UFOs & Nukes

UFOs & Nukes

The UFO / Nuclear Weapons Connection


Big Sur UFO Film: Government Whistleblower Reveals He Watched It - PART 2

The very interesting backgrounds of the UFO “skeptics” who attempted to debunk the Big Sur UFO Incident after it was first publicized in the media by former US Air Force officer Dr. Bob Jacobs

Previously posted at UFO Chronicles

Part 1 of this article discussed former Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) director Lue Elizondo’s recent admission that he had watched the Big Sur UFO film—actually, a video copy of it—while heading-up the once-secret Pentagon UFO project from 2008 to 2017. (Funding for the group officially ended in 2012, but Elizondo maintains that its work was still ongoing at the time of his resignation from government service.)

Briefly, in the early 1980s, two former US Air Force officers—Lieutenant Bob Jacobs and Major Florenze Mansmann—confirmed that, on September 15, 1964, a domed-disc UFO had been inadvertently captured on motion picture film as it paced and then shot down a dummy nuclear warhead—using mysterious, plasma-like beams—that had been carried aloft by an Atlas ICBM during a test flight over the Pacific Ocean. The missile launch took place at Vandenberg AFB, California, and the telescopic-camera team had been located a hundred miles northwest of the base, up the California coast at Big Sur, so that it could film such launches from a side view.

According to Major (later Dr.) Mansmann, he, Jacobs, and two CIA officers attended a highly-restricted screening of the film at Vandenberg two days after the dramatic incident occurred. At the CIA officers’ direction, the footage was immediately classified Top Secret. However, Lieutenant (later Dr.) Jacobs was apparently only told by Mansmann not to discuss the event with anyone and that “it never happened”. That verbal admonishment occurred just before Jacobs left the screening room and apparently prior to the Top Secret designation being assigned to the case—about which Jacobs says he was unaware.

In any event, in 1982, thinking that enough time had elapsed since the 1964 incident took place, Jacobs—by then a university professor—wrote an article about it which, after first being rejected by OMNI magazine, was published in the National Enquirer tabloid. Shortly thereafter, the former lieutenant began getting anonymous death threats over the telephone and, independently, was subjected to other forms of pressure by certain individuals who turned out to have rather suspicious, if not clearly incriminating backgrounds.

In 1989, Jacobs wrote a lengthier, more detailed article on the Big Sur UFO Incident, which was published by the MUFON UFO Journal. In it, he complained that following his revelations about the case he had been harassed by UFO debunker James Oberg, a leading member of the organization responsible for publishing Skeptical Inquirer magazine, then called the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), now renamed the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).

Another CSICOPer, Philip J. Klass, soon piled on, attacking Dr. Jacobs in a series of rebuking letters. Klass went so far as to contact Jacobs’ Communications Department chairman at the University of Maine, to allege that the professor was behaving in a manner inappropriate for an academician. According to Klass, anyone who contended that flying saucers existed and were shooting down U.S. dummy nuclear warheads in flight was unfit to teach the school’s students.

In response, Jacobs circulated a strongly-worded retort, Low Klass: A Rejoinder. At one point, wrote Jacobs, Klass had told him in a letter that if he were uneasy about communicating with the debunker, Klass would provide as references Admiral Bobby R. Inman—the former Director of the National Security Agency, who also held Deputy Director positions at both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency—and Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Klass not only provided Jacobs with their names, but home addresses as well, and told him, “Both men have worked with me and gotten to know me in my efforts for Aviation Week [magazine].” Jacobs, viewing this offer as a veiled threat and suspecting that Klass was attempting to set him up for a security violation, consulted an attorney who told him not to respond directly to the debunker.

Klass, now deceased, was often accused of being a disinformation agent for the U.S. government—a charge he always vehemently denied. And yet, in a private letter to Jacobs, the long-time UFO debunker openly bragged about his high-powered intelligence community associates, presumably because he never thought that Jacobs would actually publish portions of the letter, which he nevertheless did.

For his part, Jim Oberg, the high-profile CSICOP/CSI debunker mentioned above, repeatedly attempted to discredit Jacobs’ and Mansmann’s amazing story. Interestingly, he also made self-incriminating comments to Jacobs in a letter obviously never meant for public view. Unfortunately for Oberg, Jacobs later published excerpts from that letter as well.

While an U.S. Air Force Captain, Oberg did classified work relating to nuclear weapons at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, located at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. While there, in 1970-72, he had also been a Security Officer for his immediate group within the lab’s Battle Environments Branch, meaning that he was responsible for monitoring the security procedures used to safeguard the classified documents generated by it. In his letter to Dr. Jacobs, Oberg chastised him, saying, “Since you obviously feel free to discuss top secret UFO data, what would you be willing to say about other top secret aspects of the Atlas warhead which you alluded to briefly?”

This is rather curious given Oberg’s public face as a UFO debunker who claims that the mysterious craft do not even exist. One may find numerous articles he has written over the years in which he pooh-poohs UFO sightings and ridicules those who report them. And yet, in his private letter to Jacobs, Oberg angrily railed at the professor’s unauthorized release of “top secret” UFO information. Once a security officer, always a security officer, I guess.

And the “skeptical” attacks on Jacobs’ credibility continued as time went on. Skeptical Inquirer (SI) magazine featured an article in its Winter 1993 issue, titled “The Big Sur ‘UFO’: An Identified Flying Object”, written by Kingston A. George. In 1964, George had been the project engineer for the experimental telescopic-tracking and filming of missile launches at the Big Sur site. In that role he had worked directly with Bob Jacobs.

Given CSICOP’s well-established position of debunking all UFO sightings, it is not too difficult to guess the tone of George’s article. He begins by dismissing Jacobs’ “weird claims” and then offers an alternate, prosaic explanation for the events captured on the film in question.

George claimed that the supposed UFO that Jacobs had inadvertently filmed was actually an experimental package of decoys, housed in the missile’s nosecone, designed to be released in flight to confuse Soviet radar as they flew along near the actual nuclear warhead. This would make it more difficult for Russian anti-missile missiles to shoot down the incoming threat. According to George, it was these released decoys that Jacobs mistook for a UFO.

And how did George know this? He claims he viewed and analyzed the specific film “weeks later”, after Jacobs and Mansmann had already screened it. Therefore, George insists, he unquestionably knew what it showed—and it was definitely not a UFO. The only problem with this assertion is that Mansmann—who by his own account had sole custody of the film—has written that immediately after the screening in his office, the key frames of the projectable 16mm copy of the film, as well as the 35mm original, were signed out to the CIA officers present, who then left the base. Mansmann added that the film was “rushed East on a special aircraft when we released it.”

Consequently, George could not possibly have viewed the same film at Vandenberg AFB “weeks” after the missile launch, as he claimed in his 1993 article in Skeptical Inquirer, because it—both the original and the only copy ever made—had long since left the base.

The fundamental error made by George is that he chose the wrong launch date, mistakenly selecting another one, September 22, 1964. In his 1989 Mutual UFO Journal article, Jacobs had written that his personal missile test log—which he kept after leaving the Air Force—strongly suggested that the launch in question—and the UFO incident—occurred on September 15th.

In an effort to establish the actual launch date I consulted the definitive aerospace history archive, Encyclopedia Astronautica (EA), and reviewed records relating to all Atlas launches at Vandenberg AFB during September 1964. There were two such launches which were noted as:

1964 Sep 15 - 15:27 GMT - ABRES LORV-3 re-entry vehicle test flight Vandenberg Launch Pad: 576A1 – Launch Vehicle: Atlas D 245D

1964 Sep 22 - 13:08 GMT - NTMP KX-19 Target mission Vandenberg Launch Pad: 576A3 - Launch Vehicle: Atlas D 247D

The cumbersome acronyms for the September 15th launch translate to “Advanced Ballistic Re-entry System” and “Low Observable Re-entry Vehicle”. In plain English, this is precisely the type of test described by Bob Jacobs all along. The Air Force had hoped that the warhead, within the RV, would be difficult to distinguish from the cloud of metallic chaff—aluminum foil strips—accompanying it through space. If this test was successful, the experimental system might defeat an enemy’s radar, by effectively rendering invisible the incoming nuclear warhead.

According to Encyclopedia Astronautica, the September 22nd launch—the one picked by George—was designated a “NTMP KX-19 Target” mission, which means Nike Target Missile Program, flight number KX-19. Unlike the earlier test on September 15th, which was designed to evaluate the experimental Re-entry Vehicle itself, the purpose of the target test was to determine whether the U.S. Army group on Kwajalein Atoll would be able to track the RV on radar. It was hoped—if such tests were successful—that incoming Soviet warheads might be targeted with Nike anti-missile missiles.

When I informed Jacobs about the published data, he responded, “Well, Robert, I think you’ve found the launch. The timing is exactly right [according to my personal records]. The date, September 15th, is one of the three [possible dates that] I mentioned. I never believed the launch took place on September 22nd, which is what George keeps saying. The stated mission of that launch had nothing to do with the experiment we were doing the day of the incident. We were testing a re-entry vehicle, just as [the published summary] says.”

I gently challenged Jacobs on this point, to gauge his level of certainty. His response was emphatic, “No, we were testing the RV itself. It was not a target test.” He then elaborated, “There were several interesting aspects of the anti-missile-missile tests. This particular one involved a dummy warhead and a bunch of radar-deflecting aluminum chaff. The dummy warhead was targeted to splashdown at Eniwetok Lagoon … As far as I know Kwajalein [played no part in this test] aside from radar tracking. There was no planned Nike launch [involved with it].”

(Significantly, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this article, while a member of the UAP Taskforce, from 2019 to 2021, government whistleblower David Grusch tasked a colleague with finding corroborating evidence for the Big Sur UFO event. That individual had discovered, in a Department of Defense archive, a radar data summary of the launch on that date selected by Jacobs—September 15th—that revealed the apparent tracking of an anomalous object flying near the dummy warhead.)

So, it’s quite clear that Kingston George chose the wrong launch—and the filmed record of it—as the basis for his skeptical attack on Bob Jacobs. But was this an honest error or, on the other hand, part of an intentional effort to cast doubt on Jacobs’ public summary of the Big Sur Incident? After extensive evaluation, I have concluded it was the latter. Indeed, George’s Skeptical Inquirer article is so riddled with other suspicious factual errors that I cannot help but think he was purposefully engaging in disinformation intended to discredit Jacobs. And Dr. Jacobs agrees with this assessment.

Moreover, importantly, Kingston George devotes not a single word to Dr. Florenze Mansmann’s unreserved endorsement of Jacobs’ published account of the Big Sur UFO Incident. Perhaps George was unaware that, by the time he wrote his debunking article in SI, Mansmann had already admitted to several people that Jacobs’ account was completely factual.

Regardless, a full exposé of George’s demonstrable misstatements, misquotes of Jacobs’ published commentary, and off-base assertions appears in my 2007 article, “A Shot Across the Bow: Another Look at the Big Sur Incident”, published by the Center for UFO Studies.

My suggestion that George may have deliberately, unfairly tried to spin the facts to cast doubt on Jacobs’ credibility is not just idle speculation. Indeed, George’s choice of publisher for his article is, I think, telling. Although not widely known, the person orchestrating George’s attempted debunking of the Big Sur UFO Incident, leading CSICOP/CSI member and Skeptical Inquirer magazine editor Kendrick Frazier, worked for over two decades as a Public Relations Specialist for Sandia National Laboratories, which has been instrumental in manufacturing many of the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons since the 1940s.

Curiously, one has to search diligently to discover this highly-relevant fact, given that the magazine has consistently referred to Frazier only as a “Science Writer” in its Publisher’s Statement, which appears in every issue. Moreover, Frazier chose not to mention his day job as a PR guy for the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program in his online biography, even though an earlier editorial position he held with Science News magazine was readily acknowledged by him. So, for some reason, Frazier seemed to be exceedingly shy about openly admitting his long-term government Public Relations job to his magazine’s readers as well as the general public.

So, to recap, among the top CSICOP/CSI UFO “skeptics” who have publicly blasted Bob Jacobs’ and Florenz Mansmann’s revelations about the Big Sur case we have:

  • A journalist (Klass) who worked for decades for an intelligence community-friendly publication, Aviation Week, and who privately cited as personal references two of the top figures in the NSA and CIA
  • A former Air Force officer (Oberg) whose job included protecting nuclear weapons-related secrets
  • A long-time Public Relations Specialist (Frazier) who worked for the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program for more than 20 years.

Supposedly, all three of these individuals object to Jacobs and Mansmann’s unauthorized disclosures about the still-Top Secret incident only because they are “skeptical” that it actually happened.

Yeah, right!

Part 3 of this article will be posted soon. It examines other incidents of UFOs closely monitoring US missile launches, as confirmed by declassified documents, military witness testimony, and various, credible media accounts. In short, the Big Sur event was not unique.

Over the past four decades, I have interviewed more than 160 U.S. Air Force veterans regarding their involvement in UFO incidents at nuclear weapons sites. An overview of the key cases is presented in my documentary film; a more comprehensive summary of the UFO-Nukes Connection may be found in my book. Declassified documents relating to some of these incidents are also available.

CNN live-streamed my September 27, 2010 press conference in Washington D.C. During that event, seven retired Air Force officers divulged that UFOs have monitored and even shut down our nuclear missiles for decades.

An article containing the veterans' affidavits as well as a small cross-section of nukes-related documents: The UFOs-Nukes Connection Press Conference

The full-length video of the event: