The Condon Report

The Condon Committee was the informal name of the University of Colorado UFO Project, a group funded by the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1968 to study unidentified flying objects under the direction of physicist Edward Condon.

The Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects appeared in 1968. After examining hundreds of UFO files from the Air Force's Project Blue Book and from the civilian UFO groups National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), and investigating sightings reported during the life of the project, the committee produced a final report. Dr. Condon wrote in his conclusions that the study of UFOs was unlikely to yield major scientific discoveries. The report was generally welcomed by the Air Force and the scientific community. As a result, project Blue Book was terminated.

In January 1967, Condon said in a lecture that he thought the government should not study UFO's because the subject was 'nonsense', adding: "but I'm not supposed to reach that conclusion for another year."

In July 1967, James E. McDonald found a memo that read:
"... Our study would be conducted almost exclusively by non-believers who, although they couldn't possibly prove a negative result, could and probably would add an impressive body of evidence that there is no reality to the observations. The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of nonbelievers trying their best to be objective, but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer."

In his introductory "Conclusions and Recommendations", Condon wrote: "Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby."

"The facts that Condon and some members of his staff had secret meetings with some members of the Central Intelligence Agency, that the CIA contributed to the work of the Colorado Project, and that these facts are not revealed in the Condon Report, raise troubling questions." - Dr. Peter Sturrock Dr. Allen Hynek described the Report as "voluminous, rambling, poorly organized" and wrote that "less than half... was addressed to the investigation of UFO reports." In December 1969, physicist James McDonald called the report "inadequate" and said "it represents an examination of only a tiny fraction of the most puzzling UFO reports of the past two decades, and that its level of scientific argumentation is wholly unsatisfactory."

Astrophysicist Peter Sturrock wrote that "critical reviews... came from scientists who had actually carried out research in the UFO area, while the laudatory reviews came from scientists who had not carried out such research." As an example, Sturrock noted a case in which an allegedly supersonic UFO did not produce a sonic boom. He notes that "we should not assume that a more advanced civilization could not find some way at traveling with supersonic speeds without producing a sonic boom."

Those who bothered to read the entire report found that one-third of the cases examined remained unexplained, and scientist-critics would later note that even some of the "explained" reports were unconvincingly accounted for. An example is were the report said of the 1956 Lakenheath-Bentwaters incident: "In conclusion, although conventional or natural explanations certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high."
About case 2 in the report: "The UFO appeared to circle around behind the aircraft and followed it in spite of the pilot's evasive maneuvers. Contact was broken when the aircraft returned to base, low on fuel. The preponderance of evidence indicates the possibility of a genuine UFO in this case."