If the government is concealing hostages from outer space, it will remain a secret for the time being.
A federal judge in the District yesterday dismissed an Alexandria man's demand that the Air Force turn over the occupants of crash-landed UFOs he charges the military has kidnaped in a "cosmic Watergate conspiracy."
Larry Bryant, a 45-year-old writer and head of a Washington group called Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, told U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Gasch he had filed a "writ of habeas corpus extraterrestrial" to free an undetermined number of alien space travelers he claims have been "spirited away" by the military.
"We want the bodies," Bryant said before yesterday's court appearance. "We don't know how many there are, or whether they're dead or alive, but we have government documents proving they exist."
Bryant based his case on a series of government memorandums obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that document, he argued, systematic military investigations of UFO crash landings and sightings of extraterrestrial beings.
His petition included a photocopy of a declassified government report of March 22, 1950, that says: "An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico.
"Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of very fine texture . . ."
"This is a cosmic Watergate," Bryant told Gasch in front of a gallery nearly filled with other UFO aficionados, reporters and curious onlookers at the District Court building.
"We have the smoking gun, as it was in the real Watergate, and it demands attention," Bryant added.
"But do you have anything besides smoke?" Gasch asked the plaintiff.
After Bryant had completed his brief presentation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Royce Lamberth moved for dismissal on a variety of technical points, including the argument that the court had no jurisdiction over alleged alien hostages that could not be located.
"They've never talked to them, seen them or have any way of knowing they exist," Lamberth said of the people who signed the Citizens Against UFO Secrecy petition.
Gasch agreed, throwing the case out after only 20 minutes of debate.
"Regardless of court cases, there are no bodies," Capt. Johnny Whitaker, an Air Force spokesman, said before the proceedings. Whitaker said Bryant's documents may be genuine, but that the Air Force has never heard of the investigators who Bryant alleges saw the UFOs and their three-foot pilots.
Bryant promised after the hearing to "study the appeal process, if there is one."