By Francis L. Ridge, 24 March 2006
Quote from the report:
“The Robertson Panel first met formally on January 14, 1953 under the direction of Howard Percy Robertson. He was a physicist, a CIA employee and director of the Defense Department Weapons Evaluation Group.
Other panel members were respected scientists and military personnel who had worked on other classified military projects or studies. All were then skeptical of UFO reports, though to varying degrees:
Louis Alvarez, physicist (and later, a Nobel Prize winner)
Frederick C. Durant, missile expert
Samuel A. Goudsmit, Brookhaven National Laboratories physicist
Thornton Page, astrophysicist, deputy director of Johns Hopkins Operations Research Office.
Lloyd Berkner, physicist and J. Allen Hynek, astronomer, were associate panel members.
The Robertson Panel’s official report concluded that 90 percent of UFO sightings could be readily identified with meteorological, astronomical, or natural phenomena, and that the remaining 10 percent of UFO reports could, in all likelyhood, be similarly explained with detailed study. It was suggested that witnesses had misidentified bright stars and planets, meteors, auroras, mirages, atmospheric temperature inversions, and lenticular clouds; other sightings were judged as likely misinterpretation of conventional aircraft, weather balloons, birds, searchlights, kites, and other phenomena.
Furthermore, the Panel suggested the Air Force should begin a ‘debunking’ effort to reduce ‘public gullibility’ and demystify UFO reports. The panel suggested a public relations campaign, using psychiatrists, astronomers and assorted celebrities to significantly reduce public interest in UFOs. It was also recommended that the mass media be used for the debunking, including influential media giants like Walt Disney Corporation.
Their formal recommendation stated ‘That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired.’ ”