This week’s episode of FOIA Friday we have an interesting and slightly amusing 1957 memo regarding persistent requests for information by Dr. Leon Davidson. In the 1950’s Dr. Davidson was a volunteer at the Civil Defense Filter Center in White Plains, New York helping identify aircraft flying over the New York metropolitan area. He spent much of his free time studying the UFO phenomenon and was successful in convincing a Congressional Committee to force the Air Force to allow him to publish Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 [link to PDF].
In this memo we see the author is a bit exasperated with Dr. Davidson’s persistence in trying to obtain a “verbatim translation of the space message and the identification of the transmitter from which it came.” Apparently the “space message” had been explained to Dr. Davidson as nothing more than “identifiable Morse Code…from a known U.S. licensed radio station” but Davidson didn’t buy it, claiming that the audio characteristics of the recording were not Morse Code. You can sense the author’s irritation with Dr. Davidson when he writes “we’d like to dismiss this man once and for all.” However, the author also notes that “Davidson is no fool and it appears that ATIC is treating him as if they think he can be satisfied with a SOP.”