Coalition for Freedom of Information Seeks NASA Records of
Mysterious 1965 Pennsylvania UFO Incident
On the eve of President
Bush's expected announcement about a new initiative with NASA, the
Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFi) with support from SCI FI
Channel, has announced the filing of a lawsuit against the space
agency in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The
filing comes as a result of the government agency's refusal to
release its records concerning the 1965 UFO incident near
Kecksburg, PA. Today is the 38th anniversary of the incident.
"Our lawsuit is aimed at getting NASA to tell the public what it
knew and when it knew it," said Ed Rothschild, Executive Director
The lawsuit against NASA is the first of several against
government agencies, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and
the Department of Defense, which have been stonewalling efforts to
obtain records on the Kecksburg incident under the Freedom of
Information Act. John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President
Clinton and member of the 1997 Moynihan Commission on Protecting
and Reducing Government Secrecy, supports the effort stating that
the public has a right to know and that the government should
disclose what happened in Kecksburg.
"Although NASA has
released 36 pages of documents, none of those documents pertain to
any investigation of the incident by NASA or to related projects
within the agency that could shed light on the Kecksburg incident,"
said Lee Helfrich of Lobel, Novins and Lamont, the Washington
attorney filing the suit.
"Furthermore," said Helfrich, "Leslie Kean, Director of
Investigations for CFi, clearly demonstrated that NASA has
documents responsive to the specific requests she made in CFi's
Freedom of Information Act request, but NASA has failed for nearly
a year to produce any relevant documents."
On December 9, 1965, witnesses in and near Kecksburg described
seeing a fireball in the evening sky, a controlled landing and the
systematic military recovery of an object. As reported by local
radio and newspapers, U.S. military personnel cordoned off the
area, investigated the site, and left without ever providing a full
report of the incident other than to dismiss it as a meteor.
A year ago, SCI FI Channel and the CFi initiated an effort to
obtain classified and other government documents on the Kecksburg
"Since last year, we have supported archivists, researchers and
scientists, as well as partnered with investigative reporter Leslie
Kean and attorney Lee Helfrich in order to obtain NASA's records in
this nearly 40-year old case," said Bonnie Hammer, SCI FI Channel
"Now, one year later, despite our serious effort to uncover the
facts, NASA still refuses to provide the public with any
information," said Hammer. "That is why, today, we are supporting
CFi's lawsuit. We are hopeful that our legal system will help us
find out what really happened in the woods outside Kecksburg."
As Podesta stated in SCI FI Channel's Kecksburg documentary,
"Certainly having the military descend on a United States town,
holding people at gunpoint, is not the ordinary way we do business
in this country. People should have an explanation about what
triggered that sort of military response ... so that people can
judge for themselves whether it was appropriate."
"The public has a right to know what happened in Kecksburg,"
concluded Kean. "Government agencies have an obligation to make
public what they know. Instead of a willingness to open up files
that rightfully belong to the American people, government
bureaucrats are making it as difficult and time-consuming as they
can to uncover the facts. We will persevere until we get
In addition to broadcasting landmark documentary programming,
the SCI FI Channel is currently lobbying Congress to gain support
for more scientific inquiry into these issues. It will premiere UFO
INVASION AT RENDLESHAM, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, on December 12, a
new two-hour special that exposes one of the most notorious UFO
incidents of the 20th century.