Dulce Base conspiracy theories were first circulated in the 1980s. According to researcher Greg Bishop (Bishop, 2005), the claims of Paul Bennewitz are the earliest source for the Dulce Base stories. Bennewitz was a New Mexico businessman and physicist who operated Thunder Scientific Corporation, a company which manufactured high-altitude testing equipment mostly for use at Kirtland Air Force Base.
According to Bishop (Bishop, 2005) and Clark (Clark, 1998), Bennewitz uncovered evidence of a highly secret U.S. Air Force program designed to monitor satellites launched by the Soviet Union. Bennewitz was already interested in reports of UFOs, alien abduction and cattle mutilations, and he interpreted the secret program as evidence of extraterrestrials on earth.
Bennewitz communicated his findings to civilian UFO group APRO, who dismissed him as a deluded crank. In late 1980, Bennewitz contacted Kirtland AFB officials. For most of the 1980s, U.S Air Force Sergeant Doty and/or ufologist William Moore would relate reams of mostly spurious information to Bennewitz as part of a disinformation campaign designed to distract him from secret military projects at Kirtland.
Bennewitz accepted nearly all of the information as reliable, and focused his energies towards writing a document he called “Project Beta,” which contains nearly all of the assertions related in the “Post Bennewitz” section below.