The MJ-12 documents were first made public in 1987 by Shandera, Moore, and Friedman. Another copy of the same documents Shandera received in 1984 was mailed to British researcher Timothy Good in 1987, again from an anonymous source. Good first reproduced them in his book Above Top Secret (1988), but later judged the documents as likely fraudulent.
After the documents became widely known with the publication of Good’s book, the Federal Bureau of Investigation then began its own investigation, urged on by debunker Philip J. Klass. The MJ-12 documents were supposedly classified as “Top Secret“, and the FBI’s initial concern was that someone within the U.S. government had illegally leaked highly classified information.
The FBI quickly formed doubts as to the documents’ authenticity. FBI personnel contacted the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (counterintelligence), asking if MJ-12 had ever existed. AFOSI claimed that no such committee had ever been authorized or formed, and that the documents were “bogus.” The FBI adopted the AFOSI opinion and declared the MJ-12 documents to be “completely bogus.”
However, when Stanton Friedman contacted the AFOSI officer, Col. Richard Weaver, who had rendered this opinion, Friedman said Weaver refused to document his assertion. Friedman also noted that Weaver had taught disinformation and propaganda courses for AFOSI and was principal author of the Air Force’s debunking Roswell report in 1994. (Friedman, 110-115)
Timothy Good in Beyond Top Secret also noted that Weaver in 1994 was the Director of Security and Special Programs Oversight of AFOSI’s Pentagon office, a very high level organization within the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. Good commented that AFOSI is “an agency whose work involves counterintelligence and deception, and which has a long record of deep involvement in the UFO problem.” Within Weaver’s office were “special planners.” According to Good, “In Air Force parlance, the term ‘special plans’ is a euphemism for deception as well as for ‘perception management’ plans and operations.” Conducting an interview with one Roswell witness, Weaver himself admitted, “We’re the people who keep the secrets.” It is difficult to tell from interviews such as these, as the cold war tactics of deceptions within deceptions are intentionally vague as to where the disinformation and coverup of espionage ends and the government’s actual investigation into UFOs begins.
William Moore would later reveal that the whole New Mexico UFO disinformation scheme was run out of the Pentagon by a Colonel Barry Hennessey of AFOSI. When the Defense Department phone directory was checked, Hennessey was listed under the “Dept. of Special Techniques”. Working under him at the time was the same Col. Weaver.
Friedman therefore raised the question as to whether Weaver rendered an objective intelligence opinion about the authenticity of the MJ-12 papers or was deliberately misleading the FBI as a counterintelligence and disinformation agent, much like Doty had done with Moore and Howe earlier.
Journalist Howard Blum in his book Out There (1990) further described the FBI’s difficulty in getting at the truth of the matter. One frustrated FBI agent told Blum, “All we’re finding out is that the government doesn’t know what it knows. There are too many secret levels. You can’t get a straight story. It wouldn’t surprise me if we never know if the papers are genuine or not.”.