[This story appeared in the Sept 1, 1997 edition of CNI News.]
CNI News has learned that Congressman Steven Schiff of New Mexico has been fighting skin cancer since December, 1996. He is expected to survive, but his case has proved surprisingly difficult to treat.
Schiff made headlines in 1994 when he asked the government's General Accounting Office to look for records of possible military impropriety in connection with the alleged crash of a "flying disc" at Roswell in 1947. Schiff appeared frequently on television, saying that he had "gotten the runaround" from Pentagon officials when he made Roswell-related inquiries on behalf of his constituents back home.
In September 1994, at least partly in response to pressure from Schiff, the Air Force issued its first revised explanation of the Roswell incident since 1947. In the new report, the Air Force said the incident had involved a super-secret balloon array called "Project Mogul." This was the first time the Air Force admitted that its "weather balloon" explanation for the Roswell UFO was incorrect.
Subsequently, in July 1995, the GAO issued a report saying that most of the pertinent records from Roswell Army Air Field for the period 1946 to 1949 had mysteriously disappeared. There was nothing more they could do, the agency said. Schiff noted at the time that the records had apparently been destroyed without authorization and contrary to standard procedure, giving the obvious impression of something to hide. Yet, nothing could be proved.
In December of 1996, according to Schiff's press secretary Barry Bitzer, Congressman Schiff was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, on the right side of his face. Schiff underwent surgery to remove the cancer, but required a second surgery in April of 1997 when the cancer recurred.
Bitzer told CNI News that Schiff's cancer is not considered as deadly as malignant melanoma -- the form of cancer that recently struck UFO crusader Dr. Steven Greer -- but Schiff's case has proven particularly aggressive and stubborn. As a result of the two surgeries, Schiff has lost the lower half of his right ear, two molars and some tissue of his right jaw, leaving a "dent" in his jawline, Bitzer said.
Immediately following his second surgery, Schiff underwent seven weeks of intensive radiation therapy. The radiation apparently weakened him considerably, and his recovery has been slower than expected. But doctors have not found any sign of further cancer, Bitzer said.
During his treatment, Schiff has been at home in Albuquerque. He has not been able to vote on legislation in Washington, although he has continued to communicate with constituents. He hopes to return to his full Congressional duties in Washington in September. He plans to run for re-election.
Schiff, a law-and-order Republican in a predominantly Democratic district, has enjoyed very high popularity as a Congressman. His mail ran 7 to 2 in favor of his UFO/GAO inquiry, Bitzer said, but that was lower than his overall approval rating, which has run 4 to 1.
Bitzer left little doubt that he and Schiff are not satisfied with the government's official position on Roswell.
"The government enjoys the level of trust it deserves," Bitzer told CNI News. "It's not the people who are paranoid. The government is lacking in forthrightness, and brings the public distrust upon itself."
Original file name: CNI - Schiff fights cancer
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