Saucer Bureaucracy 

The UFO guy comes to Boise

Robert Hastings has an important news flash for Idahoans. "Our military," the speaker and researcher begins, "has not yet developed any aircraft that can go 2,000 miles an hour in one direction, stop on a dime and reverse direction." Not a surprise? This might be: thousands of craft with precisely those capabilities have been spotted, tracked and sometimes forcefully engaged while hovering surreptitiously around America's nuclear weapons bases. You may not believe in it, but your government does, and has for almost 50 years. Hastings can prove that part beyond any reasonable doubt.

For almost 25 years, Hastings has made a living that sounds almost too easy to be a real job. He relays, through lectures at colleges and universities, piles of government data that is free and easily available to any citizen with a home address and a sense of curiosity. He also calls the people in the documents, be they retired military personnel or FAA air traffic controllers, to verify their stories. That's it. Consider him the Matthew Lesko (that guy with the question marks on his suit) of UFOs. The passkey to his world is the Freedom of Information Act of 1966. This act allows Hastings, or anyone else, access to millions of pages of previously classified information from the CIA, FBI and all branches of the military--and at least 10,000 of the pages relate, in no uncertain terms, to governmental encounters with aircraft straight out of War of the Worlds.

"I don't pretend to know the rhyme or reason of the sightings, or why a given area is more prone to them at a particular time than others," he promises. "But the fact remains that flying discs, or saucers or UFOs have demonstrated a decades-long interest in the U.S. nuclear weapons program." Hastings first experienced this phenomena in 1967, at the nuke stronghold of Malmstrom Air Force Base in western Montana, when only a 17-year-old self-described "Air Force brat." While hanging out in the air control tower one evening, he was shocked to learn that five nearby UFOs were being tracked on radar. Fighter jets were launched to intercept them, but the craft performed a vertical ascent at speeds beyond any human capability and escaped. From that moment, Hastings' path was clear.

At age 23, he began interviewing retired military personnel about UFOs, albeit merely "for my own curiosity." By age 30, he had compiled enough documents and witness accounts that his attitude had changed. "I began to conclude that this is a legitimate issue for public awareness, despite the ongoing position of the military intelligence and national security communities that the public should be kept in the dark about it," he explains. Hastings has spent the ensuing years formulating and continually updating his lecture, "UFOs: The Hidden History," a 90-minute slide show about the most striking and undisputable UFO encounters from the 1950s to today--and rest assured, there are many, many encounters still being reported today.

Attendees of Hastings' November 15 presentation at Boise State will come away with an excess of the most scintillating type of water cooler stories, including fighter/UFO dogfights, nuclear launch sequences that mysteriously start themselves and UFO crashes on government property. But even if you can't muster the $1 entry fee, plan on hearing a lot more from Hastings and his contacts in the near future. Peter Jennings Productions is currently in production of a two-hour primetime documentary, set to broadcast on ABC in early 2005, exclusively about military UFO encounters and utilizing many of Hastings' interviewees.

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