Les sources des affirmations controversées de Gerald K. Haines sont Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach, dans une monographie dont la référence est donnée en note :
Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach, The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs
, 1954-1974 (Washington, DC: CIA History Staff, 1992), pp. 72-73.
Je posterai des extraits plus tard... il en ressort que la source de Welzenbach est James A. Cunningham, directeur adjoint de la CIA, Office of Special Activities.
Comment James Cunnigham explique-t-il son estimation ? Sa déclaration peut-elle avoir été mal interprétée ou transmise ?
Curtis Peebles, ufosceptique célèbre pour son livre Watch the Skies!
, a publié des éclaircissements et une explication dans Shadow Flights: America's Secret Air War Against the Soviet Union
, pp.101-102 :
Radar Tracking and Flying Saucer Sightings
The high-altitude training flights made by the CIA pilots permitted an assessment of radar's ability to detect the U-2. Edwin Land's support of the CL-282 design, as well as Eisenhower's approval of the program, was based on the belief that Soviet radar could not detect an airplane flying at more than 70,000 feet. The logic was that Soviet radar was based on U.S. technology supplied during World War II. Because U.S. radar had difficulty spotting targets at more than 40,000 feet, it was assumed that Soviet radar would have similar shortcomings.
This belief seemed to be confirmed by a 1952 study of Soviet World War II radar, as well as tests in 1955 that used U.S. radar. As a result, it was believed within the CIA that the best the Soviets could hope to do was pick up the aircraft sporadically. They would not be able to track the aircraft, direct fighters against it, or even be sure what was going on. The training flights over the United States also supported the theory that the U-2 was hard to detect on radar. On each flight, the aircraft was spotted only one or two times.
Based on this, the CIA estimated that it would take the Soviets a year or two before they could develop a radar network able to track the U-2 with sufficient precision to allow them to lodge a diplomatic protest. It was assumed that with detailed supporting evidence, any Soviet protest would generate sufficient political pressure to force the United States to halt the overflights. As a result, it was expected that the U-2's operational lifetime would be limited. Until the Soviets did have such a radar network, however, the U-2 would have free run.
Although the radar data from the training overflights indicated that the U-2 was nearly "invisible" to radar, there were visual sightings of the aircraft at altitude. Most of these came from airliner pilots and usually occurred in the early evening on flights going east to west. One of the most heavily traveled air routes, Chicago to Los Angeles, passes close to Las Vegas and the ranch. The piston-engine airliners of the mid-1950s, such as the DC-3, DC-6, and Constellation, flew at 20,000 feet. At twilight, a low-flying airliner would be in darkness whereas a U-2 at 70,000 feet would still be illuminated by the sun. Its bare metal wings reflected the sunlight, and it appeared as a fast-moving, fiery object far higher than the airliner and many miles distant.
Most airliner pilots were ex-military pilots, and they knew of no aircraft that flew higher than 45,000 feet. Because the object was obviously much higher than that, they assumed that it could only be a flying saucer. The pilots would report the sighting to air-traffic controllers. Under ideal conditions, it was also possible to spot a U-2 in full daylight from the air and even from the ground. The aircraft would appear as a flash or glint. Ground observers and airline pilots wrote letters reporting the sightings to Project Blue Book, the air force investigation unit.
Blue Book staff members who had been briefed on the U-2 established procedures to handle such reports. If a sighting report came in that might have been caused by a U-2, the project staff would be contacted with the time, date, and location of the sighting. The staff would then have to check the flight logs. This was a laborious process, because an individual route flown by a U-2 would have to be matched with the location and other details of the sighting. With the training and test operations underway, there were numerous flight logs to go through, which involved considerable work for the project staff.
Once a match was found, Blue Book had a problem. They knew what had caused the sighting, but it was a closely guarded secret. Rather then tell a witness that he had seen a secret ultra-high-flying airplane, the sighting was explained away as some natural phenomenon, such as ice crystals or temperature inversions. The exact number of flying saucer sightings caused by U-2s is unknown. Many years later, Cunningham made an off-the-cuff comment: "Hell, they were half of them." This referred to the reports that Blue Book sent to the project staff as possible U-2 sightings rather than the more than 13,000 total sightings reported.
Cela expliquerait l'énormité de l'estimation : il s'agirait d'une erreur d'interprétation ou une confusion entre tous les cas de Blue Book de ces années-là et tous les cas soumis à la CIA par Blue Book pour vérification d'activités classifiées, dont le nombre est inconnu mais certainement beaucoup plus faible.
Peebles décrit en détail le procédé laborieux de vérification par le staff de Blue Book qui était informé des vols de U-2 et avait accès aux flight logs, cependant il ne donne aucune source ni date qui permettrait de corroborer cette information. A l'époque où le Major Friend dirigeait le projet (1958-1963), le staff comptait au mieux 3 militaires au total + des secrétaires civiles, un tel travail d'enquête était-il entrepris ? Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book#The_Major_Friend_era d'après Jerome Clark, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial