Sunday, January 26, 2014

Did Colonel Philip J. Corso Lie About His Tenure With The NSC? (Redux)

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By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
© 8-2-05

     The late Col. Philip J. Corso who was the foundation as well as co-author of the book, “The Day After Roswell” continues to evoke controversy even from the grave.

When Corso’s book was initially published it was applauded by most in the UFO community mainly because of his stature, and his accredited military career; he was an insider breaking silence, and perhaps the smoking gun to finally force the powers-that-be into sharing UFO information with the public.

As Carl Sagan once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” As protocol dictates, Ufologists quickly began to investigate Corso’s declarations.

As with Ufology is to the layman, Corso’s claims were to Ufologists; most just couldn’t swallow these grandiose affirmations; soon many well-known Ufologists would begin to chip away at the base of Corso’s anecdotes.

Personally, and admittedly Corso wasn’t “my cup of tea” so to speak, and I adhered to the mind-sets of colleagues I respected/respect after a good amount of research/investigation had taken place.

Years later I filed a FOIA request for Corso’s military records for one of the afore mentioned colleagues, and upon arrival was surprised to see the magnitude of his file as well as the many commendations, awards, etc., in addition to time served. I was also impressed with his involvement and contributions to the POW/MIA proceedings along with his many years in military intelligence. That said, I found myself questioning why a man with such an impeccable record would lie about anything; in essence the accusations (him being a charlatan) certainly didn’t fit the mold of the man whose military file I held in my hand.

Many critics of the book, “The Day After Roswell” have succumbed to labeling Corso an out an out liar; much of that begins with Corso’s edict that he was a “staff member of the National Security Council (NSC)” during the Eisenhower administration. The focus here will be on that statement.

Recently the NSC narrative has resurfaced and it would appear that the majority (in Ufology) feels that Corso, at the very least “exaggerated his tenure with the NSC,” or point blank lied bout it. The common ground as evidenced in his military file is that he was indeed employed by the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB), via Army Intelligence.

Earlier I published the cover sheet as well as the table of contents from the “Hearings Before The Senate Select Committee On POW/MIA Affairs dated Nov. 10th, 11th, 1992. In it under “statements of,” Corso was labeled “National Security Council Staff, Eisenhower Administration.”

Congressional Doc Shows Corso as NSC Staff
- click on image(s) to enlarge -

For those that hold Corso in contempt, the majority in response to that “legal document” was that “he provided his own “bio” and that was just an extension of facade. This of course is certainly possible, as Corso “was known” in particular with POW/MIA affairs and there wouldn’t have any need to do a formal investigation into his background prior to making a statement before the committee.

In a statement before “The House Subcommittee on Military Personnel” on September 17, 1996 Corso acknowledged, “Upon my return to the United States, I was assigned to the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) of the White House, “National Security Council,” [emphasis added] and handled virtually all projects to U.S. prisoners of war.”

To be clear, the “National Security Council (NCS) was borne via “The National Security Act of July 26, 1947”, during the Truman administration; its core members were the President, the Secretaries of State, Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board; however, as is so common with government bodies it would evolve.

Truman's NSC was subjugated by the Department of State, but when the reins were handed to Ike, it became molded after a more militaristic system, and it blossomed into a very large departmental organization. The OCB was in fact part of that organization, and aside from Corso’s self-description, government agencies as well as collateral documents seem to support this fact.

Here is a paragraph from an FBI memo dated, Feb. 11th, 1965 concerning Corso:

FBI Snippett
click on image to enlarge

As evidenced here the FBI describes Corso as, “then assigned to the Operations Coordinating Board, National Security Council.”

In addition to that in the “History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997” at the "White House’s web-site,” the OCB is described as such:
President Eisenhower created the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) to follow up on all NSC decisions. The OCB met regularly on Wednesday afternoons at the Department of State, and was composed of the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Directors of CIA, USIA, and ICA, and the Special Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs and Security Operations Coordination.

"The OCB was the coordinating and implementing arm of the NSC for all aspects of the implementation of national security policy."

NSC action papers were assigned to a team from the OCB for follow-up. More than 40 interagency working groups were established with experts for various countries and subjects. This 24-person staff of the OCB supported these working groups in which officials from various agencies met each other for the first time.

Towards the end of the 1950’s the NSC was called, the “NSC system,” and came under review by the “Senate Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery” because of alleged inefficiencies due to the size, inflexibility, overstaffing and being weighed down by committees etc.

Former Truman administration officials such as George Kennan, Paul Nitze, and Robert Lovett testified that “the ‘NSC was a huge committee," [emphasis added] and suffered from all the weaknesses of committees. Composed of representatives of many agencies, its members were not free to adopt the broad, statesmanlike attitude desired by the President, but, rather, were ambassadors of their own departments, clinging to departmental rather than national views.”

Did Corso ever lay claim to being one of the original members of the NSC? No! Did he deny being in the OCB? No! Was the OCB part of the NSC? Yes? Did Corso take liberties in stating his tenure with the NSC, while not mentioning the OCB? Although it will be argued, since he has lumped the two together as well as not, in my view no!

I think this is a clear case of I say, “tow-may-tow” and you say, “tow-mah-tow.” I believe during Eisenhower’s reign, the NSC had evolved into a large confederation, and many, although not part of the “core council” (as in Truman’s era) considered themselves part of the NSC, and as described in the” History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997” at the White House’s web-site, the “NSC system.”

Finally, as is often the case there will be those that will look at what is presented, and it won’t matter, as “their minds are made up,” but clearly, in my view, Corso could righteously say he was a member of the NSC; this is a non-issue.

The irony of it all is that the NSC statement and all the hub-bub sits along side the other declarations about being on the receiving end of technology from another world.

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