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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore - UFOS: Are They for Real?
Aired March 30, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, close encounters with UFOS -- is national security on the line?
High ranking government and military officials from around the world have seen what you won't believe. And they risk their reputations to make the case. They're here.
And so is Shirley MacLaine, who's had her own spacecraft sightings and can't wait for the chance to get on board.
Next on LARRY KING LIVE.
An historic occasion will take place in Washington on Monday. Former high level government employees, military officials and pilots from all over the world will come together. They'll discuss their own UFO sightings and encounters -- and they'll do it at the National Press Club in the nation's capital. Some of them will share their stories for the first time.
This group has gathered together to call on the United States government to take an active role in investigating cases involving unidentified flying objects.
That's the topic of our program here tonight.
Our panel here in Los Angeles, Fife Symington, the former governor of Arizona, who in 1997 ridiculed an infamous UFO sighting by thousands of people in the state and later admitted that he himself saw a craft.
James Fox, the filmmaker who is the executive producer of the award-winning feature length documentary "Out of the Blue" -- the definitive investigation of the UFO phenomenon.
Colonel Chuck Halt, United States Air Force, retired, was the deputy base commander of Bentwaters Woodbridge, a U.S. military base in Suffolk, England. And in 1980, Chuck and his patrol investigated an internationally known UFO encounter in Rendlesham Forest, close to the Bentwaters Woodbridge case. Sergeant Jim Pennison, United States Air Force, retired, was a Woodbridge security supervisor at that base in 1980. He says he sat with a UFO on the ground for 45 minutes before it hovered above him and shot into the air at an unearthly speed.
And in Copenhagen, Denmark is Nick Pope. For 21 years, Nick was a government official for the British Ministry of Defence. From '91 to '94, he ran the British government's UFO project at the Ministry of Defence, where he researched and investigated the UFO phenomenon for the British government.
Fife, are we now saying that the United States is taking this seriously or is this just an event?
FIFE SYMINGTON, FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR, RIDICULED UFOS SIGHTERS THEN ADMITTED HE SAW ONE, TOO: I think the United States is taking it seriously. And they need to. It's long overdue. The issues that James has so courageously tackled with his production deals with, really, the very top sightings around the world. And he's brought this group together for this press conference on Monday. And I think it's a great public service that he's providing.
KING: And you're going to moderate it, right?
SYMINGTON: I'm going to moderate it.
KING: You were certainly a skeptic, right?
SYMINGTON: Originally, I was a skeptic.
KING: And what changed yourself was sighting?
SYMINGTON: Well, I was part of the Phoenix light -- the lights over Phoenix event back in 1997. And I saw a wedge-shaped craft of enormous proportions fly over what we call the Squaw Peak area in Sunny Slope in Phoenix the night of the event. And it was really -- it was something to behold.
KING: James, you haven't sighted it, right?
You just did the film?
JAMES FOX, PRODUCER, UFO DOCUMENTARY, "OUT OF THE BLUE," FORMER SKEPTIC, NOW BELIEVER: Yes. I just did -- I've spoken with a lot of high-ranking military and government officials from several countries.
KING: What did -- what got you involved to even do the film?
FOX: Well, it was an interest I had -- of mine. And I started -- it was a personal investigation, I guess. And I started to document some of this stuff on camera. And the next thing I knew, I ended up with the film.
KING: And will you be...
FOX: Twelve years later.
KING: Will you be there Monday, too?
FOX: Absolutely. Yes.
KING: Are they going to show that film in Washington?
FOX: No, we're not. This is -- this is just to establish the fact that the phenomenon is real and it's happening worldwide.
KING: All right, Colonel Halt, the United States Air Force, retired, was deputy base commander at Bentwaters Woodbridge -- that's the U.S. Military base in Suffolk England, right?
COL. CHARLES HALT, USAF, RETIRED, WITNESSED UFO LANDING IN 1980: That's correct.
KING: Is it still there, that base?
HALT: It's still there, but the base is now closed.
HALT: It's been returned back to its civilian owners and made into counsel housing -- something like Section 8 housing.
KING: What, if anything, did you see?
HALT: I saw some lights I couldn't explain -- very unusual lights. I don't mean just a light like a bulb. I saw something that was oval-shaped -- maybe 10, 12, 14, 16 inches across. It had a black center. It sort of winked and it appeared to be dripping something like molten metal off it. It moved horizontally through the trees, avoiding trees. It occasionally bobbed up and down, a little vertical distance. It came toward us at one point. It receded. We were very concerned. We tried to approach it to see if we could get close enough to discern what it was.
It actually moved out into a farmer's field beyond us. We got up to the edge of the field. We looked at the object, watched it for a few minutes. I was very concerned because the object was illuminating the farmhouse behind it and I wasn't sure whether there was some damage being inflicted on the people that lived there or what.
Suddenly the object just exploded silently into five white objects and it disappeared.
KING: What time of day?
HALT: This was about two or three o'clock in the morning.
KING: Did you report it?
HALT: Oh, my, yes.
FOX: One thing I want to say quickly is that I think the objects overhead were far more interesting.
FOX: Your next -- the next series of events...
HALT: While we were in the field investigating -- and we were actually looking for the burn marks on the ground from what was apparently dripping off this object -- we noticed three objects in the north in the sky. They initially were elliptical. They were illuminated with multiple lights and were moving at high speed in sharp, angular patterns.
We noticed two objects to the south. One of them approached us at very high speed and sent down a beam -- I would equate it now to a laser beam -- at our feet.
KING: Who is the we, Colonel?
HALT: There were five of us. I took five people out to investigate.
KING: What did your command superiors say?
HALT: At that time, my superiors were silent. It was two or three o'clock in the morning. I was communicating with the command post. I did take an audio tape. In fact, I brought the original tape recorder with me. It's a little Lanier tape recorder that I carried around the base. And I made a tape recording which is about 15 or 20 minutes long. It's rather famous now.
KING: And did you play it for them?
HALT: Oh, definitely. I played it the next day.
KING: Well, what did they say?
HALT: Well, my -- my boss took it to the third Air Force commander, to the staff meeting the following Wednesday and played it for the staff. The reaction of the staff, from what I'm told, is they didn't know what to do. And the general at that time said well, it happened off the installation, it's a British matter. Let the British handle it.
KING: Were you there, Sergeant Penniston?
SGT. JIM PENNISTON, USAF RETIRED, WITNESSED UFO LANDING IN 1980: I was there on the first night. I went off base to check out a possible aircraft downing. I thought it was an aircraft crash. And I took a team with me. And when we got to the wooded line off the east gate, we discovered a craft of unknown origin. It was triangular in shape.
KING: On the ground?
PENNISTON: On the ground.
KING: Did you touch it?
PENNISTON: We touched it, walked around it, photographed it. We did a full investigation of it on the ground for 45 minutes.
KING: Any sign of anything in it?
PENNISTON: There was no exterior openings, no crew compartments, no intakes, no engine compartment that I could observe. It was a very smooth fabric craft. It was black in color with lighting running through the fabric of the craft.
KING: Were you frightened?
PENNISTON: Yes, it was -- I was very concerned.
FOX: Where's your logbooks?
Can you show the symbols on it?
PENNISTON: In my logbook...
FOX: You know in your logbook, with the symbols on it?
PENNISTON: Yes. As long as I -- when I was taking notes, it was progressively, it got worse. As a matter of fact, you can barely read my writing by...
KING: And then it took off, right?
PENNISTON: After 45 minutes, then it powered up with lightning and went to tree level and, took off and...
KING: Did it make a sound like an engine?
PENNISTON: Absolutely no sound and no air displacement.
KING: Just up?
PENNISTON: Up and gone.
FOX: And the symbols -- I think they're showing the symbols right now.
KING: Yes, there it is. The symbols.
We'll check in with Nick Pope in a moment.
We'll be back with more right after this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, ORIGINAL FIELD RECORDING, MADE BY LT. COL. CHARLES HALT, BENTWATERS, ENGLAND, DESCRIBE, 1980)
LT. COL. HALT: There's no doubt about it, there's some type of strange flashing red light ahead (INAUDIBLE).
SGT. NEVILLES: Yes, it's yellow.
HALT: I saw a yellow tinge in it too. Weird. It appears to be making movement a little bit this way. It's brighter than it has been.
SGT. NEVILLES: Yellow.
HALT: It's coming this way. It is definitely coming this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we check in with Nick Pope in Copenhagen, Colonel Halt investigated the area days later. He's here with us now. Colonel Halt ended up seeing something himself.
Listen to this audio tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, ORIGINAL FIELD RECORDING, MADE BY LT. COL. CHARLES HALT, BENTWATERS, ENGLAND, DESCRIBE, 1980)
LT. COL. HALT: There's no doubt about it, there's some type of strange flashing red light ahead.
SGT. NEVILLES: Yes, it's yellow.
LT. COL. HALT: I saw a yellow tinge in it too. Weird. It appears to be making movement a little bit this way. It's brighter than it has been.
SGT. NEVILLES: Yellow.
LT. COL. HALT: It's coming this way. It is definitely coming this way.
Now we've got an object about 10 degrees directly south. Ten degrees off the horizon...
SGT. NEVILLES: There's one to the left.
LT. COL. HALT: ...and the ones to the north are moving, one's moving away from us.
SGT. NEVILLES: It's moving out fast.
MSGT. BALL: There's one on the right heading away too.
LT. COL. HALT: Yes, they're both heading north.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: And we have with us -- he brought it along, Colonel Halt's notes that he kept while this was going on, right?
FOX: Actually, that's Sergeant Penniston's notes.
KING: Oh, your notes?
KING: I'm sorry, Chuck.
It was Sergeant Penniston's notes.
You kept these while you were viewing this thing? PENNISTON: Yes. We had needed the times and that for, you know, our log entries and stuff like that. It's routine. Yes.
FOX: You missed the symbols on that. The symbols are so fascinating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Routine activities, not a routine event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
KING: Let's check in with Nick Pope in Copenhagen -- 21 years a government official for the British Ministry of Defence.
Nick, what do you make of all of this?
NICK POPE, FORMER OFFICIAL, U.K. (PH) MINISTRY OF DEFENCE: Well, the Rendlesham Forest case was certainly one of the most compelling UFO incidents in the British government's files on this. And, critically, one of the very important things about this case is that -- I don't know if the colonel has spoken about the radiation readings that were taken at the landing site. Well, the British government's defense intelligence staff subsequently assessed those radiation readings at significantly higher than background levels. So there was a real tangible, solid, piece of evidence to back up this extraordinary testimony.
KING: Nick, does the British government take the same position of the United States government, as if to say it doesn't exist?
POPE: Well, the position is broadly similar. But having said that, the Ministry of Defence still does have a small UFO project, although investigations are somewhat on the back burner these days. But, you know, I think there are still cases being reported to the government. There are still, for example, many reports coming in from pilots -- reports of UFOs being tracked on radar. And the Ministry of Defence says that it keeps an open mind about the UFO phenomenon.
KING: Fife, what do you believe?
Do you believe there is life somewhere else?
SYMINGTON: I would be astonished to find out -- if it were possible -- that we were alone in the universe.
KING: Do you think...
SYMINGTON: I just, you know, we're this wonderful planet in the Milky Way surrounded by billions of objects. And the universe is such a big place. I just think that you have to be open to that possibility.
KING: Isn't it also open to the possibility, James, that this was just phenomenon?
FOX: Well, yes, they're definitely phenomenon. But I mean I think the people in a position to know what's really going on are about to disclose that on November 12th at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. And hopefully (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: You're saying the government is going to disclose something?
FOX: Government officials from seven countries -- military and government officials.
KING: Will disclose on Monday?
FOX: Yes, they will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's -- this is an unprecedented gathering of top officials.
KING: Why now, Colonel Halt?
HALT: I think there's greater acceptance now that there really is something there, despite the fact there's kind of a stigma that goes with UFOs.
KING: Do you believe that, too, Sergeant -- they're ready to come across and say at least there's something?
PENNISTON: I think it's unavoidable right now. I think that there's been so much cases and so many points made over the last 20 years, I think it's overwhelming.
KING: Nick, do you think the British government is ready?
POPE: Yes, I think so. I think part of the problem with all of this is the stigma that's sometimes attached simply to the world UFO. And some colleagues and I at the Ministry of Defence actually tried to do away with that term and replaced it with unidentified aerial phenomena, because we were certainly convinced that there were some serious defense, national security and flight safety issues here, even though we didn't know what the UFO phenomenon actually was.
KING: What did this do to your head, Jim?
PENNISTON: Well, I'll tell you what, it was a very difficult situation. And it had a terrible effect on, also, the airmen that were out there with me. Some won't go on camera. Some will not talk about it today. I think that it would probably cause a lot of -- it -- I had problems with, you know, Post-Traumatic Stress after it, that type of thing.
KING: Sure. Psyche.
PENNISTON: Yes. It was -- it was a very traumatic experience.
KING: We've got lots more to go. Our complete program tonight is devoted to unidentified flying objects. We'll interrupt our panel.
We've been talking with military officials about UFOs.
Coming up, we'll ask Shirley MacLaine what she thinks about these reports.
That's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Did you see a UFO?
REP DENNIS KUCINICH (OH) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did.
PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: I don't really know what happened to it. I saw one, but I don't know what -- it just disappeared.
JOHN PODESTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It's time to find out what -- what the truth really is that's out there.
PRESIDENT GERALD FORD, NOVEMBER 2000: That such an investigation be taken...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "OUT OF THE BLUE," COURTESY JAMES FOX/HANNOVER HOUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of them is coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will return him to you eventually -- and the police officer, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And that was from a movie. Don't take this as war of the worlds.
Don't go panicking out into the streets.
KING: She's an old and dear friend, and one of the more talented people on the American scene. Shirley MacLaine, the Oscar-winning actress, author of a new book, "Sageing While Aging." All of her books are major best-sellers. There you see its cover. There's a lot in this book that we are not into tonight, but we're going to discuss one aspect of it -- which is UFOS, fitting our subject tonight.
By the way, Shirley came up during a recent Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia.
Tim Russert is asking Representative Kucinich about MacLaine's book.
(NO CLIP APPEARS)
KING: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought we had it. They've lied to me again.
Anyway, many people react with laughter when they hear people talk about UFOs.
How do you explain that?
SHIRLEY MACLAINE, ACTRESS, BELIEVES IN UFOS, HOPES TO BOARD ONE: I don't know. I think the unknown is traumatizing to people. I think we do have a built in DNA of fear. One of the reasons I'm so interested in all of this -- I'll tell you how I got interested in a minute, if you want to know. But I think the consciousness of how we relate to this phenomenon and the consciousness of change that happened to people who were taken aboard crafts -- because I've talked to a lot of them...
KING: Like the sergeant said he's never been the same.
MACLAINE: He was afraid. The whole idea of what induces fear is something they talk about a lot. It's -- to me, I don't want to get into arguments are they real or not anymore. I've had too much experience talking to people all over the world -- particularly in Peru -- who have satisfied me. But what...
KING: So you believe in them?
MACLAINE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I think maybe the problem with accepting it and the need to have a kind of curtain of humiliation drawn is that it confounds us relating to our religion and our belief in God.
But what I've found with the people -- and I worked a lot with Johnny Mack, the head of the psychiatry at Harvard, an old friend of mine -- a wonderful man. And he said that we have to get clear in our own heads and our own consciousness what God is.
KING: And do you think this sort of to people -- it tells us there is no God because there's (INAUDIBLE)...
MACLAINE: The opposite there. The opposite. Because what they've told me is they're being taught two things. They're being taught that we are trashing the planet in a fierce way. Be careful. Then we're being taught that they, too -- even though they may be extremely superior in many technological ways, they're trying to teach us about the superiority of our technical spirits and knowledge that we haven't even touched.
KING: Why do you think -- just think. They don't land in downtown Washington.
MACLAINE: Well, listen. I was 18-years-old, Arlington, Virginia -- where we lived. UFOS buzzed the Capitol and buzzed the White House on July 19, 1952. I recorded it in my diary. No one knew what it was. The switchboards lit up. Everybody was confused. A few days later, Truman -- who was president then, had General Sanford go on television -- I have the kinescope, actually -- and say, look, they're not ours and they're not Russians. We don't know what they are.
KING: And you've got the form that Jimmy Carter filled out?
MACLAINE: Yes. I found the actual one where he's got all of his handwritten...
KING: Well, he saw a sighting.
MACLAINE: Oh, sure. Well, a lot of people...
KING: And you've got -- the Vatican said something?
MACLAINE: Yes. Now, this is interest in relation to the question and problem of religion and God. Padre Balducci -- a wonderful man, Monsignor Balducci -- very close to each pope. He has come out with a statement. You see how thick it is, so I can't read it. They're real, they have discussed what to do about it. Vatican intelligence would really like to discuss it.
That's the problem here. We need the governments to reveal these files. The Chinese have done it. The Brazilians have done it. The French did it about a month ago and it so lit up their switchboard it crashed their Net.
So I think the people are way ahead of military intelligence.
KING: Well, what is the -- since they're not attacking us and they have been seen for years, what's the fear?
What's the government's fear?
MACLAINE: That's an interesting question. I've been working with Paul Hillard. He's the minister -- the ex-minister of defense, Canada, under Trudeau. He is upset because the Americans are planning the weaponization of space, as though they are enemies.
MACLAINE: Yes. And it is very troubling to him. It came out of a project called Project Paper Clip, in which -- and this is what Eisenhower warned us against -- the sustention of the military industrial complex. In order to extend the power and the funding of the military industrial complex, you have to be afraid of things. Number one was communism. If that petered out, number two is terrorism. That's here for a while.
Number three is asteroids.
And number four is extraterrestrials.
So there might be a built in reasoning here to have induced fear just to keep the military industrial complex going.
KING: You've talked to a lot of people over the years, right?
MACLAINE: Oh, yes.
KING: Astronauts, presidents, etc.?
KING: And your belief is firm, right?
MACLAINE: No question.
KING: Do you think we'll ever know, know?
MACLAINE: Yes. And I think there will be sightings and I get the feeling -- and this is where consciousness comes in, because all of these guys who were talking about how they were afraid, etc. -- and I've talked to so many who had these feelings. It's all about feelings. It's all about what goes on in the spirit of your head. I think -- I think, really, the government in this country wants to release this information. Military intelligence does, because I've -- I know some of them. And I think they are watching what happens in terms of the public's reaction.
KING: This conference Monday, then, is important?
MACLAINE: Yes, I think it's important.
KING: Thanks, Shirley.
KING: Shirley MacLaine and her new book. All of her books have been best-sellers. The new one is "Sageing While Aging."
We'll be right back with our panel.
But as we go to break, here is the aforementioned clip, which we didn't have before. Dennis Kucinich in a recent debate explaining to Tim Russert his encounter with a UFO.
MACLAINE: They should ask Governor Richardson. He's the governor of that...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY MSNBC)
TIM RUSSERT, MODERATOR: The godmother of your daughter, Shirley MacLaine, writes in her new book that you've sighted a UFO over her home in Washington State...
(LAUGHTER) RUSSERT: ...that you found the encounter extremely moving, that it was a triangular craft, silent and hovering, that you felt a connection to your heart and heard directions in your mind.
Now, did you see a UFO?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did. And the rest of the account...
KUCINICH: I didn't -- I -- it was an unidentified flying object, OK?
It's like -- it's unidentified. I saw something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's looking at a radar and he sees a big mass of something coming toward his airplane. It goes from his nose to the right and to the back. And it moves and nine or 10 seconds, it goes from six, seven miles in front of him to six to seven, eight miles behind him and back over to the left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back. Our panel remains. Added to it is John Callahan, the former division chief of accidents and investigations branch of the FAA in Washington. He was sworn to secrecy about what we're going to tell you now.
In 1986 a Japanese pilot said he saw twin cylinders flying in formation within 500 feet of his air cargo jet. He claimed the object was the size of two aircraft carriers and it followed him for over 30 minutes. Anchorage air controllers registered a radar target. The U.S. Air Force controllers reported seeing a blip. But moments later it was gone.
This, I imagine, will also be discussed at this big meeting on Monday. John Callahan, what did you make of this?
JOHN CALLAHAN, FMR FAA DIVISION CHIEF: Well, we went up to -- when I got a call from Alaska about what to tell the media that was overrunning their office. When I asked him why, he said, oh, it's that UFO thing but who believes in UFOs? I said, I have no idea what you're talking about. And he went on to explain how the 747 was chased for 31 minutes in Alaska.
So I said, well, tell the media this under investigation and send all of the data, all of the disks, the voice tapes, all of the printouts to the FAA tech center in Atlantic City and we will go up and take a look. I went up to Atlantic City the next day, the FAA tech center the next day and I had the specialist up there play back what the controller seen on his scope, you would call it. And I had him synchronize the voice tapes to the radar so you could hear what was happening and look over the controller's shoulders if you were sitting there.
And a blind man could see there was a target along with that 747 where there shouldn't have been any target. And it came more than once. And when we got all done with that, we had the specialist put out a chart that's about eight or 12 feet long that showed every hit on the radar of the 747 and where the other targets were.
The hardware people got up to explain what we were looking at and they said, there's nothing wrong with the hardware. Everything over here is a software problem. The software people come up and said, there's nothing wrong with the software. Everything you're looking at here is a hardware problem.
KING: All right. And after this incident, you said that Admiral Angle, the then FAA administrator, held a briefing with the members of FBI and CIA and President Reagan's scientific study team. What was the result of that meeting?
CALLAHAN: Well, he set the meeting up and my task was to hand off this event to the Reagan scientific study team because the FAA does not handle UFOs.
KING: And what did they do with it?
CALLAHAN: When we got all done with our briefing, it took a couple of hours, the CIA man stood up and said, this event never happened, we were never here, you're all sworn to secrecy and we are confiscating all of this data.
KING: What do you make of that, Sergeant Penniston, what do you make of that?
PENNISTON: That's exactly what happened with Bentwaters. I don't want to admit - the deniability of it ...
KING: Why Colonel, why deny what it?
HALT: That's puzzled me for years. Very interesting thing, I made a memo up that's now public through no fault of mine. I did not release it is what I'm saying and I fully expected an investigation. I have never, ever been debriefed.
KING: James Fox, who by the way has a new movie in the works called "Beyond the Blue." His early one was "Out of the Blue." why do they deny it, as a layman?
FOX: What you condition the control, why disclose that information? Why worry the public? Their very job is to protect us and yet they have no means to protecting us should these things turn out to be hostile. I'm not saying they are hostile but they have no control of the situation so why control it.
KING: Fife, it is it a bet they dent know don't like to say they don't know?
SYMINGTON: I think that's human nature, wouldn't you, Larry, especially if they are in the charge or in the government. They don't like to admit they are not in control or don't know something because if that's true, there's a high degree of vulnerability out there and the public might get very concerned about that.
KING: Why would so many people like all of yourselves be lying? What's the -- you would be more humiliated, you're kind of laughed at.
SYMINGTON: Well, I think less so now. And that's the purpose of this press conference on Monday with very convincing, new evidence that's going to be put out there. And I, you know, I would hope that the United States government would start another Project Blue book or a very high-level commission that's instituted to really look objectively at these sightings.
FOX: I thought it was very interesting because the air force's official position is they closed, terminated Project Blue Book back in 1969 and they no longer investigate UFO sightings. But you said OSI investigated your case and yet the order came from somewhere else.
HALT: Came from somewhere beyond the base. And it was not known to base officials. It was done through back channel means.
FOX: So they did investigate it. They say they haven't been investigating it since '69 was the official position but they did.
KING: Weird. We'll be back with more of this edition of LARRY KING LIVE as we further investigate the subject of UFOs. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Members of the Mexican Air Force think they could be UFOs. Pilots taped 11 unidentified flying objects over southern parts of the country near the Gulf of Mexico.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not a weather balloon nor an aircraft nor a missile. It is something else which we didn't know what it was.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government likes to have power and that's a powerful thing to keep secret from the masses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had the evidence that a crash did happen here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The red light was sort of passing a glow over the whole thing so it looked like a round disk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People say, Mike, no, you saw a B-2 bomber. My response was we could land all 40 of our B-2 bombers on the wing of that craft.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would go ahead and feel the craft, which was warm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our panel remains. Joining us from Tucson, Arizona, is James McGaha, he is an amateur astronomer and retired United States Air Force pilot and skeptic about all of this.
Now, James, after all you hear and all you see and these responsible people, these are not kooks coming off the street, doesn't that cause you to bend a little?
MAJ. JAMES MCGAHA, USAF (RET): No, not at all. Because what they are talking about is basically anecdotal stories and all of these things are basically easily explainable.
There's simply no compelling evidence that an alien spacecraft has ever visited the earth. If there were, of course, we would have scientists interested in this and they are not. For this to be a real phenomenon, a spacecraft from another world, we would have to expect that the conspiracy would not only be among governments, among militaries, among the news media, but it also would have to be involved in all scientists and scientific organizations in the world.
KING: All right. So James, are you saying that Colonel Halt and Sergeant Pennison did not see what they say they saw?
MCGAHA: I think they misinterpreted what they saw. I think they saw lights that night. There was a Cosmos 749 satellite rocket booster that came down that night, a bright meteor fireball on the first night, and there was a police car driving around in the far city area that night with his lights on as well. On the second night it's clear that from the tape which at the lighthouse has a five-second period in that he was actually looking at the lighthouse. It's also clear ...
KING: Colonel -- I'm sorry, go ahead, Jim.
MCGAHA: It's also clear that the instruments they were using, they were using improperly. They didn't understand what they were doing. A star light scope doesn't measure energy, it only amplifies photons. They were using a radiact (ph) meter in an improper way that was used for radio field and not for point sources. I have watched the ground there. I have taken a very specific Geiger counter to measure the area. There's nothing background radiation ....
KING: Let them respond. Chuck?
HALT: First of all, you have ever seen a lighthouse move through the forest, Larry, horizontally, approach you, recede from you, explode into five white objects, send down an equivalent of a laser beam and do so into the weapons storage area? And I would defy anybody to take a police car into the woods. When Jim went on, he took a jeep and he had to dismount because he couldn't go any further.
KING: Do you think he's lying, James?
MCGAHA: No, I think they are just misinterpreting what they saw that night. There were numerous lights that were out there that night. Let's put it this way, where would have been best to have viewed this object that night? It would have been best viewed from the Woodbridge Tower. I interviewed the people that were in the tower that night. They saw nothing, they heard nothing. There was nothing on radar.
KING: The sergeant says it wasn't manned.
PENNISTON It wasn't manned that night. The tower was empty.
MCGAHA: The ATC, the tower was manned that night and the ATC facilities did have control that night. The British radar also saw nothing that night.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back with more. James will stay with us. We will also ask him to talk to Callahan about that Tokyo plane incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and really submitted a report on it. Though debunkers say what he really saw was the Planet Venus. Even Ronald Reagan saw a UFO while flying in a small plane.
Fourteen percent of Americans have reported seeing UFOs. They are all over YouTube. Shaped like disks, often all blurry. The best- looking UFOs are almost always fake. And though beat me up Dennis was ridiculed on the Web, he was rewarded with a lost post debate smooch from his wife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tell me about the time you once saw a UFO.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, I was the district governor of 56 Lions' Clubs in southwest Georgia, and I had to visit all of the Lions' Clubs and make a speech. I was outside a school lunch room one night, right before sundown. It was getting dark and we were getting ready to eat supper. And I and about 25 men were standing around. And all of a sudden in the western sky we saw a strange light coming towards us, a round light. And it got closer and closer and right above the pine trees it stopped and then it began to change colors from blue to red to white. And then it stayed there for a while and we were all aghast. We deposit know what it was. And then it just disappeared into the west. That was the end of it.
So it was a genuine UFO in that it was an unidentified flying object but I have never thought and still don't think it is possible for creatures from Mars to come here and visit us and go back home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we have Jim McGaha respond to the story of that Japanese pilot and what he saw from his Japan air cargo jet, Sergeant Penniston wants to respond something to what James said.
PENNISTON: Thank you, Larry. You know, it's just I respect James for his opinion. If I was in his position right now looking at us and looking at this story, I probably have a lot of doubt about it, too. But this is not about lights in the sky. This is about objects that has landed in the woods and was investigated by a team of experts that are familiar with aircraft identification and that. And there's just no way in the world that this could be anything other than -- it was a physical crash.
KING: Jim, he is saying he touched the object and surrounded the object and the object took off and went into space. That's either a madman ...
MCGAHA: Well, there's no evidence of that. I've never seen any evidence.
KING: You're saying he's lying?
MCGAHA: No, I'm saying he may truly believe he touched an aircraft.
KING: And also flew ...
MCGAHA: Something called confabulation. But the question is, is there any evidence other than his anecdotal story, his report, that anything occurred? And there isn't. There simply is no evidence. I would like to respond to something about Colonel Halt talking about the idea that the Air Force never contacted him or investigated him. This incident. Since the closing of Blue Book in 1969, it has been official United States Air Force policy not to take a UFO report. Pro, con, negative or any otherwise.
MCGAHA: Well, because it caused a great deal of bad publicity for the United States Air Force and they didn't want to be involved with it. The official policy is if someone calls up the Air Force about a UFO, they simply say, they simply refer the people to local law enforcement actions without comment. That is official policy.
KING: We have John Callahan standing by. You want to say something quickly?
HALT: Let's say one thing, are you aware that the OSI did investigate this? MCGAHA: I'm aware the OSI investigated it. The OSI looks into anything very often that security police do. I do not want to get into why that is.
KING: Why do you think, Jim, of the story of that Japan air cargo that saw the twin cylinders flying in formation?
MCGAHA: Well, it's -- you have to look at what happened that night. He reported seeing initially a light following him. It's interesting the direction he was looking was directly at Jupiter, which happened to be at its brightest that night.
But all of the radar targets that were reported that night, the FAA itself in its reports says was transponder clutter and scatter and the Air Force as well. But what's interesting is two airplanes that night, a United Airlines aircraft and C-130 that were in the area were asked to be vectored slightly off their courses so they could view the aircraft that night. And both of them flew near the aircraft that night and didn't see any target, any aircraft around the 747.
KING: Let John Callahan respond. John?
CALLAHAN: Well, if you looked at the videotape that we took, you can see that there's a target every time the Japanese pilot said there was a target at 12:00 at 2:00 that we had a primary hit there. Our own ...
MCGAHA: Well, the FAA doesn't agree with that, sir.
CALLAHAN: The FAA doesn't want to control UFOs.
MCGAHA: Well ...
CALLAHAN: They think it's not there. You got to remember, now, if you were flying today and you looked out the window as a pilot and you said who is at my altitude. The first thing the controller would think of is I have got two together. Then he would say, tell me what kind of airplane it is.
You would say, it looks like an F-105. And he would say do you have numbers you can give me off of it and we will track that guy down and we'll good and fix him for being up there and you will say, yeah, here's his tail number. Now, we can't do that with a UFO. When the pilot looked out and said I have traffic out here. Apparently the three Japanese pilots are also lying. It's funny that everybody that's involved ...
KING: I got to get a break, guys. You made a good point. We will come back with our remaining moments. Just skimmed the surface. Don't go away.
KING: I want to get a quick call for James. You wanted to say something? FOX: I wanted to say I thought that James McGaha made a very interesting point when he said that they saw the planet -- Saturn, was it Saturn? I'm sorry, Jupiter and that the CIA considers Jupiter classified and I guess the FAA officials were told never to talk about the Planet Jupiter. So that's interesting.
KING: So a call from Los Angeles. Hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. How are you guys doing tonight?
KING: Fine. Quickly. Go ahead.
CALLER: What was the most recent sighting in the United States and where was it and who saw it?
KING: Do we know, Fife?
SYMINGTON: O'Hare. United Airlines, O'Hare. Right over the airport. There was a lot of press about it.
SYMINGTON: United Airlines pilots, crew, maintenance people on the ground.
FOX: I actually talked to a couple of the United Airlines personnel and privately they admitted what they saw was a disk-shaped object, broad daylight, punched a hole through the clouds when it left -- but they would not go on the record because they were debriefed by United Airlines and they said they would lose their jobs.
SYMINGTON: It was headlines in the national news, when it occurred.
KING: James, they would have no point in lying, would they?
MCGAHA: Are you asking me?
KING: Why would these, military officers, why would they lie?
MCGAHA: Oh, don't question that military officers are lying. I just doubt whether they are accurately seeing and reporting what they are seeing.
KING: Well, they're seeing an object ...
MCGAHA: It's very easy to be fooled.
KING: Yeah. We have run out of time but I thank you all very much.
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