Monday, January 23, 2012

Anatomy of a UFO Story: F.E Warren AFB 2010

The Genesis of a UFO Story, In Real Time

What are the origins of the common UFO story?  Most, if not all, of my blog postings have been about events that happened well over 40 years ago.  Facts tend to be blurred as direct witness recall abilities tend to fade over time.  The possibility of confabulatory ideations effecting the thought process becomes real and all too apparent.  In a lot of cases, direct witnesses are now deceased and we're left to decipher what it was that they saw or heard which is often hampered by the "soot" covered by the numerous speculations that have that uncanny ability to morph into "fact" and leaving the witnesses' original intent lost to the present day observer.

Now we have the opportunity to look at a case in "real time."  The recent event at FE Warren AFB that occurred back in October 2010 allows us to witness the machinations of the UFO lore from its birth to its ongoing and ever changing evolution from fact to fiction. 

The Incident, As Reported by the Media

The Atlantic, "Failure Shuts Down Squadron of Nuclear Missiles"  This was the original article that disclosed the incident.  Marc Ambinder, White House correspondent for the National Journal/contributing editor for Atlantic broke the story on Oct 26, 2010.  As you can see, the original reports appeared to list the incident as a "power outage" but was amended to that of a communication outage.  Soon after this report, various television outlets began to broadcast news segments concerning the incident (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc) (The Atlantic link is from

"According to the official, engineers believe that a launch control center computer (LCC), responsible for a package of at least five missiles, usually ten of them, began to "ping" out of sequence, resulting in a surge of "noise" through the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence, so if they begin to send signals out when they're not supposed to, receivers on the missiles themselves will notice this and send out error codes."
The Air Force Times, "Computer Failure Disrupts Missiles at Warren"  The Air Force times ran a short on-line article on Oct 26, 2010.

"According to the official, engineers believe that a launch control center computer (LCC), responsible for a package of at least five missiles, usually ten of them, began to "ping" out of sequence, resulting in a surge of "noise" through the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence, so if they begin to send signals out when they're not supposed to, receivers on the missiles themselves will notice this and send out error codes."
"Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician said the break occurred early Saturday and lasted less than one hour. The White House was briefed about the failure Tuesday morning."
"The equipment failure disrupted “communication between the control center and the missiles, but during that time they were still able to monitor the security of the affected missiles,” Vician said. “The missiles were always protected. We have multiple redundancies and security features, and control features.”
"One military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly, said the equipment in the launch control center has been the subject of unspecified communications problems in the past"
"Pentagon Cites Hardware Glitch in ICBM Outage" The Los Angeles Times article describing the event October 27, 2010:

"... A communications malfunction at a Wyoming Air Force base knocked 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles offline for 45 minutes last weekend as technicians scrambled to diagnose the problem, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.  The glitch in the underground cable system linking launch control centers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base to the missile silos affected one-ninth of the U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile force, a key part of the nation's nuclear arsenal, officials said..."
"Equipment Failure Cited in Warren Incident" 
The Air Force Times reporting of the findings of the operational review board pertaining the the causation of the incident (March 3, 2011)

"Equipment failure — not human error — caused the nearly hourlong communications outage that affected 50 nuclear missiles last fall at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., service officials said."

"A circuit card in a weapons-system processor knocked out of place by heat and vibration generated by regular operations caused the Oct. 23 disruption, according to an operations review board investigating the incident."

"The card had not been essentially locked into place after maintenance work had been done, but the weapons-system processor had worked for more than nine hours before the card came loose, according to a redacted copy of the board’s report, released Wednesday by Global Strike Command. Nuclear deterrence is a mission of the command."

The above news reports are one of many.  If you Google using the key words: FE Warren AFB, missile communication outage, numerous news articles appear describing the incident, many piggy backing off of the original Atlantic story.  Yet, all basically tell the same story based on the "facts" as provided by Air Force, DoD and Pentagon sources.  In fact key portions of the reporting are parroting one main source.  To the casual observer, the original medial report appears complete and concise, yet all are filled with numerous errors concerning how the Minuteman weapon system actually operates.  These errors are not the fault of the media reporters, but  the fault of the original sources.  Amazingly, the Air Force Times equally carried these errors in their original story.  Who are these sources and did they provided factual information?

Government agencies dealing with military operations employ the use of public affairs officers or spokespersons to provide information to the news media and the general public.  Most public affairs officers have no clue or direct knowledge of what they are disseminating and this generally is the cause of conflicting/disjointed information and why official stances change over a period of time especially when dealing with an incident such as FE Warren where the story is not static but dynamic by its nature.  Combine this with a news reporter trying to understand the information that is being given to him/her, who has no experience with the weapon system involved,  it inevitably becomes a foregone conclusion that confusion will develop and suspicions will arise.

Did the Air Force want the public to know about FE Warren's missile incident?  The answer is a resounding NO.  The day to day operational status of a missile wing is generally classified for obvious reasons.  In the case of FE Warren where there was an unusual problem,  the Air Force would have been perfectly content to quietly assess, correct, and evaluate the causation of the incident and return back to normal operations which for all practical purposes they did.  But it is the inherent nature of this "flying below the radar" approach that results in the propagation of conspiracy ideations by certain segments of the population.

The last report from the Air Force Times provides what actually occurred.  A circuit card was loosely placed in the Weapon System Processor in the LCC in question.  This had been done some nine hours prior to the outage by a maintenance team on site.  And of course, from the review board's report, the issue lasted less than an hour.

Robert Hastings" UFO "Mining" Operations

In all of the main stream media reports, not one word is mentioned of any strange sightings during the Weapon System Processor (WSP) problems affecting the 319th's five Launch Control Centers.  Tim Printy, who writes the SUNlite on-line news letter, relayed to me that when he had checked on the MUFON and NUFORC websites there was no listing of any reports coming from the Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska areas associated the FE Warren's missile wing.  Tim had wrote a short segment in SUNlite about FE Warren.   I did a check myself and found Printy's observations to be accurate.  I even checked for any reports that may have been filed between October 20 through October 30 and found no reporting of any UFOs in the affected vicinity.nor did I see any references to "cigar" or blimp-like objects. 

Yet not to be discouraged, UFO "researcher", Robert Hastings took it upon himself to pay a visit to the Cheyenne, WY area to get to the bottom of things.  The following are articles that Hastings had written and posted on various UFO websites documented his "investigation."  Even by the time that Hastings had decided to personally "wildcat" for UFOs, there had not been one report listing UFO activity.  I had wondered at the time if Hastings was going to, at his own personal expense, be willing to come up empty handed.  As the reader can see, Hastings did not disappoint me.  Being that not one word of UFOs had been uttered, Hastings had "amazingly" appeared to have produced UFOs out of thin air!

Robert Hastings' "Huge UFO Sighted Near Nuclear Missiles During October 2010 Launch System Disruption"

This dramatic story was leaked to Mark Ambinder, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, which published it three days later.1 The Air Force then quickly acknowledged the problem, saying that a back-up system could have launched the missiles and claiming that the breakdown had lasted a mere 59 minutes.
James Carlson had asked me if I really believed that Ambinder's article sparked Hastings attention and the above confirms my suspicion.  For some reason Hastings appeared to be perseverating about whether the official 59 minute outage was correct because (see below) he was told by two "anonymous" sources that the outage lasted over several hours (Hastings would later settle for 24 plus hours).  And my response what?  It made no difference what so ever concerning the ability to launch the ICBMs. 
However, the latter statement was untrue, according to two missile technicians stationed at F.E. Warren, who say that the communications problem, while intermittent, actually persisted over several hours.
Significantly, these same individuals report multiple sightings by "numerous [Air Force] teams" of an enormous cigar-shaped craft maneuvering high above the missile field on the day of the disruption, as well as the following day. The huge UFO was described as appearing similar to a World War I German Zeppelin, but had no passenger gondola or advertising on its hull, as would a commercial blimp.
I do recall seeing a segment on the television series "Fringe" where this actually occurred, depicting a "zeppelin" over modern day Boston.  I wonder if Hastings' sources saw the same segment?

The confidential Air Force sources further report that the commander of their squadron has sternly warned its members not to talk to journalists or researchers about "the things they may or may not have seen" in the sky near the missiles in recent months and have threatened severe penalties for anyone violating security. Consequently, these persons must remain anonymous at this time.
Back in the early 1980s, newspaper columnist Jack Anderson was attempting to contact and interview ICBM crews by calling directly the Launch Control Center.  We were briefed not to engage in conversation with Mr. Anderson.  Robert Hastings apparently has not quiet grasped the concept of OPSEC.  But the last sentence is important for the birth of this UFO lore..."Consequently, these persons must remain anonymous at this time."  With total anonymity, Hastings "witnesses" can provide unlimited information with out the hassle of being vetted for factual content.  Throw in the government persecution threats and Hastings now has a nice conspiracy angle to boost an Air Force cover-up scheme.  And this is all had from the use of anonymous sources.

This is the crux of James Carlson's article over at, "By Their Works Shall Ye Know Them" where he exposes the self-serving use of anonymous sources.  James makes the observation that it's entirely possible that these anonymous sources may not exists.  Its a good read and well worth the time spent reading his four part expose.  Personally, this is Carlson at his best uncovering such journalistic incontinence.

If the mysterious cigar-shaped object repeatedly sighted on October 23–24 was somehow involved with the 50-missile launch system disruption, it wouldn't be the first time that a UFO interfered with the functionality of nuclear missiles, according to several U.S. Air Force veterans who have courageously gone public with their own, still-classified close encounters at various ICBM bases during the Cold War era.
Here Hastings shamelessly uses "slight of hand" techniques propagating a story line that a UFO affected 50 ICBMs launch capabilities.  True, five LCCs were out of sync with each of their 10 ICBMs, but the sorties were still alert ready and could have been launched by other means.  This was strictly an LCC event, not an LF event.  As far as this "not being the first time...", Hastings should review my "Case Closed" post concerning the Echo Flight myth that he and others had home spun.  I also had mentioned in my recent FE Warren post that this issue had occurred at Malmstrom AFB in the 1990s.

Here from a Hastings "safe-house," UFO Digest rehashing  the event.  Yet now we are told that there are "other" sightings as of March 26, 2011.  Evidently mitosis and cytokinesis is not strictly limited to the cellular process.

Over the past three months, even more reports have come in and I now know of other sightings by civilians and law enforcement personnel in the larger, tri-state area of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, where F.E. Warren’s 9,600 square-mile missile field is located.
Cigar, cylinder, spherical and triangular-shaped aerial objects—many of them silently maneuvering or hovering at very low altitude—have been reported in the region as early as mid-September 2010 and as recently as March 18, 2011...
Given the large area covered by the 319th, 320th, and 321st Missile Squadrons, you would have thought that the hovering "objects" would have been noticed and reported by hundreds of observers, especially since it was broad daylight.  Yet despite the optimum view conditions very little is shown on the MUFON and NUFORC data bases.  Why is that?

Billy Cox, DeVoid, 22 June 2011, "A Vaccum of Names" 

Hastings says he got the latest leads in December from a “retired missile maintenance technician with contacts at F.E. Warren” and that two additional USAF retirees verified the reports of UFO activity
Hastings initial source?  This anonymous individual provides Hastings with the names of the anonymous active duty missile maintenance personnel, who in turn provide Hastings with the "details" of the LCC communication outage and the alleged UFO sightings.  As of this time, Hastings sources still remain anonymous.  Difficult to follow?

...The problem is, this story has been saturated with unnamed sources from the get-go, even from an unusually skittish civilian sector, as The Western Nebraska Observer discovered in April. Without names, this one can’t go anywhere because it has no legs
And Billy Cox squarely hits the nail on the head.  And this from a Hastings supporter!  And Cox is being kind, but the underlining meaning is can you be absolutely sure that what Hastings is telling us is factual?

This is the first of two parts.  The second part will look at the "witnesses" of the UFO sightings in and around FE Warren.


  1. Well said, Tim. I love this part:


    Robert Hastings apparently has not quite grasped the concept of OPSEC. But the last sentence is important for the birth of this UFO lore..."Consequently, these persons must remain anonymous at this time." With total anonymity, Hastings "witnesses" can provide unlimited information with out the hassle of being vetted for factual content. Throw in the government persecution threats and Hastings now has a nice conspiracy angle to boost an Air Force cover-up scheme. And this is all had from the use of anonymous sources.


    Well said, Tim. It's very easy to point at the dishonesty that Hastings has resorted to in the past, but it's important to note that what we're observing is the continual use of such strategies to impress upon the world a series of conclusions that have absolutely no basis in reality. If these events occured as Hastings insists, everybody on that Air Force base would have been aware of it almost immediately. There would have been hundreds of eyewitnesses, not two, and there would have been no way for the USAF to prevent that information from being publically available almost immediately subsequent to the incident. And yet, the news broke only after the investigative prowess of Robert Hastings was so well applied.

    It's just my opinion, but I think it's a complete wasted effort to try and anticipate the thoughts and feelings of these two "witnesses" Hastings supposedly dug up. As far as I'm concerned, they don't exist. They never existed. Robert Hastings went to Wyoming and invented yet another ridiclous lie in an obvious effort to promote himself and his book and to justify the cost of his sad little lectures.

    That's what he does. And he's had a lot of practice...

    But he's not alone. Your pinpointing of UFO Digest's recent revelations concerning "other" sightings as of March 26, 2011 make it very clear that invention on the basis of nothing is a well-practiced resolution in the UFO proponent communities. And still, nobody is willing to come forward and identify any of these "witnesses", although UFO Digest asserts the claims of "other sightings by civilians and law enforcement personnel." Really? Are such civilian sources so easily cowed? The only worthwhile conclusion is obvious: invention and dishonesty is easy for these people. As you put it so well, "Evidently mitosis and cytokinesis is not strictly limited to the cellular process."

  2. James,

    Glad that you enjoyed it. As you may already know, Robert Hastings has just posted, yet again, on the ufochronicles and has answered my two questions concerning Figel's lack of affidavit and press conference participation. You should read it and give me your take.

    I still think it worth the effort to evaluate Hastings' anonymous sources and bring it to light because they, if they do exist, are part of Hastings' UFO "sausage factory" and the readers of this blog site should see how this process works.

  3. He's not very creative, is he?

    Figel seems to deny Hastings' new assessment of his noted absence at the little Press Club show September 27:

    "I did read about a briefing on the 27th here in DC. I am here in VA about 10 miles away. Interesting."

    He says nothing about a "written invitation" from Robert Hastings. I suspect it's just more B.S. from Hastings in an attempt to explain away undeniable facts and criticisms once they've been established. It's old hat for him. His claims regarding both Figel's alleged solidarity with his UFO claims contrasting his refusal to assist Hastings with his disclosure mission tend to ignore Figel's motivation for doing so:

    ""Bob Salas was never associated with any shutdown of any missiles at any time in any flight and you can take that to the bank. Just think about this for a split second. He is a person wrapped up in UFOs to the Nth degree. Yet he could not remember he was not at Echo. Then he thought he was at November – wrong again. Then he thought he was at Oscar – wrong again."


    "There is no record about anything happening at November or Oscar except in people’s minds that are flawed beyond imagination. Salas has created events out of the thin air and can’t get the facts straight even then. My best friend to this day was the flight commander of the 10th SMS at the time. He and I have discussed this silly assertion in the past couple of years – he thinks it is all madeup nonsense for sure. I put both Salas and Hastings in touch with him and he has told them both that an incident at November or Oscar never happened. In addition he was subsequently stationed at Norton AFB where the engineers tested the possible problems. No little green men were responsible."


    "I have always maintained that I do not nor have I ever believed that UFOs exist in any form at any place at any time. I have never seen one or reported that I have seen one. I have always maintained that they had nothing to do with the shutdown of Echo flight in Montana."


    "When it happened, neither your dad nor I were “visibly shaken” by the events. It was just another day with a unexpected event in our lives. It was rather underwhelming at the time. No one rushed out to see us, no one made us sign any papers, no one interrogated us for hours on end."


    "There is no Air Force “cover-up” it just did not happen the way Salas and has portrayed the course of events. I am sorry that you are all caught up in a pissing contest with these people, I really am. They are just not going to let go no matter what you say or do. He has made a 15 year career pandering about the country talking about things he has no knowledge about. I am not at all interested in taking them on – it’s not worth my effort – I have more important things to do with my life. I much rather just stay out of it."

    I'm not at all surprised that Col. Figel wants to stay out of the debate. But this doesn't mean Hastings' claims are accurate. Figel's assessment of this issue is strong and final, and his clear assertions that Hastings' and Salas' stories have no basis in fact, a conclusion that he made very clear to both Hastings and Salas well before their Press Club conference. His very first communication to me stated that he told both Hastings and Salas that their books were full of errors that they refused to correct. I didn't even have to ask him what he thought -- he told me from the outset that Hastings and Salas were being deceptive. All of his subsequent statements also emphasize this deception, and these are affirmations that he had already made very clear to both men.

    The problem with Hastings isn't simply his dishonesty; it's also his refusal to present a complete record of these incidents, an assessment that Walt Figel agrees with.

  4. I tend to take the stance that of your father where he believes that Salas made up the UFO story and now he is stuck trying to defend it. Partnering up with Hastings did Salas no favors.

    And it may very well be true what your father said that Salas after all of these years may have been so wrapped up that he now firmly believes that it really did happen. This is the confabulating angle that I'm currently pursuing.

    BTW, I posted a reply to Hastings' latest on Warren's site stating that I have a reliable Minot source who happen to be assigned during a portion of Manross' tour. This person has a different take on the Minot UFO story.

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  6. Too bad he seems to have Missed the airing of the Disclosure Project on CNN the month before the incident Tim describes. Or perhaps the Canadian Defense Minister testifying before the Senate regarding his knowledge of UFO'S AND aliens a few days ago.

  7. circuit boards made in japan decades ago