Sunday, August 1, 2021

Preorder E-Book 'Wayward Sons: NICAP and the IC'

     Wayward Sons: NICAP and the IC is now available for preorder in e-book format. Your Kindle purchase will download on or about Saturday, August 21. Cost is $9.99. A paperback version will be offered about the same point in time. Below please see the table of contents and introduction contained in the nonfiction book.

Please note the e-book may be most suitable for certain readers. The book frequently references a variety of linked sources, so the links are easier to navigate in e-book form. Another consideration is a number of images of documents are provided which may be most effectively viewed on an electronic device. Also, I did not create an index for the paperback since an e-book is searchable. While I created a paperback version because I understand some readers prefer a hardcopy book, I encourage taking the above circumstances into account and giving some thought to what will offer you the best reading experience when choosing a format. [UPDATE: I received a proof copy of the paperback and the images of documents transferred quite well. I would therefore say the most important issues in choosing your preferred format are if it is important to you to have live links and a searchable medium.]

Thank you for your interest. Should you choose to obtain the book, I sincerely hope you find it a worthy read.

To request a review copy, email subject line "Wayward Sons" to and I will reply with a pdf version of the e-book.


    The significance of the NICAP story is subjective. Like many historical sagas, it depends on who you ask as to what it meant, and, in some cases, what even happened. Select events can be established from records and archives, and we will certainly examine them, but the fact remains people have differing ideas about what was most important and most interesting about the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.

It is notable that the NICAP saga may be viewed in at least two contexts. One, which is my interest, is the organization's intersection with the intelligence community. A second, and more commonly viewed context, is NICAP UFO investigation. People interested in UFOs understandably want to know if the group learned anything important. The investigators of NICAP sure thought so, but dissecting the situation leads us to the paradox of the matter. The story of NICAP, and what is most significant about it, is not so easily discerned.

Did NICAP do some good work? Yes, it did. Were NICAP investigators credulous? Yes, that's true too, depending on specific circumstances considered. Was NICAP a CIA front? That might be accurate as well, short lived and/or intermittent as it may have been. Did NICAP rattle swords with the CIA and Air Force about a UFO cover-up? Yep, it certainly did. Was the CIA monitoring NICAP? It sure appears so, to more and less extents and depending on the particular circumstances. Did the CIA dismantle NICAP? Maybe so, or, at the least, it is true that CIA associates did basic managerial work for NICAP throughout its lifespan and stages of decline. Did NICAP run itself in the ground through financial mismanagement? Yes, to an extent it did indeed, which also means the CIA was not fully responsible for its demise, at least not necessarily. Much like the parable of the blind men and the elephant, many perspectives are correct to some extent, depending on how one comes at it.

Many feel NICAP was derailed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Perceived motives often include thwarting UFO investigation and destabilizing the group's effort to challenge the Condon Report, which was an Air Force-sponsored assessment that minimized the saucer situation. The presence of CIA associates in the saga is clear enough, but motives are much less so. We will consider the circumstances along with the perspectives of those familiar with the events.

I actually came to strongly suspect the CIA was substantially involved in the incorporation and initial operation of NICAP. We will explore this in detail on the coming pages.

Ironically, I am not convinced the situation significantly impaired or even particularly affected the way Maj. Donald Keyhoe would run the outfit for the next 13 years. During his tenure there was some overt CIA interest in NICAP activities, as well as some possible not so overt interest. The activities of CIA psychological warfare specialist and NICAP Board of Governors member Col. Joseph Bryan III will be explored, as will profiles of his intelligence colleagues from the Office of Policy Coordination. We will examine those situations along with some surrounding spectacles that found their ways into a NICAP orbit.

A focus of this book is NICAP's relation to the intelligence community, particularly the CIA and FBI. We will draw upon documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), newspaper clippings, and many more cited sources.

Much of the material referenced was obtained from records published on the websites of intelligence agencies or by submitting my own requests under the FOIA. As of this writing, several FOIA requests remain open. I will post the material at my blog, The UFO Trail, as it is received.

Another primary source for information covered in this book was NICAP files provided by researcher and archivist Barry Greenwood. I am tremendously grateful to him for supplying the material.

A 69 MB folder provided by Mr. Greenwood consists of 42 pdfs containing NICAP records. It may be accessed in whole on Google Drive or as individual files I will reference and link, as will be the case with many additional sources.

I apologize in advance for the errors which will inevitably inhabit this offering. I hope we find them few, far between, and of minimal consequence.

I am thankful to all who helpfully fielded my questions, provided material, and assisted me in reaching people of interest. I also thank all the researchers whose work and materials are cited. Select archives played key roles as well, and I am grateful to their administrators for their valuable assistance.

Thanks to those who maintain intelligence agency online reading rooms. I am grateful to the FBI, NARA, CIA, NSA, USAF, and the many FOIA officers at several agencies who filled my requests, informed me when no material was available, conducted correspondence, and continue to process records pertaining to this saga. Their work is important and appreciated.

I am grateful to the friends, loved ones, and acquaintances who supported this effort. Your messages, encouragement and phone calls are important to me. Thank you.

I am grateful to you for joining me on an exploration of events beginning some 70 years ago. Thanks for coming along. In doing so, we will hopefully catch a meaningful glimpse or three of what took place. I trust you will share the interest I developed, and find that circumstances from years gone by tend to shed light on more recent events.

Friday, July 23, 2021

CIA Conducts MDR on Bluebird Docs

     The CIA recently conducted a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) of a file containing Cold War era documents pertaining to Project Bluebird. The action resulted from a 2020 request for an MDR submitted by this writer. The Agency provided the updated file today by email. It may be compared to the previously released file originally obtained from the CIA online reading room. 

Research conducted on members of the Board of Governors of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, or NICAP, contributed to interest in requesting further declassification of select Bluebird records. Inaugural Director of Central Intelligence Roscoe Hillenkoetter initially approved the project which ultimately led to MKULTRA. Hillenkoetter, who directed the CIA from 1947-1950, went on to act as NICAP Chairman of the Board from 1957-1962. NICAP, an organization which investigated UFOs, was launched in 1956.  

NICAP Board staple Col. Joseph Bryan III was later identified as a CIA officer who directed a psychological and political warfare subdivision within the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). The OPC operated on CIA funding in conjunction with directives expressed by the State Department from 1948-1952. At that point it was merged with the Office of Special Operations and the two became the Directorate of Plans, effectively forming the CIA Clandestine Services.  

The above referenced Project Bluebird records indicate representatives from the OPC were included on a short list of eyes only personnel providing support for the operation. While it has long been known Hillenkoetter approved the project, the MDR nonetheless offers a bit further insight into the circumstances, such as the DCI's signature shown in the image below on a 1950 memo, along with the indication of OPC involvement.

Page 19 of the updated file was newly released as a result of the MDR. The document is a 1950 memo discussing responsibilities related to the interrogation of Robert Vogeler, accused of espionage in Hungary on behalf of the United States. The now declassified memo appears to be part of a volley of communications pertaining to interrogating Vogeler with Bluebird methods should he be released from prison and accessible to the Agency. 

The CIA would go on to fund a study of Hungarian immigrants within Project MKULTRA. Subproject 69 sought to improve psychological warfare techniques hindered by the Iron Curtain. Hungarians fleeing to the U.S. from conflict were perceived as opportunities to better understand how techniques could be made more effective. MKULTRA was formally approved by DCI Allen Dulles in 1953.

Memos contained in the above referenced Bluebird file outline project objectives and methods, which included increasing the effectiveness of interrogation techniques. Specifically, one memo states, "The purpose of this project is to provide for the immediate establishment of interrogation teams for the operational support of OSO [Office of Special Operations] and OPC [Office of Policy Coordination] activities." This was to be accomplished through the use of such tools as speech inducing drugs, narcoanalysis and hypnotism. 

Offices with the appearance of medical facilities were to be set up in Washington, D.C. The OPC and Office of Special Operations were designated to provide support and undercover staff. 

It might be considered difficult to identify if such documents tell us more about the NICAP Board members or the obsession of the CIA with such lines of research. Either way, it seems reasonable to give deeper consideration to the full employment histories of people often projected to be UFO Disclosure heroes. The pro-UFO quotes of DCI Hillenkoetter are frequently promoted in certain social media circles. His support for unethical human research projects, not so much.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Office of Secretary of Defense: DIA Ran AATIP Until It Ended in 2012

    The AATIP was managed by the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2008 until it ended in 2012, a Government Information Specialist from the Office of the Secretary of Defense stated in an email received Wednesday. The statement comes on the heels of a FOIA final response indicating a search conducted by the DIA found no correspondence, such as emails or memos, exchanged between Luis Elizondo and the DIA pertaining to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The message also comes in the wake of a May 24 email in which Pentagon Spokesperson Sue Gough stated DIA managed AATIP and Elizondo was not assigned to DIA. 

Email received Wednesday, June 30, stemming from FOIA request
for OUSDI records pertaining to AATIP and AAWSAP 

Elizondo and his associates have repeatedly claimed he directed the AATIP, and have specifically stated his directorship began in 2010 from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, or OUSDI. Pentagon spokespersons have repeatedly stated Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities for AATIP while assigned to the OUSDI.

The Wednesday email came as the result of a FOIA request seeking documents on the AATIP and AAWSAP, or Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program. The request for records on the apparent Pentagon UFO projects was submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff (OSD/JS) with the intention of initiating a search for potentially responsive files located in the OUSDI. 

A final response to the request was received June 24 attached to an email from Government Information Specialist Raymond Hartwick of the OSD/JS FOIA Requester Service Center. The response stated the request had been misdirected and should be sent to the DIA.

A reply to the email was sent, informing Mr. Hartwick of an understanding there are allegations the AATIP was transferred into the OUSDI from the DIA. He was therefore asked if the request was submitted to the proper office that would respond to FOIA requests for the OUSDI, and, if not, would he please advise as to where to submit the request to the OUSDI. 

Having not heard back from Mr. Hartwick by Tuesday morning, he was telephoned. A voice mail message was left, reiterating a desire to submit the request to the OUSDI. Wednesday afternoon he emailed, assuring the expressed questions had not been forgotten.

"I am still working with my components to provide you with accurate answers," he added in the email.  

Later Wednesday afternoon another email, pictured above, was received. The message did not address the FOIA submission process for the OUSDI and again advised to direct the request to the DIA. Mr. Hartwick further stated, "The AATIP was managed by DIA from 2008 until it ended in 2012."  

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

DIA FOIA Search Finds No Correspondence With Elizondo Pertaining to AATIP

    The Defense Intelligence Agency responded to a FOIA request that a search found no correspondence, such as emails or memos, exchanged between Luis Elizondo and the DIA pertaining to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The request was submitted in 2018, with a final response issued in a pdf dated June 24, 2021, and delivered Monday by email.

Alluding to FOIA requests submitted by several researchers, the DIA response went on to state the Agency is currently reviewing all of its AATIP holdings and preparing the documents for release. Upon DIA release, the material will be made available for viewing in an online FOIA Reading Room.  

The body of the response:

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

The DIA was credited with launching the AATIP in 2007. The project reportedly transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in 2010, and was shelved in 2012.

Elizondo has repeatedly asserted amid doubts and criticism that he directed the AATIP and worked on it for some ten years. Sen. Harry Reid supports the claim Elizondo ran the project. 

Official statements, directly opposing his claims, have repeatedly been issued from Pentagon spokespersons. Elizondo has done himself no favors in failing to present adequate documentation, or even committing to a particularly coherent narrative.

Some question why Elizondo, who describes himself as an extensively experienced counterintelligence professional, would be selected to head a program investigating aerospace threats. Others suspect his interest in UFOs was much less official than typically portrayed, and that he encouraged public misunderstanding through writers such as Leslie Kean and George Knapp, while at other times simply selectively omitting more accurate context.   

In an email exchange conducted earlier this year with Pentagon Spokesperson Sue Gough, this writer qualified an understanding the position of the DOD is that Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities in the AATIP while assigned to the OUSDI. That being the case, it was asked if it would be possible to clarify who was assigned responsibilities to direct the AATIP.

"The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) managed AATIP," Ms. Gough replied. "Luis Elizondo was not assigned to DIA." 

Daniel Sheehan, an attorney with a long history of advocating alien visitation and taking up UFO-related issues, filed a complaint on behalf of Elizondo with the Department of Defense Inspector General. The document reportedly included Elizondo's assertions a disinformation campaign was undertaken against him. Personal vendettas were to blame, it was alleged, for DOD official denial of his AATIP position and responsibilities.  

Several internet bloggers were notified by the Pentagon he had no duties in the AATIP, Elizondo reportedly asserted in the complaint to the Inspector General. This, the complaint continued, resulted in the bloggers accusing him of fabrication.  

A FOIA request for the complaint was submitted in May to the DOD IG. It responded in a letter dated June 2 that any documents that may be responsive are compiled for a law enforcement inquiry. Release of the documents, at this time, could reasonably be expected to interfere with the inquiry, the response added. The material could be requested and reviewed again at a later date for potential exemption to disclosure and possible release. 

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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Adam Gorightly Discusses 'Saucers, Spooks and Kooks'

    Adam Gorightly just released a brand new book, Saucers, Spooks and Kooks: UFO Disinformation in the Age of Aquarius. He is a longtime writer and researcher of UFO-related shenanigans, and I recommend giving a read to his latest offering from Daily Grail Publishing. 

The book dives into the often dubious tales that make up the UFO genre, taking particular aim at the circumstances surrounding the alleged underground alien base of Dulce, New Mexico. Adam tracks the stories to their origins, and shares insights about his personal interactions with characters who inhabit and cultivate those tales.

I asked Adam if he would field a few questions for a blog post. My questions are followed by his responses below. He also provided the accompanying images. 

    What made you decide to write Saucers, Spooks and Kooks, and what was most important to you about it?

    It was a project that evolved over time, starting with an article I was writing over ten years ago titled “My Breakfast with Tal”, which detailed my account of breaking bread with the one and only Tal Levesque. An enigmatic and somewhat shadowy character, he was a key player in promoting the Dulce Base story/mythos starting back in the late 1980s.

As things progressed, I started delving deeper into the many claims associated with Dulce Base, many of which Tal, and a handful of others, had seemingly seeded, and in some cases, it appeared, created out of whole cloth. Over time, the project evolved into a longer article with the working title “Deconstructing Dulce”. I set out to pick apart the entire Dulce Base story, in essence deconstructing all the elements, in an attempt to separate fact from fiction, and untangle the many seemingly spurious stories associated with Dulce. Many in ufology unfortunately have taken those stories as gospel over the ensuing years. So the article kept growing to the point where it ultimately became book length in order to cover all the aspects of the story, and the many players, in ufology and the intelligence community, who had helped form the Dulce Base narrative.

One of the key allegations in the Dulce Base story concerned a secret treaty between reptilian aliens and the US. Government in which ET technology had been exchanged in return for test subjects to be used in an alien-human hybrid breeding program. Rumors have long circulated that cattle mutilations were also somehow involved in these experiments, the ultimate goal of which was to allegedly create human-alien hybrids to preserve and revive a dying ET race.

As the story goes, a heroic security officer named Thomas Castello led a revolt against the Dulce Base alien bad guys and the end result was a shoot ‘em up that ultimately left sixty-six Dulce Base workers dead. Castello had at his disposal a “flash gun” that allowed him to take out a few of these dastardly aliens and hightail it out of Dulce, thereafter becoming a whistleblower on the run. This legendary battle, straight out of a sci fi B movie script, became known as “The Dulce War”.

    In Saucers, Spooks and Kooks, you trace the origins of several urban myth-like beliefs to Paul Bennewitz and Myrna Hansen, and their fateful interactions of the 1980's. How much of what came to be popularly accepted about alleged aliens would you say is directly related to Hansen and her influence on Bennewitz?

    Myrna Hansen was one of the first so-called alien abductees, way before the term became fashionable. Her encounter, or whatever you want to call it, occurred in early May of 1980, when she and her son Shawn, while driving in Eagle Nest, New Mexico, allegedly witnessed a cow get sucked up on a beam into a spaceship. Shortly after, they were also sucked up into the craft where all sorts of insanity ensued, first with the ETs dissecting the helpless heifer in front of their horrified eyes, and then Hansen was placed into a trance and underwent some sort of medical procedure.

Following her encounter, a terrified Hansen contacted the state police office in the town of Cimarron to inform them of her crazy encounter with knife wielding cow cutting aliens, and in turn the Cimarron office referred her to New Mexico state trooper Gabe Valdez. He worked out of Dulce, and had by this time acquired the reputation as the go-to guy for cut-up cows and unexplained lights in the sky. It was Valdez who put Hansen in touch with Paul Bennewitz, a private government contractor specializing in avionics who among other things was an APRO member. Through Bennewitz’s APRO connections he was able to enlist the services of Leo Sprinkle, a University of Wyoming professor who had been investigating UFO cases using hypnotic regression for over ten years. Sprinkle would conduct a number of hypnotic regressions with Hansen at Bennewitz’s home, and more specifically inside of Bennewitz’s Lincoln Town Car, which he had covered the windows with aluminum foil as a means to disrupt an alien beam he believed was attempting to interfere with Sprinkle’s hypnotic regression of Hansen.

Curiously enough, Sprinkle conducted hypnotic regressions back in 1973 with another lady named Judy Doraty, who recounted a similar tale as Hansen’s regarding ETs and cattle mutes getting sucked up into a space craft, so how much of this was crosspollination or contamination (i.e. investigators/regression therapists leading alleged witnesses to a certain conclusion) is still an open question. It should be noted that Bennewitz, in addition to his fascination with UFOs, also had an abiding interesting in the cattle mutilation phenomenon, and so the two—UFOs and cattle mutes, it could be presumed—became intertwined in his mind and this worldview leaked out on to those with whom he interacted.

Hansen’s regressions included a smorgasbord of standard alien abduction tropes, such as a victim being sucked up into a ship on a Star Trek styled tractor beam, then placed in a trance and undergoing medical procedures related to reproduction and the test tube creation of alien-human hybrids. Hansen, it was alleged, had been implanted with a monitoring device, a so-called “alien implant” as they became known in the lore, and she experienced “missing time.”

As the Sprinkle/Hansen regressions probed ever deeper into the recesses of her beleaguered brain, it was revealed, or she remembered or confabulated (take your pick), being transported to a secret underground facility. During a medical examination, a metallic object was allegedly implanted in the base of her skull, apparently as a means for the aliens to later track her and beam her with malevolent messages, which is the reason why Bennewitz went to all the trouble of constructing a tin foil beanie which he placed over the windows of his car during the hypnotic regression sessions.

At one point during her underground base misadventure, Hansen recalled escaping the clutches of her captors and encountering multiple vats of liquid containing the remains of human and animal body parts. Bennewitz somehow deduced that this underground facility where Hansen saw all this stuff was located near Dulce. All of these elements of the story ultimately became incorporated into UFO lore as we now know it. The term alien “greys,” as far as I have been able to glean, was another trope that came straight out of the Bennewitz Affair.

    As you explained in the book, the Bennewitz Affair came to involve Richard Doty and William Moore. I particularly appreciated your documentation of the origins of the unreliable Majestic 12 documents and their relation to Moore and his associate, Jaime Shandera. What do you think is most important for people to understand about that chain of events?

    One critical factor that’s important to consider when attempting to unravel the origins of the MJ-12 Papers was that in 1981, three years before the MJ-12 papers surfaced, Bill Moore was working on a book project with Bob Pratt, a National Enquirer reporter who covered the flying saucer beat for the magazine. This book project, originally titled MAJIK-12, was a fictionalized account based on supposedly true UFO related information relayed to them by none other than AFOSI special agent Richard Doty, who was identified by Moore in a draft version of this book as “Ronald L. Davis”. MAJIK-12, or alternately MJ-12, was short for Majestic 12, who as most of your readers probably know, was supposedly a super-secret government group involved in investigating UFO sightings and the retrieval of crashed flying saucers and aliens, dead and alive.

Although the Moore/Pratt book project ultimately fell by the wayside, the proposed title MAJIK-12  suggested that Bill Moore was aware of something called MAJIK-12 or Majestic-12 at least three years before a mysterious envelope landed on his research partner Jaime Shandera’s doorstep, sent anonymously with no return address, postmarked Albuquerque, New Mexico. This postmark seemed a huge hint to some that Richard Doty was behind this caper, as during that period Doty was stationed at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque. The envelope contained a roll of 35mm film that when developed revealed photos of what became known as the MJ-12 papers.

Prior to the emergence of the MJ-12 papers, Moore and another research partner, Stan Friedman, speculated about the existence of just such a group as MJ-12, and had even compiled a list of its most probable candidates. Moore later shared these names with Doty in the hopes that he might be privy to information that would confirm their list of MJ-12 candidates. When the MJ-12 papers surfaced, they did indeed include on their roster some of these very same MJ-12 candidates that Moore and Friedman had previously speculated were members of the group, such as Roscoe Hillenkoetter, first director of the CIA (1947-1950), and James Forrestal, who was Secretary of Defense during that same period, thus seemingly providing confirmation to Moore and Friedman that they’d been on the right track. Others would suggest that Doty cooked up the whole caper, and through a feedback loop provided Moore, Shandera and Friedman with what exactly they were looking for regarding information that seemed to confirm the Roswell UFO crash, that just happened to be the subject of the book Bill Moore and Charles Berlitz published in 1979, The Roswell Incident. It has been conjectured that Moore had a hand in counterfeiting the documents, with or without the help of Doty. However, it’s never been conclusively proven who hoaxed the documents, although the FBI determined that they were not authentic, or in their words, “bogus.”

FBI conclusion of the MJ-12 docs: "bogus"

In the same manner that the MJ-12 docs mysteriously showed up on Shandera’s doorstep, a similar event occurred in 1994 when UFO researcher Don Berliner received an anonymously sent envelope that contained a roll of undeveloped 35mm film. Once developed, the photographs revealed a 29-page document called SOM 1-01, Majestic-12 Group Special Operations Manual, a purported military manual related to flying saucer crash retrievals.

SOM-01-1 also included a reference to “Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico” which some suspected was a wink and a nod that it may have been another Richard Doty snow-job. Nonetheless, SOM-01-1 has continued to be embraced by some of the more prominent voices in ufology, such as Linda Howe, who at the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure (a pretend Congressional hearing held at the National Press Club in 2013), claimed that SOM-01-1 had “stood the test of time” —which of course it had done nothing of the sort, and only added to the stack of other seemingly spurious MJ-12 related documents that have littered ufology over the years.

    You wrote about several instances in which members of the military supply UFO researchers with doubtful information, accompanied by promises of future revelations. Ultimately, the big reveal does not materialize and the rug is pulled out from under the researcher. Please tell us a little about one such event.

    In the early 1970s, film producer Robert Emenegger was on the business end of one such promised “big reveal” (that ultimately turned out to be a dud) when he and his co-producer/partner, Allan Sandler, were approached by U.S. Air Force officials with an offer to cooperate and share information for a proposed documentary on UFOs. According to their Air Force contacts, this would be an all hands on deck affair, with the support of each branch of the military who would provide  Emenegger and Sandler access to UFO files in addition to the promised crown jewel: 16mm footage of a UFO landing with ETs, allegedly filmed at Holloman Air Force Base in 1971.

After spending considerable time and resources developing the project, with repeated promises of the saucer landing footage for their documentary, Emenegger and Sandler ultimately had the rug pulled out from under their feet, and were left empty handed as the Air Force failed to deliver the promised goods, and this early version of so-called “UFO Disclosure” went kaput. Emenegger and Sandler’s UFO documentary was eventually released years later, under the title of UFOs: It Has Begun but its impact was obviously diminished greatly from a credibility standpoint after the Air Force pulled out of the project. That's assuming, of course, that the Air Force actually possessed the material they promised for the film.

A similar “UFO Disclosure” head fake happened with Linda Moulton Howe a decade later, when in 1983 she was tapped to produce an HBO special with the proposed title UFOs: The E.T. Factor. During this period, Howe had been investigating the claims of Paul Bennewitz for possible inclusion in her documentary, and along the way she came to the attention of Richard Doty, then assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base. Doty took Howe under his dubious wing, and  gave her a glimpse of some supposedly classified documents related to flying saucer crash retrievals and the astounding revelation that there was actually a little ET in captivity at a military base somewhere. Doty informed Howe if she played her cards right she might even have an opportunity to interview the little fella. In addition, Doty told Howe that government intelligence officers had in their possession film footage of a UFO landing at a military base, as well as other photos and classified materials she could use. After several months of stringing Howe along, Doty informed her that he’d been removed from the case, and passed her on to other intelligence contacts that likewise strung Howe along for a period of several months, but never produced the promised UFO footage. This delay eventually caused HBO to opt out of the project, leaving Howe dangling in the wind.

As for the main motivation behind these capers, one can speculate in a lot of different directions, one of which was that Doty was attempting to discredit and misguide Howe’s UFO research, and ultimately undermine her HBO documentary, as well as to find out what information she had on Bennewitz and the counterintelligence program aimed at him, of which Doty was an operative.

    You explained a lot about the Dulce mythos and the people who spread it. In your research and experience, what did you think was most interesting about all that?

    The evolution of the mythos, and how it came about in the first place, is what I find most intriguing. There are different elements to the story, including what has become known in UFO lore as “The Dulce War”, which I mentioned earlier, where supposedly this security guard at the base named Tom Castello helped form a resistance movement. Some of his fellow human co-workers then got themselves into a dust up with the aliens and came out on the losing end of the skirmish. When the dust had cleared, as the legend goes, sixty-six Dulce base workers perished, although Castello was able to escape on account of his trusty “flash gun.”

So where did this story come from? As far as I can tell, it originated in a December 2, 1981 letter that Paul Bennewitz sent to U.S. Senator for New Mexico Pete Domenici stating that “sometime late 79 or first of 80 an argument insued [sic] over weapons and the military abandoned [Dulce base]; the final circumstance of the men unknown…” In a September 11, 1984 interview, Bennewitz told UFO researcher Jim McCampbell that: “In 1979 something happened and the base was closed. There was an argument over weapons and our people were chased out, more than 100 people involved…” Although Bennewitz didn’t implicitly state that there was an actual battle between humans and aliens at Dulce, his comments about some type of conflict, or of the humans abandoning the base,  appeared to have been enough to plant the seed that later blossomed into “The Dulce War.”

1981 letter from Bennewitz to Sen. Domenici

Nearly a decade later, “The Dulce War” story was fleshed out with the more detailed account concerning Tom Castello and his fellow resistors that appeared in “The Dulce Papers”. Variations of this story have also cropped up concerning a similar battle/confrontation occurring at Area 51.

In the mid-1990s, the Dulce War story resurfaced or was repurposed by a mentally unstable fellow named Phil Schneider who for a time became a star on the patriot and UFO lecture circuit, basically repeating the Tom Castello story with himself inserted into the heroic role of Castello, including the whole shoot ‘em up with dastardly aliens routine.

    There seem to be a lot of common themes that run between each of these stories, such as Dulce, Area 51, SERPO, and events surrounding Paul Bennewitz. Please share some of your thoughts on that.

    I would also add Roswell and the MJ-12 Papers to that mix, and the same recurring cast of characters who promoted these stories that are featured in my book, among them John Lear, Tal Levesque, Richard Doty, Bill Moore and a handful of others that formed this nexus of “influencers.” Bill Moore would later disavow many of these claims, and ostensibly remove himself from this nexus of characters, who he said were pushing false stories that had ultimately driven Paul Bennewitz bonkers.

John Lear, who admittedly had ties to the intelligence community, was an avid MJ-12 Papers promoter, while at the same time, during the mid-1980s, he was leaking information to the media about a secret stealth aircraft testing program at Area 51. The specter of stealth technology was forever lurking on the edges of these tall tales related to Dulce Base, Kirtland and Area 51, part of what appeared to be an effort to shape the overall narrative and muddy the waters about what was actually going on at these military testing sites.

As for SERPO, Richard Doty had a large role disseminating that story, dating back to when he appeared as “Falcon” in the nationally televised special that aired in 1988 called UFO Cover-up Live!. According to Doty (a la “Falcon”), the U.S. government had participated in an exchange program, with the aliens basically giving our astronauts the keys to one of their saucers, and having them travel to their planet, while in exchange the aliens stayed on Earth for a number of years sharing their vast intergalactic wisdom with the Earthlings, which was fundamentally the same story as SERPO.

    What would you tell UFO researchers new to the fray who attempt to navigate these stormy seas?

    Well, I think the people who need to hear it the most would probably care the least about what I have to say, but if they did, I’d suggest looking back in the annals of ufology and examining its past. Do that before jumping aboard any particular UFO shark, because there seems to be nothing new under the sun when it comes to a lot of these recurring themes that continually crop up in UFO lore. 

Ufology has the tendency to retread and repurpose many of the same stories, or elements of the same stories, time and again. A perfect example of this is the so-called Silverman photo, which first surfaced in the German newspaper Neue Illustrierte on April 1, 1950, with the title "Der Mars-Mensch" which showed a strange looking three-foot tall fellow apparently from Mars. A few days later, Neue Illustrierte admitted that the Martian story was an April Fool’s hoax, but that didn’t stop the photo from spreading through the UFO subculture in the years to come.

The infamous Silverman photo
Saucer historian Isaac Koi has compiled a timeline of the Silverman photo and the publications in which it appeared. The first book to feature this photo was Major Donald Keyhoe’s Flying Saucers from Outer Space (1953), which made no mention of the Neue Illustrierte hoax, but claimed that the photo depicted U.S. government agents escorting an ET known as “Aluminum Man”, who was covered with an aluminum spacesuit that protected him from cosmic rays. In Space-Craft from Beyond Three Dimensions (1959), W. Gordon Allen referenced that the creature in the Silverman photo had crawled out of a crashed saucer near Mexico City.

Most recently, Harold Povenmire in UFO's and Alien Abduction Phenomena: A Scientific Analysis (2016) published a colorized version of the Silverman photo promoting it as the real deal, although what “scientific analysis” he conducted is unclear. Thanks to Povenmire, this new iteration of the Silverman photo soon began worming its way through social media, as a new generation of true believers clicked and shared to their heart’s content.