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The Elusive Majestic 12 Document and the Hunt for MJ-12

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majestic 12

If there is one, single meme that has so perfectly infected the Ufology community, it is the idea that at some point the government put together a group of individuals known as “Majestic 12” to deal with the “UFO” problem.

In fact, the story as detailed, promoted, and written about by a long line of so-called Ufology “researchers”, details a presidential order on September 24, 1947 – Operation Majestic-12 – that supposedly established a group of men to “exploit everything they could from recovered alien technology.”

This operation supposedly followed the alleged crash of an alien spaceship in Roswell.

These tales have driven countless researchers to seek out official evidence of Operation Majestic-12 and hard evidence to support it beyond the one, single document that unfortunately has now been further called into question by the National Archives expert research into the authenticity of the document.

In this article, I’m going to explore how one particular Ufology researcher tirelessly continues a fruitless search for such evidence.

In the second half of this article, I’m going to describe the National Archives own efforts and final conclusion regarding the only known alleged official document that mentions “Majestic 12”.

Lee Graham’s Search for Majestic 12

One particular tireless researcher by the name of Lee Graham is well-documented throughout the Air Force FOIA records as filing countless FOIA requests on the matter of Majestic 12 and alien-related topics.

In 2009 alone, there are 26 records of Graham’s FOIA requests, or appeals of requests.

Some examples include:

–> 9/15/2009 – “A copy of that list for a date between 1940-1942.”
–> 9/18/2009 – “A copy of that record that defines how the term “EBE” came to be used to designate these aliens of extraterrestrial origin and what the current disgnation of them is.”
–> 9/18/2009 – “A copy of a photograph of the Space Ship that was built to take ET back home and a brief description of how it is propelled and a copy of that record that indicates the time it takes for the above indicated spacecraft…to travel from Earth to Zeta Reticuli Star System”
–> 10/27/2009 – “Request a copy of that record that proves that the BRIEFING DOCUMENT: OPERATION MAJESTIC 12 is bogus, & ANY RECORD wherein one of the DSP satellites has detected an object of extraterrestrial origin and under intelligent control.
–> 10/19/2009 – “Requester seeking information of any all records that proves the BRIEFING DOCUMENT: OPERATION MAJESTIC 12 to be bogus.”
–> 11/17/2009 – “Seeks (1) a copy of a photograph of the Craft (space ship?) that the Air Force contracted to ‘take ET back home’. (2) a copy of that record that indicates how this craft is propelled.”
–> 11/13/2009 – “Seeks a copy of that record that Demonstrates that the Project Aquarius is bogus”
–> 11/20/2009 – “Seeks that record of what Agency it was that “UNCLASSIFIED” the enclosed BRIEFING DOCUIMENT (sic) OPERATIONS MAJESTIC 12″
–> 11/13/2009 – “Seeks a copy of that record that states just which office of the Air Force it was that “UNCLASSIFIED” THE BRIEFING DOCUMENT: OPERATION MAJESTIC 12″

Most of the requests from Graham indicate a request for information that “disproves” that Majestic 12 is authentic, rather than requesting documents that prove the document is authentic.

This is a common failure of “believer” researchers that hold dear to certain beliefs regarding stories like MJ-12. By requesting evidence that disproves the belief, the research can point to the “lack” of evidence as proof that the original belief is true. It’s a paradoxical double-negative argument constantly used throughout the believer UFO community.

Thankfully, there was in fact a thorough, well-conducted effort by the National Archives to determine the origin and authenticity of the only known official document that actually mentioned “Majestic-12”.

majestic 12

The National Archives Analysis of The Twining Memo

The National Archives – where the Twining memo was allegedly discovered – has the most at stake when it comes to the authenticity of the document. After all, if the memo from Robert Cutler to General Nathan Twining, which Ufologists Jaime Shandera and Bill Moore discovered in 1985, was actually faked and planted in the Archives – it signifies a certain dark light upon the authenticity of all of the other historic documents housed in the Archives. How can researchers know the documents housed there are real?

The clues hinting at the planting of the document are very strong. The discovery was only made after Shandera and Moore received cryptic post cards from someone that provided odd “clues” – such as an address with “Box 189”. Furthermore, the duo only bothered to check the archives after prompting by Stanton Friedman, hinting that Friedman himself was involved.

The document detailed how National Security Advisor Robert Cutler told Air Force Chief of Staff Nathan Twining that there would be a change in the upcoming scheduled Majestic 12 briefing.

The National Archives only turned its attention to the topic more recently due to so many Ufologists constantly submitting requests for documents about MJ-12 or Majestic 12.

The National Archives website states:

“The National Archives has received many requests for documentation and information about ‘Project MJ-12.’ Many of the inquiries concern a memorandum from Robert Cutler to Gen. Nathan Twining, dated July 14, 1954.”

The expert researchers at the National Archives turned their attention to this strange memo – the only mention of “MJ-12” anywhere in government records – to determine whether or not the document could be at all authentic. An Air Force investigation concluded that the document was fake. (1) However, what would the National Archive researchers – all renowned historical researchers in their respective fields – conclude about this mysterious document?

majestic 12

Why the Majestic 12 Document is Fake

The National Archive researchers conducted a careful review of not only the document itself, but how and where it was discovered, and produced a laundry list of “problems” with the document and its authenticity.

First, the researchers write:

“The document was located in Record Group 341, entry 267. The series is filed by a Top Secret register number. This document does not bear such a number.

The document is filed in the folder T4-1846. There are no other documents in the folder regarding ‘NSC/MJ-12.'”

This finding strongly implies that the document – discovered in a record group where the documents therein were marked with the Top Secret register number – was simply inserted into the folder in an effort to make it appear as though it was a Top Secret document. The hoaxer forgot to take the time to make sure the document had the correct Top Secret designation as other documents in the folder being used for the “drop”.

The National Archives researchers then went to other government agencies – the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Air Force – and could uncover not a single file and not a single document on the subject of MJ-12 or Majestic 12.

Avid believers will claim that the topic is so well covered-up that you can’t find anything else on the subject anywhere. However, common sense says that if this document was sitting in a publicly-accessible folder for Moore and Shandera to discover, the topic couldn’t have been very well “covered-up”.


Majestic 12 Hoaxers Get it All Wrong

Adding insult to injury for the creators of this fake document, not only did they fail to properly mark the document before placing it into the folder, but National Archives researchers learned from the National Security Council and the Eisenhower Presidential Library that the marking used on the Twining memo – “Top Secret Restricted” – was not even in use until the Nixon Administration.

This implies that possibly someone with access to restricted government documents some time after the Nixon Administration had a hand in fabricating the document, and used the “Top Secret Restricted” marking they believed would convince readers of the document’s authenticity. The hoaxer unfortunately didn’t realize that the markings were inaccurate for the time frame that the memo was allegedly written.

That one fact alone blows the lid off the memo and conclusively proves that it’s a fake.

Other problems with the document that prove that it was fabricated:

–> The document doesn’t have any official letterhead or watermark of any government agency.
–> A NARA conservation specialist determined the paper was “diction onionskin”, while nearly all documents created by Mr. Cutler while with the NSC featured an eagle watermark, and according to the National Archives, “Most documents sent out by the NSC were prepared on White House letterhead paper.”
–> National Archives researchers went through National Security Council “Official Meeting Minute Files” and turned up no record of any meeting on July 16, 1954.
–> All meeting minutes throughout July of 1954 failed to mention MJ-12 or Majestic.
–> Indices searches of all NSC records for “MJ-12” or “Majestic” turned up zero listings.

The only special meeting in July of 1956 was one on July 16, 1956 where NSC staff, “would be called to a civil defense exercise on July 16, 1956.”

What sort of Civil defense exercise was taking place in July of 1956? One only needs to read the newspaper from that month to see what was so special about. It had more to do with Russians than it did aliens. The following from the Geneva Times:

“Operation Alert 1956 will reach and affect top federal government officials. The President and his cabinet will ‘take to the woods.’ All federal government departments will set up in secret locations in several states. Thus the national government will continue to function in hiding.

First public notice of the exercise will come when the news flashes Friday morning that enemy submarines have atom-bombed Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Canal Zone. Then will come the ‘bombing’ of continental United States…”

To top off the beating that the Majestic 12 memo received at the hands of the National Archives researchers, a final little detail that really puts the final nail in the coffin is the fact that on the day Robert Cutler allegedly issued the memo – July 14, 1954 – he was actually overseas, visiting military installations.

In a memo dated July 3, 1954, Cutler asked his subordinates, James S. Ia and J. Patrick Cone, to handle NSC administrative matters while he was gone. Upon his return, he sent a memo to the President with a briefing of his trip to those installations.

National Archive researchers contend that because James and Patrick were in charge of the NSC office business during that time period:

“…one would assume that if the memorandum to Twining were genuine, Lay or Cone would have signed it.”

The bottom line is this – if you are a serious researcher in the field of Ufology (and there are not many of those, mind you), and anyone starts to talk to you about “Majestic 12” or “MJ-12” – do both yourself and the other person a favor; end the conversation abruptly and walk away.

There is absolutely no benefit, and no progress that can be made in the field of Ufology, from rehashing this old and tired story time and time again, as though it could be anything other than the elaborate hoax that it is.

References & Image Credits:
(1) FBI Vault
(2) Fulton History
(3) Wikipedia
(4) Bruce Maccabee

Originally published on

  • There are other oddities surrounding the MJ-12 business … one of the most recent is who added TOP SECRET / MJ-12 to the cover of NSA historian James Bamford’s book on post-9/11 NSA spying, “The Shadow Factory.”

    Have a look, it’s sideways on the right side of the book. Gus Russo asked Bamford. He has no idea how it ended up on the cover.

  • That is really interesting! ¬†Although I have somewhat of a hard time believing Bamford wouldn’t know why something showed up on his own cover. As I understand it authors typically have a great deal of input about what ends up on the cover of their books. At the very least he would know whose idea it was.

    Seems strange to me that he’d tell Russo he has no idea.

  • Hi Gary – the reference is directly about the Twining memo itself, not any other document – and the comment was not mine but made by the National Archives researchers:

    “The Freedom of Information Office of the National Security Council informed the National Archives that “Top Secret Restricted Information” is a marking which did not come into use at the National Security Council until the Nixon Administration. The Eisenhower Presidential Library also confirm that this particular marking was not used during the Eisenhower Administration.”

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
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Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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