Monday, September 23, 2019

NSA Denies FOIA Request Pertaining to BAASS and NIDS

National Security Agency, Fort Meade, MD
The National Security Agency fully denied an FOIA request for records pertaining to Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies and the National Institute for Discovery Science. The Agency advised it is "our standard response to all requests where we reasonably believe acquisition records are being sought on a contract or contract related activity." In a letter dated Sep. 14, 2019, the NSA Initial Denial Authority wrote in part:
This responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of 10 September 2019... for "...copies of all contracts undertaken with and funding provided to Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) and/or the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS). Requested are all reports resulting from contracts granted, project objectives, project budgets, and all related files and information pertaining to relationships between NSA and either BAASS or NIDS. Date range: For NIDS docs would be 1995 to 2004. For BAASS docs would be 1999 to present."... 
Your request has been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA, and is being fully denied in accordance with Executive Order 13526, as set forth in Subparagraphs (e) and (g) of Section 1.4. This request is denied because disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause damage (at minimum) to the national security, per Executive Order 13526, Section 1.2. Any responsive material that may exist would be deemed currently and properly protected; therefore, exempt from disclosure pursuant to the first exemption of the FOIA (5 U.S.C. Section 552(b)(1)).
In addition, this Agency is authorized by various statutes to protect certain information concerning its activities. Accordingly, your request is also denied pursuant to the third exemption of the FOIA, which provides for the withholding of information specifically protected from disclosure by statute. The specific statute applicable in this case is Section 6, Public Law 86-36 (50 U.S. Code 3605). No portion of any responsive material is reasonably segregable. 
Please be advised that due to security concerns, this is our standard response to all requests where we reasonably believe acquisition records are being sought on a contract or contract related activity.

Rumors have long circulated about the relationships between controversial philanthropist Robert Bigelow and intelligence agencies. The revelations of his involvement in the AATIP, and BAASS acting as a conduit to secretly provide funds from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the Mutual UFO Network, certainly added fuel to the fire.

Robert Bigelow
Relationships between Bigelow and figures such as non-lethal weapons expert and former NIDS employee Col. John Alexander, and veils of secrecy surrounding work conducted at the now fabled Skinwalker Ranch, have been questioned. Various incidents added to the speculation, including a 2012 interview with "Chip," a man who claimed to be formerly employed at the ranch and stated he saw a copy of a contract between Bigelow interests and the NSA.

Perhaps no circumstances have called the motives of Bigelow and his colorful staff into question, however, as much as their perpetual lack of either willingness or ability to follow through on claims. Bigelow's band of scientists and researchers are notorious for making huge statements and insinuations while failing to provide adequate supporting evidence. 

Just days ago, a Twitter account for Bigelow Aerospace posted a video clip of what appears to be dust or debris commonly mistaken for "orbs", implying the footage had some type of significance. To the best of my knowledge, the company has yet to clarify any details of the situation or film. 

Writers and filmmakers have added to the confusion, frequently representing Bigelow-related research as indicative of the paranormal, but, as is the case with his personnel, tend to be short on substance when asked for citations. Jeremy Corbell particularly claimed a DIA involvement at Skinwalker Ranch, but did not respond to a request for clarification. An FOIA request submitted to the DIA resulted in a response that the Agency had no documents pertaining to contracts with or funding provided to NIDS, the Bigelow corporation attributed with conducting research at Skinwalker.

Several FOIA requests remain pending with the DIA and other agencies pertaining to the AATIP.

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Related and recommended:

DIA Withheld AAWSAP Contract Awarded to BAASS in 2011 FOIA Response

DIA: No Docs on NIDS

UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems

The Carpenter Affair: For the Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

FBI Had Interest in Flickinger Contacts

FBI files linked below at keepandshare may also be viewed at Google Drive here and here

Gen. Donald D. Flickinger
One of two files recently received from the FBI indicate the late Gen. Donald D. Flickinger landed on the Bureau's radar in 1964, when he was interviewed about his knowledge of a European-born woman employed as a hostess at an exclusive D.C. restaurant. The second file pertains to a rental car parked near the Soviet Embassy in 1969 which became of interest to the FBI and was subsequently established to be rented by Flickinger. The files were obtained in response to an FOIA request seeking records on Donald Davis Flickinger. 

The FOIA request was submitted following a blog post by Keith Basterfield in which he explored the possibility Flickinger acted as a mentor to Dr. Kit Green on information related to UFOs. The controversial Dr. Green is a long term ufology staple with a CV that includes the Central Intelligence Agency and Robert Bigelow's now dissolved National Institute for Discovery Science. Asked for comment on Basterfield's blog post and Flickinger serving as a mentor, Green responded in a Sep. 16 email:
I am very willing to tell you, and for you to pass on to Keith that in my judgement he is the finest Forensic technically sophisticated HUMINT researcher & analyst I have ever seen in this field. At or even slightly over 95% of his conclusions about me have been correct. I am unable legally or ethically to confirm any correct or occasionally, rarely incorrect inclusions. 
I respectfully will not confirm or deny any sources to whom I have pledged privacy. 

Donald Flickinger was an Air Force general and a surgeon. According to a CIA report, he acted as the medical adviser for Project AQUATONE for over a decade. 

In his blog post, Basterfield recapped how Green stated during a recent interview that an individual, acting as a mentor, repeatedly alluded to Green about crashed UFOs and such. The individual also, according to Green, committed to obtain security clearance for Green to access the information but never actually did. Basterfield conducted research which led him to believe it likely the person in question is the late Gen. Flickinger.

One file obtained contains an FBI report from 1964 surrounding activities of Jeannine Cusson, a woman the Bureau described as born in Poland. She entered the States as the result of marrying an American soldier and was later divorced. The FBI noted Cusson's "employment provides an ideal position for her to meet and spot highly placed individuals connected with U.S. and foreign intelligence services."

Flickinger told the Bureau he had known Cusson since 1957, and that he and his wife became quite friendly with her. The report continues:



Flickinger is documented as describing a relationship between Cusson and Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace, a longtime friend of the Flickingers who, like Flickinger, was involved in aerospace medicine and related industries. Flickinger apparently acknowledged Cusson was in an ideal position to assist Soviet representatives but clarified he did not believe this to be the case.

In the past we explored situations in which it seemed likely the topic of UFOs was used as a tool to deceptively gain the trust of people issued employment-related security clearances. Through the decades, there have been rich opportunities for such exploitation. Specific instances that seemed intriguing enough to attract concern of the intelligence community include such cases as Boyd Bushman and Vincente DePaula

We also blogged about a memo composed by an NSA assignee who advised his supervisors of inquiries posed to him and questionable behavior of researchers at a 1978 MUFON Symposium. Circumstances become complex, but the larger, global context of intelligence operations should be taken into consideration when the topics of UFOs and the intelligence community converge. That's practically any UFO conference, as well as inherent to many of the issues of interest around the UFO blogosphere.

A second file obtained from the Bureau describes intelligence gathered on unidentified subjects visiting the Soviet Embassy located in Washington, D.C. Subsequent investigation by the FBI revealed the vehicle used was rented by Flickinger. 

The Special Agent in Charge who composed the 1969 report described Flickinger as having contact with "Soviet and Satellite representatives" regarding technical conferences. Flickinger was known to the Washington Field Office in such capacities, it was explained, making it seem likely Flickinger was the driver of the unknown subjects to the embassy for business connected purposes.

The Special Agent concluded, "It appears from the composite description provided by lookout personnel it is doubtful that Flickinger entered the Embassy. Since no photos of Unsubs [unidentified subjects] exist, the only possibility of identifying Unsubs is through interview of Flickinger.

"WFO [Washington Field Office] will do so UACB [Unless Advised to the Contrary by the Bureau] under the pretext of an automobile accident in the vicinity... involving a government vehicle."

Follow-up FOIA requests were submitted pertaining to Cusson, Lovelace, and possible further investigations.

Researchers who explore the ways the topic of UFOs has been exploited by espionage and counterespionage operations may not have all the details right, but they don't have them all wrong, either.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Data Is King

All kidding aside, we have spy satellites that can see a pimple developing on my forehead. I'm kinda guessing the Navy already knows what these so-called UAP's are.
- Keith Kloor, Twitter

The admirable and persistent work of John Greenewald recently added a couple more shades of intrigue to the TTSA kaleidoscope. The U.S. Navy denied the three videos touted by TTSA were cleared for public release, backing up the previous statements from the Pentagon, while labeling the objects depicted in the film clips as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP.

Greenewald reported Joseph Gradisher, official spokesperson for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, explained, "The 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' terminology is used because it provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges." 

A lot seems to have been read into that statement, much of which, in my opinion, is based on what the reader chooses to see. Interpretations such as "they're admitting they're not ours" and "they finally acknowledged they're UAP" are making the social media rounds. 

I understand why UFO enthusiasts are excited. The DoD and the Navy are talking about UFOs - a lot - but the concepts being wishfully attributed to the Navy spokesperson are not what he said, not exactly. In this post let's consider a few things about this never ending story. 

After all, if you can't trust the Information Warfare Center to catapult us into UFO Disclosure, who can ya trust?

History

A lot of spooks emerged out of the IC and waded into the UFO pond over the years. Some particular notables include Adm. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, who directed the CIA prior to serving on the Board of Governors for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena from 1957 to 1962. A fellow NICAP board member was Col. Joseph Bryan III, who, interestingly, was "later discovered to be a former naval officer and CIA employee, psychological warfare specialist," according to researcher Richard Hall.
  
DCI Hillenkoetter led to what would be a long line of current and former intelligence professionals moonlighting in ufology. The list includes Gen. Bert Stubblebine, credited with redesigning the intelligence structure of the entire U.S. Army, Col. John "Mr. Non-Lethal" Alexander, Comdr. C.B. "Scott" Jones, who claimed he believed his friend was targeted with a mind control weapon by the FBI, the enigmatic and UFO forum-present Ron Pandolfi, infamous Richard Doty, and many more, including, of course, Luis Elizondo and a number of intriguingly successful members of the IC prior to boarding the TTSA train.

Long before current Information Warfare spokespeople indirectly implied reasons the Navy revised its UFO reporting procedures - somewhat contradicting a DoD explanation the AATIP was axed due to higher priorities more deserving of funds, no less - intel analysts sometimes used the levels of concern of their commanding officers as indicators of how much attention they should give potential threats. That included matters of what, today, we might call UFOs or UAP.

James Carrion documented per declassified memos and reports how the 1946-47 Ghost Rocket flap involved professional analysis in which it was suspected senior officers were, in reasonable likelihood, well aware of the origins of the reported rockets. Numerous reasons were given to that effect by intelligence analysts, as well as an FBI Special Agent in Charge, which included a lack of concern for the rocket reports from the brass. Also observed was a lack of calling personnel back from leave during intense portions of the supposed threat. This curiously happened while the press was simultaneously offered official statements of concern and provided stories pertaining to the rocket sightings.

We might consider the circumstances somewhat comparable to a so-called Pentagon UFO program which was reportedly discontinued, yet select personnel persist in publicly warning us - and an accommodating media - of airspace incursions. At the least, I'd argue it should be taken into consideration.

Data Talks  

Most importantly, there is no substitute for verifiable data. Evidence available for public review: that's the name of the game. Unfortunately, those claiming to be leading Disclosure are much more often than not obstructing the purported evidence. They are long on claims and short on data.

There have been vague and anonymous news reports about taxpayer-funded examinations of UFO witnesses, modified buildings for storage of UFO debris, reports of UFO research projects existing both before and after the AAWSAP and AATIP, and too many more fantastic claims to list, little to none of which has been substantiated. There are discrepancies about who ran the projects, what the projects were empowered to do, if anything of value was learned, if the research was properly approved and overseen by official boards, and it's not clear how much, if any of it, is even classified or not. Several FOIA requests are pending.

Maybe Disclosure of extraordinary things are on the horizon. I guess ya never know for sure. If not, hey, there's always that statement about UAP from the Naval Operations for Information Warfare.