Wednesday, June 16, 2021

DIA Says Don't Expect Pentagon-UFO Program Docs Earlier Than Late 2022

The Defense Intelligence Agency sent notification the estimated completion date for five FOIA requests pertaining to apparent Pentagon UFO programs is now Dec. 30, 2022. An estimated date of completion is only an estimate, the DIA emphasized in its June 3 letter to this writer.

UFO researchers submitted a variety of FOIA requests to various agencies in the wake of the Dec. 2017 New York Times article on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Requests seek verification of pertinent AATIP information, as well as circumstances surrounding the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application Program. Both projects have been reported to be significantly involved in UFO investigation. Researchers continue to await final responses to the most salient of their FOIA requests.

The five FOIA requests referenced in the recent DIA letter:

FOIA-0087-2018 seeks all contracts pertaining to the AATIP, including contracts undertaken with and funding provided to Bigelow Aerospace.

FOIA-0259-2018 requests all mission statements, contractual records, calls for proposals, lists of funding recipients, amounts of funds awarded, budgets, and documents pertaining to the AAWSAP. Also sought are all reports composed by program personnel, reports submitted by funding recipients of the program, lists of contractors and subcontractors, and any related files.

FOIA-0271-2018 seeks copies of all proposals funded, project updates and reports submitted, contractual records, funding recipients, amounts of funds awarded, budgets and documents related to the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application Program - Solicitation HHM402-08-R-0211.

FOIA-0003-2019 requests all contracts undertaken with and funding provided to Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies from 1998 to present.

FOIA-0258-2019 is a request for all correspondence, such as emails and memos, between Luis Elizondo and the DIA pertaining to the AATIP as described by Pentagon Spokesperson Susan Gough. 

Related final responses already received from the DIA include FOIA-0088-2018, in which copies were requested of all DIA contracts undertaken with and funding provided to the National Institute for Discovery Science from 1995-2004. The DIA indicated no documents responsive to the request were found.

FOIA-0231-2019 sought copies of the DIA response to FOIA-0065-2010, which was a request in 2010 for documents pertaining to the AAWSAP. The DIA filled the request in part, which included providing correspondence conducted between the Agency and Bigelow Aerospace. A document was obtained in 2019 that verified the corporation was awarded an AAWSAP contract.

Those interested in the evolving Pentagon UFO story would be well served to differentiate between what has been verified from official sources and that which is speculated through much less credible and sensational channels. Reserving judgment on any number of issues should prove a wise option as the fact-checking process forges its painstaking path through a strangling jungle of manic hype.

Monday, June 7, 2021

UFO Disclosure and Transparency: Good for Thee, Not for Me

    Longtime ufology staple Hal Puthoff, when asked about recovered craft and bodies, reportedly stated he couldn't discuss them. The evasive remark was apparently given in response to a question posed at a recent conference sponsored by the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, or SCU. 

Men and women with bold claims have been granted iconic status in the genre for decades. This is in spite of having never produced tangible, verifiable evidence to support their chronic insinuations of extraordinary circumstances.

Robert Bigelow
Anyone remotely familiar with UFO history is aware of the likes of Bob Lazar, George Knapp, Bob Bigelow and any number of his crew, and on and on, who have directly claimed access to paradigm-shifting evidence. For reasons that arguably only make sense to the gullible, UFO Disclosure advocates not only fail to seek verification of such alleged evidence, but support its obstruction. All the while, they manage to frame the participants of these UFO role playing games as heroic.

Why do those who claim to advocate UFO Disclosure and transparency not apply the same standards to members of the UFO genre as they do to Uncle Sam? As one individual observed, "Ufologists swoon at Puthoff’s supposed virtue for knowing more than he dare say, and condemn same behavior in government."

At this blog alone, we have explored circumstances in which Jacques Vallee, Garry Nolan, Diana Walsh Pasulka, Leslie Kean, and the list goes on, sought exemption from transparency while touting claims of significant, if not extraordinary, events. In most cases, the obstructions were implemented while alternately suggesting transparency should be applied to others, most certainly including federal agencies. 

In a recent discussion with UFO Classified host Erica Lukes, guest Mark O'Connell explained his interpretations of a presentation given by Luis Elizondo at a UAP conference a couple years ago (the referenced statements are about 68 minutes in). I suspect this was an SCU conference, as O'Connell mentioned it took place in Huntsville, where SCU holds some events.

"It was the most manipulative operation I have ever been witness to," O'Connell stated. 

Luis Elizondo
He described how Elizondo would enthusiastically tell the audience about exciting things to show them, and exciting discoveries being made, then do "a complete 180" when questions were posed, urging attendees to stay calm and patient. Now years later, people eagerly awaiting Elizondo to present verifiable information of exciting circumstances are still waiting.

As suggested, for whatever reasons, the UFO faithful show no interest in directing their demands for accountability and transparency at people who actually claim to know things and have evidence. In contrast and in real life, those working for government agencies who find themselves between an employment rock and an ethical hard place seek qualified legal counsel and whistleblower benefits as applicable. A recent example is Rebekah Jones, who obtained whistleblower status in her ongoing dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over transparency pertaining to the accurate public reporting of COVID-19 cases. Note she did not seek assistance from George Knapp and Jeremy Corbell.

What's more, it has become increasingly apparent some in UFO circles believe ends justify means. With war-related analogies regularly tossed about, a portion of the UFO faithful seem encouraged, if not organized and directed, to oppose rationality and those who support it. That might be to a concerning extent, considering widespread credulousness and online extremism which led up to events of January 6.  

In the aftermath of the outing of a pro-UFO Twitter group chat in which tactics were discussed for use in what was described as a war for someone's followers, I noticed a Twitter user and UFO enthusiast declare the power of UFO Twitter. For those unaware, UFO Twitter, or those who tweet about UFOs, considers itself influential in guiding official policy on the handling of the UAP topic. They are often encouraged by higher profile activists to believe that is the case. The UFO enthusiast added in their tweet, "We too have been engaging in ops against the secret keepers."   

I chose to respond to the assertion, asking who is "we." I further inquired who the "secret keepers" are and what kinds of actions are being taken "against" them. I would indeed like to know more about who designs and directs these alleged "ops."   

After a brief exchange the individual suggested they would get back with me the next day. When they did not, I inquired again. They then "blocked" me, reducing my access to their tweets, and, in effect, the extent I might pursue the claims.

UFO Disclosure and transparency: Good for thee, not for me.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

UFOs? It's Complicated

    Developing understandings about reported UFO phenomena requires more effort than clicking on a few links or watching the occasional news show that looks suspiciously like entertainment. It's not necessary that everyone gain such understandings, but it should be considered a minimal requirement for those who wish to have much more to say about UFO reports than they don't know their explanations. While the following circumstances certainly do not account for all cases, it should be more than apparent why a sincere and meaningful discussion should include consideration of such material.

Project Palladium was a mid 20th century multi-decade CIA operation that began by dropping aluminum strips from airplanes to confuse enemy radar. By the 1960's it evolved to include the ability to project "ghost aircraft" onto enemy radar with the appearance of any size, altitude, and flight pattern desired. According to CIA man Gene Poteat, every Palladium mission included a CIA team with its ghost aircraft system, an NSA team with communications intelligence and decryption equipment, and a military operational support team.

The teams were apparently subject to releasing "a timed series of balloon-borne metalized spheres of different sizes." The spheres were launched into the path of the ghost aircraft. In an example given by Poteat of an operation off the coast of Cuba, an American fighter plane was made to appear incoming from Key West. Cuban fighter planes were scrambled to intercept the perceived aircraft. On cue, a Navy submarine surfaced just long enough to release the balloons. The idea was for the ghost aircraft to alert Cuban defense systems, then Palladium personnel could eavesdrop on resulting communications in order to discern the sensitivity of the Soviet-made radar. This was done by discovering the smallest balloons detected. Suffice it to say plenty of confusion ensued for the Cubans as Poteat and his crew obtained the information they were after.  

In the event you're wondering what Poteat's team ultimately did with the ghost aircraft during the mission, they made it vanish. He reported they had no trouble keeping the phantom plane out of reach of those in pursuit. When a time came they were finished with the exercise and a Cuban pilot was preparing to fire on the target, they simply turned off the Palladium system and voila, a disappearing aircraft, gone without a trace.  

USS Nimitz

In its ongoing coverage of what has come to be known as the more current UAP situation, The War Zone reported on the evolution of such technology and the military applications. Enter NEMESIS, the Netted Emulation of Multi-Element Signature against Integrated Sensors. 

"When it comes to the U.S. Navy," Tyler Rogoway wrote, "it is using swarms of lower-end networked drones, submarines, ships, unmanned underwater vehicles, and more, to convince the enemy to think they are seeing ghost fleets and aerial armadas that aren't really there." 

Rogoway reports NEMESIS represents a quantum leap in electronic warfare. "Yet none of its components are all that exquisite," he continues, "it's just the networking of them together and being able to combine their effects cooperatively with highly agile computing and software that is. Swarming drones working together to decoy, jam, and distract the enemy? That is not a high-end capability. Unifying those effects with ships, other aircraft, submarines, and more in real-time to make multiple enemy sensors in disparate locations see the same thing? That is revolutionary."

It is also not necessarily a monopoly. Rogoway goes on to suggest adversaries may be applying similar technology during interactions with U.S. warships and military aircraft.   

He further suggests reported balloon-like objects and menacing drones may be designed to obtain valuable signals intelligence with low risk to reward returns. It is noted the locations of such reported incursions include the nation's most active military training corridors, what Rogoway refers to as "the most advanced air defense sensor and networking technology on planet earth all operating in one region." Targeting the areas seems a given, the means may be the primary issue. 

This might account for why, as many ask, American forces do not simply fire upon or confiscate such reported intrusive drones and UAP. Electronic silence might be more advisable if the stalkers are swallowing up information; the devices may be relatively inexpensive and expendable, are subject to have replacements come back anyway, and the less data collected about responses and communications, the better. Cuban forces would have been better strategically served to ignore Poteat's crew than allow him to record their resulting activities and the capabilities of their Soviet radar systems. 

Tim Binnall and I discussed the implications on a recent episode of Binnall of America. No matter how well any pilot may know their aircraft, they are at a decided disadvantage when interpreting any given encounter if they lack a thorough understanding of a project such as NEMESIS and how their instrumentation might respond to such targeted deception. Moreover, omitting such circumstances from discussion could be considered disingenuous while proclamations are made that reported craft cannot be manmade. We might similarly consider reported balloon-like objects may have more functions than readily apparent to many of us, as well as the fact occurrences described as happening nearly every day for two years could not very well be thought of as, by definition, extraordinary. 


Google Loon Balloon

Writer and researcher Adam Kehoe takes a look at what can be established about American-engineered high-tech balloons known to be aloft off the coasts of the U.S. in his recent submission to The War Zone. The balloons can be steered, remain in flight for long periods of time, and carry cutting-edge payloads. Some, Kehoe reports, can cruise as high as 92,000 feet. Certain types may stay in the air as long as 30 days.

For several years we were expecting UFO reports to go sideways as the diversity of airborne objects increased. That time is well upon us. There is a large variety of exotic devices and classified aircraft populating our skies. Adding to the complexity are cutting-edge technologies designed to limit and confuse abilities to monitor and accurately interpret those objects.

It's not necessary to gain a deep understanding of the subject matter to be interested in UFO reports. It is necessary, however, to include the material in the discussions if any further assertions are made than an explanation is not readily available.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Gough: DOD Has No Comment on Any Elizondo Remarks

    Spokesperson Sue Gough stated in an email received today the Department of Defense has no comment on any of Luis Elizondo's remarks. She also reiterated the Department's position that Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities for AATIP while assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. 

Luis Elizondo
A query was submitted to Gough after the New York Post published an article in which the controversial government official-turned-UFO Disclosure activist minimized statements issued by the DOD on his former responsibilities. The Post quoted Elizondo as suggesting the Pentagon doesn't like him very much, and its denial of his AATIP assigned responsibilities have been disgruntled matters of semantics.

"I had no assigned responsibilities," the Post quoted Elizondo, "because I was working Gitmo for [the Department of Defense]. These assigned duties [exploring the reality of UFOs] were coming from the legislative branch."

Asked if she had any comment, and specifically if Elizondo had AATIP duties originating from the "legislative branch," Gough replied as indicated below.

The Post further quoted Elizondo, "There are enough people now in the Pentagon and on the Hill who know exactly who I was and what I did. And, you know, it’s going to hurt [my detractors’] credibility."

Seemingly unknown to Elizondo, the issue is not a matter of whether those seeking evidence to justify his claims are supporters or detractors. It's a matter of proper documentation. To argue otherwise confuses the issue and is detrimental to the fact-checking process. 

Perhaps his claims will be fully verified, but that is not currently the case. It becomes increasingly difficult to empathize with his inability to resolve the circumstances. As one Twitter account put it, "It makes no sense that he can't show documentation to the public about a claim he has made public. In all his years he has not a scrap of unclassified anything that proves he worked with AATIP?"


See also:

Significance of Pentagon Statements about Luis Elizondo and OUSDI 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Significance of Pentagon Statements about Luis Elizondo and OUSDI

    NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz is among the latest to wade into the AATIP pool. That's the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or what amounts to the late great Pentagon UFO project, reported far and wide to have been directed by Luis Elizondo.

Schwartz is the most recent to obtain statements from the Pentagon that suggest maybe those far and wide reports are wrong. He also obtained a letter from Sen. Harry Reid, contradicting the Pentagon and clearly stating Elizondo's role was "the head of AATIP."

Let's try to make this simple, or at least simplify what some of the discrepancies are about. The latest Pentagon statement as reported by Schwartz, as has been the case with several before it, states Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities for the AATIP while assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence:

In January 2018, To The Stars Academy spokesperson Kari DeLonge went on the record as pictured below and as published by John Greenewald of The Black Vault. She clearly suggested Elizondo took over the AATIP after it was transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence:

The significance of the conflicting statements is the Pentagon has now repeatedly specified Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities in the AATIP while assigned to the very office, OUSDI, out of which Kari DeLonge asserted he directed the project. That's stronger than three feet of new rope.

Luis Elizondo did not immediately respond to an opportunity to comment for inclusion in this blog post.

As many have speculated, perhaps Elizondo was given no particular assignments and managed some type of unofficial UFO file. Others have speculated security classification restrictions or non-disclosure agreements have prohibited him from providing the verification sought. 

Former promotional image for
History and reddit
There are multiple problems with such scenarios. For one, Elizondo's role has clearly been portrayed by TTSA-friendly writers and sensationalist cable television shows as much more significant than some guy organizing a few files in his spare time. Such a situation would, at this point, seem misleading and overhyped, at best.

Secondly, arguing that a security oath prohibits Elizondo from verifying his AATIP claim does not relieve him of responsibility for making the assertion in the first place. It enables a lack of responsibility, and makes excuses for his statements, rather than properly assigning him the burden of proof.

Moreover, if a person sincerely believed their assertion was important enough to voice, but they knew they ultimately could not prove it, perhaps they should concede that to be the case. In contrast, Elizondo might much more accurately be described as someone who has framed himself as a victim for having evidence requested of him.

Elizondo has frequently minimized the discrepancies and the repeated contradicting statements issued by the Pentagon. This is in spite of the fact he should have been prepared to verify his claims if he was ever going to make them. There are law firms that specialize in national security and whistleblower cases. It is arguably an insult to intelligence to suggest options were so limited that the best or only course of action was as appears to have been selected.

No matter how the situation may or may not eventually be resolved, the fact remains it is currently at issue. Denial of the fact only calls motives and competence further into question.   

Meanwhile, Adam Kehoe reported questions were aptly raised about Elizondo's potential involvement with the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF. The Task Force is expected to have some bearing on whatever may or may not materialize of an anticipated intelligence report on UAP. 

Kehoe wrote that Elizondo commented extensively about the pending UAP report during a recent conference call. This prompted call participants to ask about his role in producing the report, at which time Elizondo deflected the questions and suggested they be directed to the government.

Kehoe subsequently asked the Department of Defense about Elizondo's involvement with the UAPTF, to which spokesperson Susan Gough responded he had no involvement. "Her denial specifically included consulting and or any other kind of engagement," Kehoe added.

The discrepancies may eventually be conclusively resolved. A lot of researchers seem to have a finger on the pulse of the story and be equipped with adequate shovels. What will not be resolved is that Luis Elizondo levels claims and spins himself as being under attack when asked to substantiate them. Those who seek sufficient supporting evidence are often villainized, within a genre, no less, notorious for accepting unproven claims.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Corbell Asserts but Fails to Report How Stories Vetted

    Among the latest stories to splash the UFO Disclosure pot is one involving Jeremy Corbell and material he calls "genuine UFO/UAP footage." Corbell published a post at his website and took to Twitter to share images and a film clip of what he described as pyramid shaped craft and transmedium vehicles.

The maker of such films as Bob Lazar and Hunt for the Skinwalker wrote at his website he obtained the material "in an anonymous data dump." Each item included "detailed written context," he added. 

Corbell wrote he enrolled the help of George Knapp to verify the materials. As a result, he asserted, "I can confirm their authenticity - as well as - the narrative supplied to me when they were presented."

Substantial detail is put forth about the alleged context of the images and video footage, described by Corbell as coming from a May 1, 2020, Office of Naval Intelligence classified briefing. No further information about the vetting process is offered, however, than Corbell's reference to information "articulated" to him by "those familiar with the briefing." The names or specific roles of such people are not provided. Corbell similarly goes on without justification to assert the "impressive provenance" of the material while explaining with confident certainty its otherwise quite unclear purposes. 

Corbell did not immediately respond to an email request to field a few questions for inclusion in this blog post. 

Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Gough confirmed the photos and videos were taken by the Navy, adding the UAP Task Force included the incidents in their ongoing examinations. Gough would not provide further context, however.

"As we have said before," she continued, "to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP."

Information has been scarce about the UAP Task Force, with its scope and significance called into question. The personnel have yet to be publicly identified, and George Knapp reportedly suggested the "Force" had no budget and no staff. Any resulting report, it was added, would have to be produced by the director in his spare time because he already had a full time job.

Questions were raised about how material from a classified briefing could be provided to Corbell. Similar questions arose about the apparent discussion of the contents of the briefing as portrayed at his website.

"Without having seen the actual material that you are referring to, I would say a couple of things," Steven Aftergood, veteran researcher of national security and classification policy at the Federation of American Scientists, explained in an April 12 email. 

"It is entirely possible for a classified briefing to include unclassified parts. In fact, most classified documents do have at least some unclassified paragraphs or portions.

"In the UFO context, the question of authenticity is much more important than the question of classification. There is a history of fabricated documents and images that purport to show UFOs. If someone cannot reliably identify the source of their information because it is 'classified,' then that would count against its credibility."

The UFO faithful are indeed going to continue to struggle to gain respect from a wider audience due to unresolved issues about the context of leaked material. It is reasonable to question if intelligence officials genuinely believe the objects depicted are as mysterious as Corbell's apparent sources would have us believe. It is also questionable as to how widely this view might be shared among such officials. There is no way to resolve such issues other than through transparent verification. 

The motives of the sources and those who relay their stories will remain a significant issue. Why do the sources prefer anonymity if the info they share is unclassified? One school of thought might suggest ambiguity offers more opportunity for unearned credibility than if the public conclusively knew three-plus years of Disclosure stories all originated from the same person or two.

It ultimately boils down to why intelligence officials, with a message they feel is of great substance, would choose Jeremy Corbell to carry it to the masses. After all, Mr. Aftergood was quite receptive to exploring the topic. Maybe Corbell should be questioning why those in Naval Intelligence circles placed such confidence in his info security and communication skills. If he's not asking why, perhaps we should be asking him why not.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Police Use Hypnosis in Texas

     The Texas Department of Public Safety put an end in January to 40 years of using hypnosis to investigate crimes, The Dallas Morning News reported. The announcement Texas Rangers will cease the shocking practice came in the wake of a two-part series, "The Memory Room," outlining the hypnosis program and published by the newspaper last April. The News reported officers used the debunked technique to send dozens of men and women to prison and some to their deaths.   

The Rangers employed hypnosis in attempts to obtain evidence for investigation. It was not clear to what extent it was used as an interrogation technique. The program raises many concerns due to the vulnerability of a hypnosis subject to be coerced and influenced.

The circumstances are darkly reminiscent of the saga of Navy Petty Officer Daniel King, as described in the Hoffman Report. King was held by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service from 1999-2001 on suspicion of spying. His detainment involved brutal interrogation sessions and the use of hypnosis. The young man was ultimately released and the case became the subject of an ethics review. A liaison for the American Psychological Association called the actions of the hypnotist "ethically very marginal."

The infamous use of hypnosis as a memory enhancer is well known in the UFO genre. Despite the practice having been conclusively discredited by qualified memory experts, it continues to find ill advised support among alien abduction advocates.

UFO proponents using hypnosis as an investigative tool can be traced back to the 1960's case of Betty and Barney Hill. Although Dr. Benjamin Simon employed hypnosis as a treatment for trauma with the couple, and did not take the resulting mental imagery literally, the sessions were misrepresented by others as compelling evidence for alien interaction. 

As one mental health professional explained to us here at The UFO Trail, "After speaking directly with Dr. Simon, I felt duped by the UFO community and media. There was misrepresentation of Dr. Simon's conclusions in the Hill case. These false conclusions were widely continued on in movies, books, etc. I was very disappointed and discounted the case as a result of hearing the truth from the practitioner."  

UFO researcher Dr. Leo Sprinkle used hypnosis as a means to try and extract what he supposed were suppressed memories of aliens. As described by Adam Gorightly in his new book, Saucers, Spooks and Kooks, Paul Bennewitz would secure his car from alien influence by lining the windows with tin foil for the vehicle to be used as a safe space for Sprinkle to hypnotize Myrna Hansen. Some of the resulting mental imagery from the 1980 case was promoted so widely it continues today to be incorrectly taken for granted as factual about alien abduction and surrounding circumstances. Suffice it to say the Sprinkle-Hansen activities should not be considered mentally healthy, much less effective or helpful treatment for trauma.

Budd Hopkins
The cow was then out of the barn, and so-called researchers such as Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and John Carpenter relied virtually exclusively on hypnotic regression as an investigative technique. They gave little more than lip service to the welfare of the individuals being hypnotized. The haphazard sessions offered easy to manufacture, plentiful sources of otherwise mostly nonexistent evidence. Related ethical failures are thoroughly documented in my book, The Greys Have Been Framed. The work of Carol Rainey is salient on the topic, including her article, The Priests of High Strangeness, as well as posts she contributed to The UFO Trail.     

The Dallas Morning News reported Texas Rangers performed at least 1,700 hypnosis sessions since the 1980's. Public records obtained by the outlet indicate eight sessions were conducted by officers last year, including an October attempt to investigate a kidnapping. Three of the eight sessions were related to murder investigations. 

While the Rangers had the most prolific hypnosis program in Texas, its shelving does not necessarily signify the end of the troubling law enforcement practice. Over 800 officers have been approved statewide to implement hypnosis since the 1980's. Most states have banned or significantly restrict hypnosis use by police officers and prosecutors. Texas is likely the only state with an active certification program for officers to learn hypnosis and hosts probably the only police organization in the country with investigative hypnotists.