This guest article is written by Roger Glassel, a researcher and writer for the Swedish quarterly magazine UFO-Aktuellt. Roger was a member of the Roswell Slides Research Group (RSRG, who exposed the claim that two Kodachrome photographs showed a space alien from the alleged Roswell crash - proven instead to be of a child's remains on exhibition at Mesa Verde Museum). He was also a member of the Puerto Rico Research Group, focused on the Aguadilla infrared video case. Roger is from Sweden and works as an IT architect specializing in system integrations and communications.
By Roger Glassel
Project Blue Book, the United States Air Force's study of Unidentified Flying Objects, was closed in 1969, and that was - the public was told - the end of the government’s interest in UFOs. As Dr. Edward U. Condon concluded at the time, further study of UFOs would have no scientific interest, and the phenomenon itself was no threat to national security. So imagine everyone's surprise when the NYT revealed such a government study was being conducted once again - a study that not only included scientific interest in the matter, but held it as national security concern. For some in the UFO community - who over the years have disagreed on these two points made by Dr. Condon - this was like winning the lottery. Almost too good to be true.
Though the Pentagon has not characterized the nature of the AATIP as a UFO study, they have confirmed the existence of the program - a program they refer to as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. The videos released - that are said to be connected with the program - also conform with the AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR targeting system used in the US military’s F/A-18 dual purpose fighter craft. So the videos do appear to be genuine.
What is also interesting with this story is that a former DOD employee named Luis Elizondo, who resigned his position and joined the staff of Tom DeLonge's company To The Stars Academy of Art and Science (TTSA), has openly stated that he was the head for the AATIP. The program was reportedly contracted to the company Bigelow Aerospace, the Las Vegas company created by Robert Bigelow - a billionaire with a long-time interest in UFOs and the paranormal. Others, such as Dr. Eric Davis and Dr. Hal Puthoff, have also stated that they have worked for the program.
Although Mr. Elizondo is a new player in the game, both Dr. Davis and Dr. Puthoff are well known and have done theoretical studies for the US Government in the past - discussing subjects such as advanced propulsion (laser propulsion), wormholes, and teleportation. Also, the AATIP has been connected with the infamous Skinwalker Ranch (formerly owned by Bigelow) and studies of exotic materials, but these various associated curiosities are beyond the scope of this article. The focus here is the military targeting pod videos now made public. More specifically, examining questions about the release of the videos.
The New York Times story and all the subsequent media attention for the AATIP has been driven by the videos, which so far are the only evidence provided that the program was studying UFOs. Videos from a ATFLIR system would of course have originated from the US military, but that does not equate with them being connected to a DOD program allegedly investigating the UFO phenomenon. Also, one of the targeting pod videos referred to as FLIR1, or Tic Tac, that TTSA is connecting with the AATIP, was leaked by a Navy technician and have been available on the Internet since 2007. There could be a possibility that the other videos have been available on the Internet as well (military forums, veteran groups, interest groups, promotional videos, etcetera) and that TTSA is depicting them for something they are not. Remember that TTSA is not AATIP. Therefore, as evidence, the authenticity of the videos - both the provenance and the events they depict - need to be carefully verified. Looking into how the videos were released would be a first natural step in such verification.
A while after the first NYT story came out, another article drew my attention. It was an article written on February 17, 2018 by science writer Sarah Scoles for the online magazine Wired. In that article it is stated by Major Audricia Harris, who is a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (OSD PA), that the targeting pod videos were not approved for released by the Pentagon. She stood firm that the DOD did not release those videos.
A bit after that, on February 25, 2018, Luis Elizondo himself explained in the second hour of a radio interview on Coast to Coast AM that the targeting pod videos were prepared for release by the DOD in accordance to DoDD 5230.09 and DoDI 5230.29 by sending in the videos along with DD Form 1910 to Defense Office for Prepublication and Security Review (DOPSR), and that the videos were cleared for unrestricted release to the public. Mr. Elizondo also mentioned there were emails sent back and forth, so he seemed to have been involved in the process.
So now we have a firm standpoint from the Pentagon that the videos were not released by them, and detailed information from Mr. Elizondo on how the videos were released. I thought the best way to sort this out would be to contact Maj. Harris.
After reaching out by email to Maj. Harris she explained in a response to me that the DOPSR process will only render in a recommendation for releasability, and that this recommendation does not equate to approved for public release. She also told me that OSD PA is the sole release authority for DOD information, however, they have no record of a request for clearance of these videos.
Maj. Harris’ firm standpoint became even firmer. But had these videos gone through the DOPSR process as claimed? What better way to find out than to contact the Defense Office for Prepublication and Security Review - so I did.
Questions leads to a request
I directly contacted the DOPSR by the only email address I could find - their public inbox for sending in unclassified information for review. This was, as I was quickly told, not the right way to contact them. This did however take an unexpected and fortunate turn, as I was given a personal Point of Contact (POC) at the Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Staff Freedom of Information Act Office (OSD JS FOIA) by the Security and Review Specialist who answered my email. With this lead, I sent my questions on.
My POC was able to provide clarifying details and valuable advice. First, he explained to me that while Maj. Harris was correct about that the DOPSR process will only render in a recommendation for releasability, she was not correct in stating that the OSD PA is the sole release authority for DOD information. The 34 FOIA offices releases large amount of information that does not get reviewed by the PA office.
He continued to explain that almost every information request related to Mr. Elizondo has been transferred to the DIA FOIA office for their processing and direct response to the requester. But for requests regarding the DOPSR review process, that I was asking for, he said would fall under their (OSD JS FOIA office) purview. As my letter to him was worded as questions, he asked me to resubmit it, structured as a proper request for information under the Freedom of Information Act - which I did.
Besides the background story pointing out which videos I was referring to, my request was worded as following.
"Under the Freedom of Information Act, I am seeking all documents related to DOPSR's review of these videos, to include who submitted the request and the results of such review."
Review and Release
In going through this search, I found out about the different channels that information goes through when subjected for release. As I have learned, there is a review process and a release process.
The release process is divided between different release authorities. To find out from which authority information was released, you must file an FOIA request to every authority. In this instance, I am not actually interested in which authority that released them, or who initiated them for release, as I am just seeking verification that the videos came from DOD.
The review process, on the other hand, is handled by a single office, the DOPSR, and it is mandatory that information is reviewed and cleared by this office before going through the release process. So for me to understand if the videos came from DOD, I only had to file a single request to the FOIA office that the DOPSR falls under to find out who submitted them and what the result was. Or if they even went through this process.
After about a week I received the interim response with the name of the action officer assigned to my case and my case number: 18-F-0724. My request was registered March 26, 2018. Finally, the search for the provenance of the UFO videos was properly submitted and officially underway.
Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications
Going back a bit to March 21, 2018, I woke up and saw a message from my friend and fellow researcher Curt Collins, urging me to take a screenshot of a Twitter posting by Tom DeLonge. As Mr. DeLonge is a well known serial deleter of tweets, I took the screenshot and did not think much about it. After my request was registered, I thought I should have a look what the tweet was all about. In the tweet, DeLonge stated that TTSA was negotiating a deal with EarthTech to get the rights to Dr. Puthoff's laser beam energy propulsion (which I though was invented by Leik Myrabo in the 1980s, but never mind). DeLonge also seemed to insinuate that Puthoff's work on this matter was done as part of the AATIP. This drew my attention to the EarthTech website.
What was most interesting on the EarthTech website was not the things about Dr. Puthoff, but about Dr. Eric Davis, also connected with the AATIP. The site listed various publications written by him. Under "U.S. Government Program Contract Reports" he has listed six theoretical studies that he conducted for the Defense Intelligence Agency Defense Warning Office (DIA DWO) between the year 2010 and 2011, within the same time frame the AATIP was contracting studies.
Conducting a web search, combining "DWO" and the titles of the reports, I found that two of them - "Traversable Wormholes, Stargates and Negative Energy" and "Warp Drive, Dark Energy and the Manipulation of Extra Dimensions" - were available for download on the Internet.
In these two reports it is stated that, "the report is a product of a series of advanced technology reports produced under the DIA DWO Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications program (AAWSA)". The content of the two reports also correlates with the content of the study topics that Dr. Davis has openly stated he wrote for the AATIP. Basically, the same content that Dr. Davis wrote for the Air Force Research Laboratory (back in 2004) that is now available for download through the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).
By searching on the AAWSA name I also found a LinkedIn profile of a person in the Nevada area that had worked for Bigelow Aerospace between 2009 and 2010. More specifically, he was employed "in a interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers studying advanced aerospace weapon system applications including lift, propulsion, control, power generation, signature reductions, materials and armament".
AAWSA, if not the same, would seem to be closely related to AATIP, so close I thought it would be worth adding it to my FOIA request about the videos. It was important to have this information added because if, and I say if, the AAWSA program turns out to be the true name of the AATIP, without it, my request might be returned with a "no records found".
I forwarded the information to my POC at the OSD JS FOIA office to be added to my request. At first, he thought I was seeking information about the DIA program itself and directed me to their FOIA office. After explaining that I only wanted to use that name as a search phrase to be added to my request, the answer from him was that the videos themselves are very specific, and the DOPSR office does not review many videos, so it will be very easy for them to identify them, with or without the added information. However, he said he would pass on the information to the action officer for her action to pass onto DOPSR.
Now starts the waiting game, and it could be a long wait. In the interim response from my action officer, it was explained that due to unusual circumstances and an extensive backlog of 2600 open cases, my request was placed in a complex processing queue. I heard that others have got the same same kind of reply when filing their requests. The majority of the other requests are however general inquiries rather than targeted inquiries, so I have some hope about this one. Realistically, I am not expecting a response any time soon. But when I receive it, I will let you all know the outcome.
Share 'em if you got 'em
It should be noted that none of the research I have done would have been necessary if both TTSA and NYT would share the release documents they say they have.
I have reached out to Leslie Kean - who was the co-author for the original NYT article about the AATIP - asking her to make the release documents public. Her answer to me was that the NYT has the documents that say that the videos was cleared for public release, but that background documents provided to the NYT by their sources are confidential until their sources say otherwise. Of course journalists have the right to protect their sources, but I told her that I did not fully understand how documents from an official release authority or review office could be considered as a source that need to be protected. Her answer was however the same.
I have also tried to reach out to TTSA asking them for the release documents. I first contacted Mr. Elizondo directly by email using an address that he left on a discussion forum, but with no success. I then contacted Dr. Garry Nolan - who I find to be both honest and sincere. He answered the he rarely interacts with TTSA and is not a representative for the company, but simply acts as an advisor. Dr. Nolan said that he have been instructed not to give out email addresses, and to direct anyone with questions to use the contact form on the TTSA website. However, he did say that he forwarded my email to relevant persons, giving them the opportunity to contact me with their reply. I did not hear from them, so I contacted TTSA through their contact form and got the response that I must contact the New York and Beverly Hills based PR company B|W|R with my questions. I sent my questions - directed to Mr. Elizondo - to the two persons provided to me, but up to this day I have not received a response of any kind from neither them nor Mr. Elizondo.
A short encore
To those of you who have followed the story up to this point - listening to me go on about these utterly boring bureaucratic procedures and wonder why it is important, I will say; Processes are to be followed. You can work pragmatically within a process, but you can not work outside of the process. These DOD processes are made for the protection of information. So if they did review these videos before their release, there are records of it. If there are no records, the DOD did not release them. If the videos was not released as claimed, that would raise serious questions about the story being told about the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.
Could Maj. Audricia Harris be right after all? Time will tell...
Warp Drive, Dark Energy and the Manipulation of Extra Dimensions, Dr. Eric Davis, DIA DWO, 2010
Traversable Wormholes, Stargates and Negative Energy, Dr. Eric Davis, DIA DWO, 2010
What's up with those Pentagon UFO videos? Sarah Scoles, Wired, 2018