Transcript of a letter from the General Accounting Office to Congressman Steve Schiff (R-New Mexico) in response to a request for information regarding ‘Majestic 12.’
General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548
National Security and International Affairs Division
July 28, 1995
The Honorable Steven H. Schiff House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Schiff:
In response to your request, we asked several agencies for their views on the authenticity of the publicly circulated written material referred to as Majestic 12. The origin of this material is unknown, but it is purported to represent highly classified government records explaining unidentified flying object recovery procedures and the crash of a disc-shaped aircraft near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947.
Since the late 1980s, several federal agencies have been contacted by nongovernmental persons and asked to comment on the authenticity of the Majestic 12 material. The agencies contacted include:
–the Information Security Oversight Office (responsible for overseeing the information security programs of all executive branch agencies that create or handle classified national security information),
–the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Deputy for Security and Investigative Programs, and
–the National Archives.
These agencies responded to the inquiries by stating that their knowledge of Majestic 12 was limited to the written material submitted to them by nongovernmental persons. These agencies added that they found no records in their files relating to Majestic 12. Moreover, the agencies’ overall conclusion concerning the authenticity of the Majestic 12 written material was the same–there is no evidence that the Majestic 12 written material constitutes actual documents originally created in the executive branch. According to the Information Security Oversight Office and the Air Force, the Majestic 12 material should not be treated as if it had ever been actually classified by an executive branch agency or government official. We found nothing in our work that contradicts the conclusions reached by these agencies.
We also asked the archivists at the Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower libraries for their views on the authenticity of the Majestic 12 material. The archivists said that over the years they have received several inquiries from the public concerning this material. In their search for related records, including classified intelligence and National Security Council documents, they found nothing that appeared to fit the description of the Majestic 12 material or any references to this particular designation.
Lastly, during our review of material received from the public by the Information Security Oversight Office in connection with past Freedom of Information Act requests, we came across a message dated November 17, 1980. The message, which appeared to have been originated by the Operations Division of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), contained the words “MJ Twelve.”
We contacted AFOSI to determine the authenticity of the November 1980 message. In a letter dated February 28, 1995, the Commander, AFOSI, Investigative Operations Center, advised us that a search of AFOSI files failed to disclose any official record copy of the message. The commander also advised us that in connection with an earlier Freedom of Information Act request, AFOSI had been asked to determine the authenticity of the message. At that time, AFOSI concluded that the message was a forgery.
Richard Davis, Director
National Security Analysis