Project Blue Book
The Robertson Panel Report

In their final report, the Robertson Panel stressed that low-grade UFO reports were overloading the intelligence agencies, with the risk of missing a genuine conventional threat to the United States. They recommended the USAF place less emphasis on the subject of UFOs and embark on a debunking campaign to lessen public interest.

They suggested debunking be undertaken through the mass media, including The Walt Disney Company, and using psychologists, astronomers, and celebrities to ridicule the UFO phenomenon and put forward prosaic explanations.

Civilian UFO groups "should be watched because of their potentially great influence on mass thinking. . . The apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind."

In brief, the Robertson Panel was recommending controlling public opinion through a program of official propaganda and spying. Many ufologists believe that these recommendations shaped Air Force policy regarding UFO study not only immediately afterwards, but also into the present day (there is evidence that the Panel's recommendations were carried out at least two decades after its conclusions were issued).

In his book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects” Ruppelt described the demoralization of the Project Blue Book staff and the stripping of their investigative duties following the Robertson Panel. As an immediate consequence of the Panel's recommendations, in February 1953, the Air Force issued Regulation 200-2, ordering air base officers to publicly discuss UFO incidents only if they were judged to have been solved, and to classify all the unsolved cases to keep them out of the public eye.

The same month, investigative duties started to be taken on by the newly formed 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron (AISS) of the Air Defense Command. The 4602nd AISS was tasked with investigating only the most important UFO cases with intelligence or national security implications. These were deliberately siphoned away from Project Blue Book after the Robertson Panel recommendations leaving Project Blue Book to deal with the more trivial reports.

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