Oct 07, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Majestic 12: The Secret Russian Connection - It's a Real Can of Worms

A couple of days ago I wrote an article on the controversy surrounding the Majestic 12 documents. There is, however, even more controversy. There is a seldom spoken theory that the Majestic 12 documents were created by the Russians. Sounds strange? It's really not. In the worlds of espionage and counter-intelligence, it's an everyday thing. As you will see. As I noted in my self-published paper, MJ-12 – The FBI Connection: Howard Blum - a New York Times bestselling author of such very well-received books as Gangland and Wanted! – spent a great deal of time investigating the matter of the Majestic 12 papers in the late 1980s. While researching and writing his 1990 UFO-themed book, Out There, Blum did his utmost to solve the riddle of flying saucers. He soon learned - just like so many UFO researchers over the years have – that solving just about anything in the domain of UFOs was no easy feat. Blum has stated that of those who were approached by the FBI in the latter part of 1988, one was a “Working Group” established under the auspices of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and which was tasked with looking at the UFO problem. 

In 1990, Blum was interviewed by the now-defunct UFO Magazine and was asked if the Working Group could have been a “front” for another, even more covert, investigative body within the heart of the U.S. government. Maybe, something like Majestic 12. Blum’s response aptly sums up one of the major problems faced by both those inside and outside of government when trying to determine exactly who knows what in relation to the Majestic 12 controversy: “Interestingly,” said Blum to the staff of UFO Magazine, “members of [the Working Group] aired that possibility themselves. When looking into the MJ12 papers, some members of the group said - and not in jest: “Perhaps we’re just a front organization for some sort of MJ12. Suppose, in effect, we conclude the MJ12 papers are phony, are counterfeit. Then we’ve solved the entire mystery for the government, relieving them of the burden in dealing with it, and at the same time, we allow the real secret to remain held by a higher source. An FBI agent told me there are so many secret levels within the government that even the government isn’t aware of it!”

(Nick Redfern) Majestic 12, the FBI and Russia

As I also said in MJ-12 – The FBI Connection: We also know that what was possibly yet another fall 1988 investigation was conducted by the FBI's Foreign Counter-Intelligence division. Some input into the investigation also came from the FBI office in Dallas, Texas; the involvement of the latter was confirmed to me by Oliver “Buck” Revell, a now-retired Special Agent in Charge at Dallas, Texas’ FBI office. On September 15, 1988, an agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations contacted Dallas FBI and supplied the Bureau with a copy of the Majestic 12 papers. This set was obtained from a source whose identity, according to documentation released to me by the Bureau, the AFOSI has deemed must remain classified to this day. On October 25, 1988, the Dallas office transmitted a two-page Secret Airtel to headquarters that read as follows: "Enclosed for the Bureau is an envelope which contains a possible classified document. Dallas notes that within the last six weeks, there has been local publicity regarding “OPERATION MAJESTIC-12” with at least two appearances on a local radio talk show, discussing the MAJESTIC-12 OPERATION, the individuals involved, and the Government’s attempt to keep it all secret. It is unknown if this is all part of a publicity campaign. [Censored] from OSI, advises that “OPERATION BLUE BOOK,” mentioned in the document on page 4 did exist. Dallas realizes that the purported document is over 35 years old, but does not know if it has been properly declassified. The Bureau is requested to discern if the document is still classified. Dallas will hold any investigation in abeyance until further direction from FBIHQ."

Partly due to the actions of the Dallas FBI Office, and partly as a result of the investigation undertaken by the FBI's Foreign Counter-Intelligence staff, on November 30, 1988 an arranged meeting took place in Washington D.C. between agents of the Bureau and those of the AFOSI. If the AFOSI had information on Majestic 12, said the Bureau, they would definitely like to know. And, please, quickly. A Secret communication back to the Dallas office from Washington on December 2, 1988 read: “This communication is classified Secret in its entirety. Reference Dallas Airtel dated October 25 1988. Reference Airtel requested that FBIHQ determine if the document enclosed by referenced Airtel was classified or not. The Office of Special Investigations, US Air Force, advised on November 30, 1988, that the document was fabricated. Copies of that document have been distributed to various parts of the United States. The document is completely bogus. Dallas is to close captioned investigation.” At first glance, that would seem to lay matters to rest once and for all. Unfortunately, it does not. It only serves to make things even more confusing and mysterious. 

Also in my MJ-12 – The FBI Connection, I said: "There’s no doubt that the Air Force played a most strange game with respect to the Majestic 12 documents. The FBI was assured by the AFOSI that the papers were fabricated; however, Special Agent Frank Batten, Jr., chief of the Information Release Division at the Investigative Operations Center with the USAF, confirmed to me that AFOSI has never maintained any records pertaining to either Majestic 12, or any investigation thereof. This begs an important question: how was the AFOSI able to determine that the papers were faked if no investigation on their part was undertaken? Batten also advised me that while the AFOSI did “discuss” the Majestic 12 documents with the FBI, they made absolutely no written reference to that meeting in any shape or form. This is most odd and unusual: government and military agencies are methodical when it comes to documenting possible breaches of security. Arguably, this case should have been no different. Apparently, though, it was.

(U.S. Air Force) "The Roswell Report" was prepared by employees of the U.S. Government.This report is in the public domain

Richard L. Weaver, formerly the Deputy for Security and Investigative Programs with the U.S. Air Force (and the author of the U.S. Air Force's 1995 near-1000 page, mega-sized report, The Roswell Report: Fact Vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert), advised me similarly on October 12, 1993: “The Air Force considers the MJ12 (both the group described and the purported documents to be bogus.” Weaver, too, conceded, however, that there were “no documents responsive” to my request for Air Force files on how just such a determination was reached. Stanton Friedman also stated that, based on his correspondence with Weaver on the issue of Majestic 12, he, too, was dissatisfied with the responses that he received after filing similar FOIA requests relating to the way in which the Air Force made its “bogus” determination. Moreover, there is the fact that AFOSI informed the FBI that, “copies of that document have been distributed to various parts of the United States.” To make such a statement AFOSI simply must have conducted at least some form of investigation or have been in receipt of data from yet another agency. On the other hand, if AFOSI truly did not undertake any such investigation into Majestic 12, then its statement to the FBI decrying the value of the documents is essentially worthless, since it is based on personal opinion rather than sound evaluation. We aren’t quite done with Majestic 12 and the FBI. It’s now time to take a look at an astounding theory that one arm of the FBI – the Foreign Counterintelligence division – addressed: that the Majestic 12 papers were the work of the Russians.

FBI agents attached to the Foreign Counterintelligence division came up with three theories to try and solve the riddle of the Majestic 12 papers: (a) that they were the work of U.S. Intelligence; (b) that they were the creations of a think-tank within the Defense Intelligence Agency, which had fabricated them as a means to divert UFO investigators from a real Majestic 12-type group; and (c) that they had been put together by Soviet disinformation experts [italics mine]. Howard Blum states that the FBI’s reasoning for suspecting the Russians were at the heart of the Majestic 12 affair revolved around “muddying the waters, creating dissension, spreading paranoia in the ranks – those were all the day-in, day-out jobs of the ruthless operation.” Revenge against U.S. Intelligence – for having spun their own UFO-themed operations against Russia in earlier years and decades – was also seen as a distinct possibility. 

Directly connected to the Russian theory is the fact that, as U.S. Intelligence learned to its consternation during both the 1970s and the 1980s, an unclear number of unnamed UFO researchers, with important links to the U.S. defense industry, had been compromised by Russian agents. It went like this: those saucer-seekers who worked in the field of defense, and who had been caught tightly in a Kremlin web, would secretly provide the Russians with top secret data on the likes of the F-117 Nighthawk “stealth fighter” and the B-2 Spirit “stealth bomber” - which, at the time, were still highly classified and in test-stage out at the likes of the notorious Area 51. In return, the KGB would provide those same American researchers with sensational documents on crashed UFOs and dead aliens. The plan that Moscow had in mind was for the Russians to get their eager hands on real top secret U.S. documents that could be used to advance Russian military aviation programs; but those hapless UFO investigators would receive nothing but faked garbage from their Russian handlers, such as – you’ve got it - the Majestic 12 documents.

In 1999, Gerald K. Haines – in his position as the historian of the National Reconnaissance Office - wrote a paper titled “CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90.” It’s now in the public domain, thanks to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. It can be read at the CIA’s website. Haines’ paper detailed the history of how, and why, the CIA became interested and involved in the phenomenon of UFOs. Although Haines covered a period of more than forty years, I will bring your attention to one particular section of his paper, which is focused on the 1970s-1980s. Haines wrote: “During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Agency continued its low-key interest in UFOs and UFO sightings. While most scientists now dismissed flying saucers reports as a quaint part of the 1950s and 1960s, some in the Agency and in the Intelligence Community shifted their interest to studying parapsychology and psychic phenomena associated with UFO sightings. CIA officials also looked at the UFO problem to determine what UFO sightings might tell them about Soviet progress in rockets and missiles and reviewed its counterintelligence aspects.”

(Nick Redfern) Secret Agents everywhere

The Russians, then, were camouflaging their secret rocket tests by spreading false and fantastic tales of UFOs. Haines also noted something that is absolutely key to the story that this book tells and particularly so with regard to the Majestic 12 papers: “Agency analysts from the Life Science Division of OSI and OSWR officially devoted a small amount of their time to issues relating to UFOs. These included counterintelligence concerns that the Soviets and the KGB were using U.S. citizens and UFO groups to obtain information on sensitive U.S. weapons development programs (such as the Stealth aircraft), the vulnerability of the U.S. air-defense network to penetration by foreign missiles mimicking UFOs, and evidence of Soviet advanced technology associated with UFO sightings [italics mine].”

If the FBI learned anything further about Majestic 12 in the post-1989 period, then that information has not surfaced under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. We do know something of deep interest though, thanks to a man named Richard L. Huff. He served as Bureau Co-Director within the Office of Information and Privacy. In correspondence (specifically on July 22, 1993), Huff informed me of the existence of an FBI “Main File” on Majestic 12, which is now in what is termed “closed status.” The title of the file is not something along the lines of “Potentially leaked document” or “Questionable document,” as one might imagine, given the strange story that is detailed in this chapter. Rather, the file title is nothing less than – wait for it – “Espionage.” While we’re admittedly forced to speculate, that one, eye-opening word alone strongly suggests that the Majestic 12 saga really did revolve around those very same components that surface in the pages of this chapter: spies, counterintelligence operations, the words of Gerald K. Haines, and the interference of the Russians. And espionage. There is another thing that adds further weight to this argument. 

You might recall that, in the late 1980s, the Fund for UFO Research (with ufologist Bruce Maccabee) funded Stanton Friedman to the tune of a hefty sixteen grand to investigate the controversial Majestic 12 papers. Keep that in mind when you read the following words of Maccabee himself, which might suggest an ongoing monitoring by the Russians – and by U.S. intelligence, too - of the key figures in the Majestic 12 caper: “After I spoke at a UFO conference near Washington, D.C. in February 1993, I was contacted by an assistant military attaché who was stationed at the Russian Embassy [italics mine]. He wanted to know how to obtain U.S. government files on UFOs. You can imagine my surprise and amusement when, about six months later, while I was at work I got a call from the ‘dreaded’ FBI. It became obvious to me that the agent didn’t know much about the UFO phenomenon and was amused to learn about the FBI files on the subject. But he was especially interested in my interactions with the military attaché [italics mine].”

Finally, in 2014, there was yet another Russia-driven development in the controversy surrounding Majestic 12: the U.S. Department of Defense declassified a previously top secret file on what was known during the Cold War as Project Pandora. To a significant degree, the program was focused on Cold War secrets of the Russians, and how microwaves can affect the mind and body to dangerous, harmful degrees. It’s a fascinating dossier that dates back decades. It’s a lengthy file, too, running to nearly 500 pages, and is comprised of a number of notable documents. But, here’s the weird thing, the document contains a copy of the controversial Majestic 12 /Eisenhower Briefing Document on the Roswell UFO affair of 1947. Of interest, the copy of the Majestic 12 document in the Pandora file has a hand-written note on it stating that: “This cannot be authenticated as an official DoD document.” Logic suggests that the message was probably written around the end of 1988. That was when both the Air Force and the FBI were busy adding near-identical messages to their copies of the Majestic 12 documents. Exopaedia notes of the Pandora program that, in the early 1960s, “…the CIA discovered that the U.S. embassy in Moscow was ‘bombarded’ with EMR (electromagnetic radiation). The signal was composed of several frequencies. The Pandora Project was intended to investigate and gather data on this Russian experiment. The embassy personnel was not informed of the existence of the beam, or of the Pandora project.”

 Exopaedia continues that, “the signal was intended to produce blurred vision and loss of mental concentration. Investigation on the effects on the embassy personnel, however, showed that they developed blood composition anomalies and unusual chromosome counts. Some people even developed a leukemia-like blood disease.” So, what we have here is a file on a program that dates back to the early 1960s and which was focused on major U.S. government concerns that the Soviets were up to no good – as was clearly the case. But, even so, that still does not provide the answer to an important question. Why is a very controversial and questionable document on dead aliens and crashed UFOs contained in a Department of Defense file on an old, Cold War-era operation instigated by the Russians? Attempts on my part – between 2014 and 2018 - to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the answers have failed to reveal anything of note. In fact, of anything in the slightest. Game over? Not a chance. The shenanigans – and the issues concerning Russia and the Majestic 12 documents - continue. See now just how much Russian activity ran around the Majestic 12 documents back then? Based on all of the revelations in this article, a strong case - that the Majestic 12 documents were the work of the Russians - can be made.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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