peaceful co-existence of humans on this planet.
If historic records are any indication, however, it
appears that the former President has long held a similar
interest in peaceful relations with extraterrestrials who
might be visiting this planet, since his sighting of a
strange unidentified object in Leary, Georgia in 1969.
Carter has always been open to talking about the 1969 UFO
sighting, which he described as a "very remarkable sight," and "the
darndest thing I have ever seen." Carter has talked
about it in many
question and answer sessions following speeches, or on
open-line talk show promoting the many books he has written.
In a recently released audio tape of a 1976 reply to questions
put to him by National Enquirer reporter Jim McCandlish,
Carter described the now infamous 1969 sighting, and how
if he became President he would release all the UFO files
to the United States people. The transcript of that encounter
is as follows.
Q: Governor, you once saw a
UFO. If you were President would you reopen inquiries
Carter: Well, no. What I would do is make information we
have about those sightings available to the public (three
words unclear). I have never tried to identify what I saw.
You know, it was a light in the
western sky that was very unique. I had never seen it before.
There were about 20 of us who saw it. None of us could
figure out what it was. I don't think it was anything solid.
It was just like a light.
It was a curious aberation, so I don't make fun of people
who say they've see unidentified objects in the sky.
Q: The United States used to have
a body that investigated UFOs, but
that's been discontinued. Would you reopen it?
Carter: I don't know yet.
Presidential candidate Carter also made a similar promise
in Appleton, Wisconsin on the morning of March 31, 1976,
during a question and answer session. Carter was asked
by Thomas Heiman,
Associate Director of the UFO Education Center in Appleton
Wisconsin whether he would as President, "air what's" behind-closed-doors" today
in regards to UFOs?"
Carter replied, "Yes, I would make these kinds of data
available to the public, as President, to help resolve
the mystery about it."
"On a public basis?" asked Heiman. "Yes," replied Carter, "on
a public basis."
Once Jimmy Carter became President, however, records at
the Carter library show that the Carter White House did
everything in its power to avoid the Wisconsin group even
though Carter had promised " a meeting could be arranged
sometime after the election" when he could meet with
the group and review the UFO material they had.
The McCandlish and Wisconsin encounters illustrate the
very few times Jimmy Carter ever talked about UFOs in relation
to the White House. When asked about presidential knowledge
and involvement in the UFO mystery, Carter has almost always
sidetracked the issue to talk about the 1969 UFO sighting.
An example of this reluctance to discuss his presidential
role can be found in the most recent encounter between
Jimmy Carter and the UFO question, which occurred last
year. Documentary producers Tim Coleman and James Fox approached
the ex-president about UFOs while he was doing a book
signing. The men planned to use the segment in their soon
to be released UFO documentary called "Out of the Blue."
When asked about his UFO sighting Carter was very forthright
quickly saying that it was interesting and mysterious.
However, when he was asked the second question about whether
or not he did look into the UFO issue during his presidency,
the enthusiasm ended. Carter simply replied, "Yes, but
there's a lot of different answers and nobody knows...has
proof of things."
This reluctance to discuss the government's role could
be partly due to wake-up call that the President-elect
Carter got while being briefed by then CIA Director George
Bush. According to prominent civil rights attorney Danny
Sheehan, Bush made Jimmy Carter aware of how UFOs would
be treated once he became President.
Sheehan stated that he had been told the story by Marcia
Smith, then Director of the Science and Technology Division
of the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service.
In 1977, shortly after Carter entered the White House,
she had been asked to do two studies for the Chairman of
the Science & Technology Committee of the House of
Representatives. The reports would then find their way
to the White House.
Sheehan, then General Counsel to the United States Jesuit
National Headquarters - National Office of Social Ministry
in Washington, was invited to participate in the two studies,
which he described as
a "highly classified major evaluation of the UFO phenomena,
and extraterrestrial intelligence."
According to what Marcia Smith told Sheehan in 1977, President-elect
Carter had asked Bush for the material on UFOs during his
November 1976 intelligence briefing provided by the CIA. "I
want to have the information that we have on UFOs and extraterrestrial
intelligence." Carter had asked. "I want to know
about this as President."
George Bush, according to Marcia Smith, said, "No . . .
that he wasn't going to give this to him . . . that this
was information that existed on a need to know basis only.
Simple curiosity on the part of the President wasn't adequate."
" If he was going to do this he would have to follow a
different procedure," recalled Sheehan, "that was going
to involve all the different branches of government in
authorizing this information, because they were afraid
that President Carter was going to somehow publicly reveal
this. Bush told him that he was going have to go to the
Science and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives,
in the legislative branch, and have them ask the Congressional
Research Service to issue a request to have certain documents
declassified so that this process could go on."
President Carter followed the instructions given to him
by Bush, and Marcia Smith did produce two reports, which
have never been made public. One was on UFOs, and one was
on extra terrestrial
intelligence. Sheehan stated that in one of the reports
he reviewed it was concluded, "There are from two to six
highly intelligent, highly technological developed civilizations
in our own galaxy over and above our ours." Sheehan
added that the report stated that the investigation was "unable
to discount" that one of these vehicles was not from one
of these two to six civilizations.
Carter went on to request a number of other UFO inquiries
and studies in his first months as President. These included
a study known as the "Carter Extraterrestrial Communication
Study" contracted to the Center for the Study of Social
Policy at the Stanford Research Institute. The initial
contact within the Carter White House for the proposal
was Stewart Eisenstatt, with the Domestic Policy Staff.
The Pentagon reportedly killed it three months later.
Efforts included the Carter transitional people contacting
or meeting with UFO researchers such as Robert Barrow,
Jacques Vallee, J. Allen Hynek, and Bill Pitts. Barrow,
for example, was contacted about participating in another
undefined UFO study. Barrow was not contacted again, so
it is not known if this particular study went forward.
Another study of UFOs that was done for President Carter
in the early days of the administration was known as the "L.A.
Study." It was put together for the President by a number
of UFO researchers in the Los Angeles area. The researchers
have told their side of the story, but no records of this
study appear at the Carter library. Trusted Carter staff
members made most of the approaches to the various government
agencies about UFOs. One such case was Press Secretary
Jody Powell who approached the FBI about their past UFO
efforts. The FBI files tell little of this request, probably
because it was done by phone. Authors Lawrence Fawcett
and Barry Greenwood reported, however, that once Powell
made the inquiry, the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia
suddenly "began monitoring and collecting newspaper
clippings that dealt with the UFO subject...under the curious
file reference of TRANSPORTATION."
Dr. Press, President Carter's Science Advisor,
made the UFO contact to NASA. He wrote NASA administrator
Dr. Robert Frosch, asking for help with the UFO mail problem,
(the Carter White House was being inundated with UFO mail
because of his campaign promise to release the UFO files)
but also suggesting it might be time for another study of
the UFO issue. Press suggested that a panel of prominent
scientists such as Carl Sagan might "conduct an investigation
of the validity and significance of UFO reports." NASA, aware
of the probable public relations problems involved with reopening
the UFO can of worms, declined Dr. Press's request for a
new UFO investigation.
Although Carter's attempts to get a new study on UFOs failed,
he presided over what is sometimes known as the "golden years"
of government UFO disclosures. During the Carter administration literally
thousands of UFO documents were released through FOIAs by
various government entities such as the FBI, NSA, NASA, State,
Air Force, Navy, and Army. What Carter's role was in the
releases is unknown, but there has been nothing quite
like it since Carter left the White House.
Although President Carter made many attempts to get the answer
to the UFO mystery, as he promised during his presidential
campaign, most efforts failed. The Washington insiders, who
Carter had run his entire campaign against, cut him off from
the UFO answers which they controlled.
The military industrial complex, usually more in line with
Republican administrations, was upset at Carter for his canceling
of the B-1 bomber program, a $5 billion dollar cut in defense
spending, plans to shelve the neutron bomb, veto a nuclear
aircraft carrier, and his leak during the 1980 presidential
campaign where he publicly told the public, and the Russians,
that secret work was taking place on a thing called the Stealth
George Bush described the negative feeling also held towards
President Carter by the intelligence community. He had been
the first CIA Director in four administrations to be effectively
fired by the new Carter administration. Hundreds of CIA agents
followed him out onto the street once Carter entered the
In his autobiography, Bush described Carter's attacks on
the CIA as "frequent and vituperative." The hatred for the
CIA, according to Bush began even when he was briefing Carter
on intelligence secrets in 1976. Bush wrote, "Beneath his
surface cool, he (Carter) harbored a deep antipathy to the
CIA." It is then no wonder, that when it came to the deepest
darkest secret held by the government, that Carter found
himself on the outside looking it.
As Jimmy Carter receives his Nobel Peace Prize, it might
be important to note that other important Peace Prize winners
have also taken an interest in the extraterrestrial angle
of world peace. Former Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B.
Pearson actually brought up the extraterrestrial possibilities
during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in
"Perhaps there is a hopeful possibility here in the conquest
of outer space. Interplanetary activity may well give us
planetary peace. Once we discover Martian spaceships hovering
over Earth's air-space, we will all come together."
"How dare they threaten us like this!" we shall shout, as
one, at a really United Nations!"