]]]]]]]]]]]        UFOs: THE PUBLIC DECEIVED         [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ by Philip J. Klass, 310 pages, hardb. $17.95, Prometheus Books (700 E. Amherst St., Buffalo, NY 14215).                           (July 1983) 

     [I hope you have read the preceding story on UFO's in general -- 
floor 2 of this Science Lab.]
     Klass is senior editor at "Aviation Week & Space Technology," has 
been studying the subject for two decades, and is one of the founders 
of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the 
Paranormal (despite its long name, a very commendable institution, 
publishers of the "Skeptical Inquirer" at the address above). The book 
is just as good as you would expect from the author's qualifications: 
it will convince any truly unbiased observer of the lack of evidence 
for UFOs while it presents much evidence of hoaxes and errors. In par-
ticular, it throws light on what is usually the most misleading type 
of evidence -- the truth but not the whole truth.
     Typically, it is quite true that the the names of persons who 
claim to have seen UFO's were deleted from public CIA reports. How-
ever, this was not done to cover up the tracks, but as a matter of 
compliance with the Freedom of Information Act under which the reports 
were demanded by believers, entrepreneurs, paranoiacs, and possibly 
genuine researchers. In fact, the perversity of that act appears to 
dictate that the full name of the observer be given if he was a CIA or 
other government official ON DUTY, whereas it must be deleted if that 
same observer observed on his way home or otherwise on his own time.
     But why should the CIA be involved in Flying Saucers in the first 
place? It isn't any more, but there was a reason in the 1950's: the 
Soviets might possibly have taken advantage of a UFO panic (or even 
fomented it) to palm off real missiles as fictitious UFO's. The reason 
for the secrecy: if the idea hadn't yet occurred to the Soviets, the 
CIA wasn't going to give it to them.
     The UFO specialist will get a copious load of facts, readably 
presented. The student of political matters will find a heavy load of 
evidence what damage stupid secrecy can do. (If I were bent on 
starting the moon-orange cult, I would try to get the Pentagon to 
classify the preceding story, and the CIA to say "No comment" on every 
conceivable occasion.)
     To the UFO buff, of course, the book will only prove that Klass 
is a lackey of the CIA, paid to cover up the horrid truth: that the 
green men, in their fiendishness, have made the Flying Saucers and 
themselves unobservable...
     A minor shortcoming of the book is the absence of a bibliography 
(it does have an index), so that you do not easily get to know of 
other excellent books on this subject, in particular, Robert Sheaf-
lishers (1981), and James Oberg's UFOs AND OTHER SPACE VEHICLES, 
$6.95, Donning Press, Norfolk, VA (toll-free tel. 800-446-8572).
                              * * * 

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