From his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash., Hansen says formulaic thinking still permeates the old-guard media. “Th(e Disclosure Project) was a remarkable story, with men at a high level breaking their security oaths,” Hansen says. “Local and regional media around the country treated it as a straightforward item, but the national networks, PBS, they virtually ignored it.
“This story could be covered right now. ’60 Minutes’ could blow the lid off it by interviewing retired airline pilots who aren’t afraid to talk about incidents and near-misses. But the major media is waiting for the green light from the White House or the Pentagon.”
However, Patrick Huyghe, author of The Swamp Gas Times: My Two Decades on the UFO Beat, says news-gatherers may eventually have to confront the phenomenon, whether they want to or not. He cites the July 15 UFO reports near Carteret, N.J., as a potential scenario.
Shortly after midnight, FAA radar at nearby Newark International Airport began tracking more than a dozen airborne lights that appeared to fly in shifting formations. Motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike pulled over to watch the air show; more than 100 witnesses were identified. A Freedom of Information Act request by the National Institute for Discovery Science in Las Vegas discovered none of the objects on the radar scopes had transponders.
“Now, imagine if something like that had happened over a major metropolitan area two months later, after 9/11, when we were all on a heightened state of alert,” says Huyghe from his home in New York. “At least during the Cold War, the Soviets never struck us on American soil. The terrorists have demonstrated their capacity to do just that. When we have another Carteret-type incident, can the media afford to throw it off and say, ‘Oh, it’s just UFOs’? I don’t think so.”
Even in that event, Hansen suspects the security apparatus would remain intractable:
“It may just come down to the fact that they don’t know what’s going on, that maybe this is happening and they can’t do anything about it. But that’s an unacceptable public position when you’re trying to project an image of being in control. We found out on Sept. 11 they’re not.”