The Intruders Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to the investigation of UFO abductions. However, every now and then, the UFO field as a whole is roiled by dramatic new developments that threaten to influence us all, necessitating IF’s attention. The Paul Hellyer case is one such development, one that many believed would set off a series of events that would lead to the official UFO cover-up being exposed. Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian Minister of Defense, stated in the fall and winter of 2005 that he believes the UFO phenomenon is extraterrestrial in origin and that it reflects the interest of intelligent, non-human species in our planet and its people. This was obviously big news because of Hellyer’s previous position. It was almost as if Robert MacNamara, the former “American Minister of Defense,” had gone to the press to make such a statement. Hellyer was knowledgeable and confident, but the more one knew about his UFO perspective and its history, the more concerned one became.
When Mr. Hellyer’s title was changed to “former Minister of Defense,” I assumed he was providing top-secret, official information regarding UFOs that he had access to during his time in the Ministry. This was not the case, unfortunately. In truth, he had developed his opinion just recently, owing to his study of Colonel Philip Corso’s “The Day After Roswell,” a highly contentious book. We also learnt that Paul Hellyer served as Canada’s Minister of Defense for nearly four decades, and that his new viewpoint on the UFO phenomenon crystallized when he was in his nineties. Now, his age obviously doesn’t preclude his view on this, or anything else for that matter (in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll be 75 on my next birthday), but his reliance on the infamous Corso book raised a wildly flapping red flag for me.

Hellyer made his acceptance of UFO truth public during a “exopolitics” symposium, which he allegedly chose to attend because Alfred Webre was scheduled to speak. Webre’s belief in some type of Grand Governing Body, made up of all the intelligent beings who reside on the universe’s livable planets, captivated the former Minister, who had read one of his books. Webre argued that the extraterrestrials are upset with the black sheep earthlings’ actions and have placed us in quarantine until we change our ways and become more spiritual. Or at least that’s how the narrative goes, because the sole proof for it comes from a small group of channelers and remote watchers who lean heavily toward standard New Age theology. So the Hellyer saga boils down to this: he read Philip Corso’s and Alfred Webre’s works late in life, accepted them without question, and as a result suffered a quasi-religious conversion. However, problems come for the rest of us when Hellyer appears before the national media – a cynical bunch at best – and references some of the more absurd and indefensible Corso claims as proof of UFO existence. No other proof is required!

I republish below my 1997 review of Colonel Philip J. Corso’s book, “The Day After Roswell,” by co-author William J. Birnes, to present a more complete analysis of Corso’s book and its inherent issues.

So this is what I wrote in IF Bulletin Number 5 nine years ago. I encountered Col. Corso a little time later in San Marino, Italy, and was able to interview him. I was annoyed and irritated by what I saw to be his stonewalling during our videotaped conversation. Despite the fact that he claimed to be aware that his book did not contain the name of anyone who could aid corroborate his claim of saving the planet on his own, he refused to offer the name of any corroborating witness. He said, as though retaining a lofty moral posture, “I never give out a name unless I have that person’s permission.” I pointed out that the climax events he’d written about had occurred 36 years ago; the Cold War had been gone for over a decade; and many of people he claimed to have dealt with, such as General Trudeau, may have died since then. In any event, I added that being recognized as having contributed to the preservation of planet Earth and the very existence of one’s species might be welcomed by some of these people. Despite this, he was adamant. He refused to give any names.

Corso’s seeming absolute acceptance of everything the Russian intelligence agents informed him regarding various American state and military secrets was the subject of one of our discussions. The purportedly verbatim report of a very confidential conversation Harry Truman had with high officials in the White House immediately after the Roswell incident, which I highlighted in my review, was one such example. When I pointed out that his willingness to believe the Russian spy’s detailed narrative made him appear gullible, he claimed that he had been able to “verify” the Russian allegations’ truth with “other sources.” But his late-game defense of what appeared to be extraordinary credulity exposed him to yet another unsettling – and potentially serious – allegation. If he actually trusted the Russians’ detailed descriptions of secret White House talks, his acceptance implied one of two things: either the White House was bugged or there was a Russian mole at the highest level. In either case, he would have known that no American secrets were safe, and it would have been his responsibility to quickly disclose such a security breach. I believe he would have faced court martial or criminal prosecution if he had failed to sound the alarm. Unfortunately, there is no indication that he ever informed anybody about Russia’s frightening capabilities, even after claiming to be a member of the National Security Council (NSC) and frequenting the Oval Office. In retrospect, logic dictates that if we are to acquit the Colonel of indirectly aiding enemy espionage, we must accept the more obvious explanation: that he simply invented the secret Harry Truman conversations, the Russian spies, and the entire elaborate story in order to give his story a little more Rambo-like zing.

I implored Col. Corso to name, or at least describe, some of these rambunctious Russian spies now that the Russian government had opened the KGB files. He declined once more. He claimed he couldn’t recall any names and that the spy “looked exactly like Americans.” He couldn’t recollect any identifying characteristics about them, and he couldn’t recall where he used to meet with them to learn about their latest Oval Office discoveries.

Stanton Friedman, a friend and colleague, is an adept in locating official records and validating – or discrediting – the credentials claimed by UFO researchers. He made the following arguments in response to my questions about Colonel Corso:

I received a letter from the Eisenhower Library confirming that Corso had never served on the National Security Council, despite swearing to it before attorney Peter Gersten.
In response to his claim that he was chief of the army’s Foreign Technology Division in the 1960s, I received a list of people who worked under General Trudeau in the mid-1960s. It was made up of four two-column legal-sized pages. There was an Army Foreign Technology Division, and the roster said that it had two members, with Corso serving as the junior officer [rather than the chief, as he had claimed -BH]. There were dozens of persons working in the US Air Force Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, many of whom were engineers and scientists. In the early 1960s, I paid several trips to the group. Knowing its members, I find it hard to imagine they had wreckage in 1947 and did nothing with it.
Corso was neither a scientist nor an engineer, therefore I’m not sure how he was able to introduce so much modern technology into industry. He would have had no idea what he was talking about. He claimed credit for microcircuits, despite the fact that Jack Kilby received a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on microcircuits in 1959, two years before Corso claimed to have started the clandestine reverse-engineering process.
At this point, it’s safe to state that Corso’s story is a shambles, and Paul Hellyer’s use of it to persuade journalists and the broader public of UFO existence is a doomed, self-destructive endeavor. Regarding the major points raised by Corso, my own position is as follows: The evidence is apparent to me that at least one UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947, and that the wreckage and bodies were recovered. I presume that the process of analyzing and reverse-engineering that one-of-a-kind material would have started almost immediately, and that it is still going on today. It appears that at least some current technology advances are the result of painstaking, methodical reverse-engineering that began more than fifty years ago – work that Philip J. Corso had nothing to do with. I categorically deny his assertion that he was able to “rescue our country, our planet, and our species” almost entirely on his own. On the other hand, there’s no denying that Corso had a massive ego and a vivid imagination, but I tend to blame many of the gung-ho, pot-boiler passages in his book on his co-author, William Birnes, a writer who appears to be more accustomed to such garish style.

Before I leave the depressing subject of Philip J. Corso, I’d want to share one more personal anecdote. Maurizio Baiata, an Italian UFO researcher, became acquainted with me during my journey to the conference in San Marino, where I met and interviewed the Colonel. Maurizio struck me as a pleasant and knowledgeable man – and an avid Corso supporter. Of course, Maurizio and I disagreed fully regarding the Colonel’s trustworthiness, but one day Maurizio changed his mind.