Update on Operation Majestic 12 Documents

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Kevin Randle's major complaint about the MJ-12 papers is that the military ranks are blatantly wrong. On page 2 of the EBD, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (DCI 1947-1950) is noted thusly: "BRIEFING OFFICER: ADM. ROSCOE H. HILLENKOETTER (MJ-1)" and is listed lower on the page with a beginning line of "Members of the Majestic 12 Group were designated [referring to establishment of the group on 24 September, 1947 -- note the same date format as on the cover page listing of 18 November, 1952] as follows: "Adm. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Gen. Robert Montague."

The kicker here is that Hillenkoetter was not a Full Admiral but only a Rear Admiral.

However, in September, 1947, Montague was only a Brigadier General and Twining and Vandenberg were only Lieutenant Generals. (Vandenberg got his 4th star in October 1947). In short, the writer of the briefing was consistent in using generic ranks. This makes perfect sense in view of three factors:

1. In mixed groups of civilians and military people, what rank can one give the civilians?

2. The navy has only three flag ranks: Vice, Rear and Full Admirals, but the army has four: Brigadier, Major, Lieutenant, and Full (4-star) Generals.

3. The names were listed as they had been designated in 1947, but some ranks had changed prior to November 1952. Generic ranks get around that problem.

Early on Randle had asked me for other examples of Hillenkoetter signing memos as Admiral. I had to point out that there is no Hillenkoetter signature on the EBD, so the question is irrelevant.

This argument may sound weak, but General Arthur Exon, Colonel Jesse Marcel Jr. and Commander Thomas Deuley had no trouble with generic ranks. Ike himself in his books used them. Fortunately, because of the work of California researcher Brian Parks, I was able to locate a relevant example of just this same approach. Andrew Goodpaster (by this time a Brigadier General) had written a classified memo dated June 30, 1958, in which he listed the attendees at a meeting on June 27, 1958. Several were civilians and five were military. All of the latter, including himself, were listed as General or Admiral even though only one was a 4-star. However, his signature is Brigadier General. Goodpaster had been with Ike from the start of his presidency in 1953, so surely knew the right protocol for the White House. During a visit in November, 2003, I found a number of these "memcons" from General Goodpaster using generic ranks for meeting attendees including himself but signing Brigadier General.


Many people in ufology had serious difficulty with Dr. Donald H. Menzel being listed as a member of MJ-12. After all he was, at the time in 1952, the best known UFO sceptic. By the time of his death in 1976, he had written three very negative books and given a number of papers -- all attacking UFO reality. Often his UFO science, as has been noted by Dr. Bruce Maccabee and Brad Sparks and Dr. James E. McDonald (Ref. 12) was almost ludicrous. As I have noted elsewhere, his presence on the committee had bothered Bill Moore, Jaime Shandera and myself right from the start suggesting that the memo was a hoax. There was obviously the problem of all the others, based on readily available information, having had very high level security clearances. But surely one didn't need a clearance to teach astronomy at Harvard?

I hadn't liked Menzel, but did a lot of checking. I had viewed his UFO correspondence at the American Philosophical Library in Philadelphia, found out that his papers were at the Harvard Archives with some also at the University of Denver. After getting approval from three different people to view the Harvard holdings, I paid a visit to Harvard at the expense of the Fund for UFO research. There I made a shocking discovery that Menzel was up to his ears in very highly classified work for the CIA, NSA, and more than thirty companies. He had taught cryptography before WW 2, learned a different symbolic language (Japanese) and worked on all kinds of classified problems for many years after WW 2. He told Jack Kennedy he could tell him more about the NSA when they were properly cleared to each other. Menzel had been associated with the NSA and its navy predecessor for thirty years as of 1960! None of this was noted in an eight-page appreciation in Sky and Telescope after his death (Ref. 13). I published an article in IUR (Ref. 14) and gave more details in Ref. 2 and Ref. 3. I had early on noted correspondence between Menzel's attorney and MJ-12 member Bush thanking Bush for his support of Menzel at a terrible USAF Loyalty Hearing. The file is at the Harvard Archives. Fascinating reading.

Many in ufology claimed that Menzel couldn't have led a double life as a public debunker and a private advocate of the notion that the aliens recovered at Roswell were "beings from another solar system entirely." All admitted that they knew nothing of his clandestine postwar activities. Some, many years later, were able to obtain some government files on Menzel. None have shown that these were known prior to my discoveries in 1986. I should point out that many very bright spies led double lives for years such as Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean who were Soviet spies working for many years in British intelligence. Claus Fuchs who spied at Los Alamos certainly led a double life.

Randle says little about the other MJ-12 members, but, after misrepresenting my reasons for saying that Menzel belonged on the group, had the following comment:
Nowhere did he [Friedman] find any mention of MJ-12 [in his papers and records]. There are no marginal notes, no oblique references, no highly placed correspondence that suggests, mentions, identifies or confirms the existence of MJ-12 or Menzel's connection to it.
This is another one of those "absence of evidence" claims. Certainly I had never claimed to have found any direct evidence. But none of Menzel's files at the Harvard Archives were classified despite all his classified activities. He had already spent thirty years (as of 1960) working for the NSA and its Navy predecessors. No rational person would expect him to have left classified materials about a TOP SECRET Code Word black budget activity, whose very existence was classified, in the open.

Kal Korff claimed (Ref.15) that he had classified access to Menzel's government records. He mentions the CIA but never mentions the NSA connection which was the focus of my articles.


None of the vocal critics including Randle even discuss the findings of world-class linguistics expert Dr. Roger Wescott. At the suggestion of attorney Bob Bletchman, I had obtained 27 examples of Hillenkoetter's various writings from the Truman Library. Dr. Wescott reviewed these and the EBD and stated in an April 7, 1988, letter to Bob
In my opinion there is no compelling reason to regard any of these communications as fraudulent or to believe that any of them were written by anyone other than Hillenkoetter himself. This statement holds for the controversial presidential briefing memorandum of November 18, 1952, as well as for the letters, both official and personal.
(Letter is page E-2 of Ref. 2. Randle has a copy.)


Right from the start the TFM has been the target of the debunkers. Phil Klass in a fast press release after Bill Moore publicized the EBD, TFM, and CTM, had claimed it was an obvious fraud since it made all kinds of mistakes compared to real Truman letters. He used the word "letter" nine times even though it is clearly headed "Memorandum." Many have claimed that the typewriter was obviously from 1960 proving it was a fraud (no forensic document analysis was provided). Most claimed that the signature was identical to that on another memo from Truman to MJ-12 member Vannevar Bush. First measurements clearly indicated it was not an exact copy since the lengths of various segments seemed not to match. Randle provided the off-the-cuff opinion of Peter Tytell, a world-class Questioned Documents examiner. Moore, Shandera and I had sent a copy of the documents to PT who didn't want his name used anywhere, and prepared no report, but apparently claimed the typewriter typeface was not in use until the 1960s. Randle quotes him thusly "It was just perfect because the whole thing of the twelve pages or however many pages it was. Most of the pages were just blank pages with just five words written on them like Top Secret or Appendix A or something like that." In reality there were eight pages and only one, page 7, (not included by Randle) had "Appendix A." Fortunately Dr. Robert M. Wood hired an expert, James A. Black, to perform a professional examination. On November 13, 1998, Black stated
My knowledge of typewriter fonts permits me to conclude that the letter was likely to have been typed by an Underwood Standard typewriter. The portions of the type font of the letter that can be clearly visualized match those of a typewriter exemplar of an Underwood Standard typed in May 1940.
Black also added that that the disputed signature is most likely a reproduction. "I reached this opinion because the ink line is homogenous and feathering is absent at the ends of the lines." Does this prove the document is a fraud? The real question is where would there have been an original of the memo with a signature?? Forrestal's ORIGINAL would have been signed, but who else would have received a signed copy? One expects that Dr. Bush and the DCI (Hillenkoetter) noted in the memo would have had copies. Most likely unsigned. Forrestal died in May, 1949, three years earlier. Since we know that W.B. Smith was briefing Ike at this time (1952) on National Security matters, presumably Hillenkoetter, then at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, may well have had the EBD typed at the CIA. Smith (who worked very closely with Ike during WW 2) might well have said that Ike likes documents with signatures. Surely the CIA had the capability of lifting a signature from the memo from Truman to Bush (ironically I had found that in the Bush papers at the LCMD).

Of course, none of the critics of the memo note that the numerical portion of the date "24,1947." is offset from the September and done with a different typewriter. Bush's office always put a period after the date. Rarely did Truman's. George Elsey, who worked for Roosevelt at the White House and then for Truman during his entire term in office, told me that most of what a President signs is prepared by other people and sometimes the documents have to have the date typed later when it is clear which date is appropriate. He could find no reason to say the EBD, TFM, or CTM were fraudulent. Truman was very busy at that time as the New National Security apparatus was being installed, the USAF was separated from the Army, the CIA was created from the Central Intelligence Group, etc. etc. Why would a hoaxer use two different typewriters and put a period after the date? Forgers normally do as little as possible to call attention to idiosyncrasies in the forgeries -- whether paintings or documents.

Other critics of the signature claim, based on Albert S. Osborne's book "Questioned Documents", that no two signatures are alike. Actually, Osborne said that one could have identical signatures, just not consecutively. After the 1948 election Truman commented to a family member that he was signing 500 thank-you notes an hour.

Some were surely identical to others. Klass had even claimed the Osborne book was published in 1978, when it would have covered Xeroxing, when it fact it was published in 1910 and the chapter involved is entitled "Traced Forgeries."


In Ref. 2 I provided a list of more than 37 facts not known to be true until after the EBD, TFM, and CTM had been received or found. A lot were trivial such as the date given, August 1, 1950, for Smith having permanently replaced the deceased Forrestal as an MJ-12 member. I obtained from the Truman Library the fact that that was the only date when Truman and Smith met during a many-month period of time before Smith succeeded Hillenkoetter as DCI. They had not provided that information to anyone else.

The CTM has neither a signature nor /s/ as do the other two memos we had from Cutler to Twining. Cutler was out of the country on that date, so could not have signed any letter. However, he left detailed instructions with James Lay, Exec. Sec. of the NSC, to keep things moving out of his basket while he was gone. I published that letter and the one from Lay to Cutler while Cutler was overseas saying he was taking care of things, in Ref. 2. It took me two years to get the latter via mandatory classification review through the Ike Library as it was still classified when I found a withdrawal sheet noting it. I had also discovered that earlier that day (July 14, 1954) Lay had met with Ike and they had a phone conversation at around 4:30 PM. George Elsey told me that Lay and Cutler worked very closely together and Lay would certainly have sent a brief note for Cutler to Twining making a trivial change in schedule. How did the forger know NOT to sign the memo nor use /s/ since it was some time after the discovery of the CTM that Robert Todd found the memo from Cutler to Lay saying he would be gone??? Todd is strongly opposed to Roswell, MJ-12, Bill Moore, Jaime Shandera, Jesse Marcel, etc. It is also interesting that the Cutler-Lay memo underlines a few words as does the CTM. This is uncommon in documents of that era, but apparently was used by Lay and Cutler about NSC matters.

The EBD says that the detailed investigation of Roswell began on July 7, 1947. Several years AFTER its receipt, in a newly declassified box of General Twining's papers, I found his flight log which shows that he indeed flew to New Mexico from Dayton on July 7, 1947. This was confirmed by his pilot's flight log as well, also found much later. How did anybody know that date fit?

Some people have complained that anybody could have found out what I did about Menzel prior to receipt of the EBD. Yes, of course, the documents were sitting at the Harvard Archives. But it took three signatures, including his wife's, for me to gain access. No evidence has been claimed or put forth that anybody else had looked at the papers before I had. Some have even falsely suggested that I noted the letters to Kennedy, etc., at the readily accessible APL Menzel UFO Correspondence file. They weren't there. No permission signatures were required for that access. I am reminded of people who claim "I could have bought that land for a song 25 years ago." -- but they hadn't.

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