Showing posts with label FOIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FOIA. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Documents Released via FOIA on the AATIP UFO Videos

On March 26, 2018, Swedish UFO researcher Roger Glassel submitted a FOIA request relating to the 3 Navy UFO videos made famous in relation to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The request asked for “all documents related to DOPSR’s review of these videos, to include who submitted the request in the report results of such a review.”

On August 16, 2019, Roger Glassel received a response from his FOIA request and published the documents on the UFO UpDates Facebook group, then later on Twitter.

UFO UpDates


The FOIA documents Glassel received contain 16 pages, a series of emails between Luis D. Elizondo (then Director, National Programs Special Management Staff, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence) and Michael C. Russo of The Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review (DOPSR), and the forms requesting and releasing three .mpg video files, “GoFast, Gimble and FLIR.” The files can be viewed or downloaded at the following link:

Timeline: Selected TTSA and AATIP Events

Events leading up to the release of the videos and their use.

July 23, 2015: Tom DeLonge posted a photo on Facebook of John Podesta taken while filming a documentary for his To The Stars Media Inc., DeLonge’s company designed to the “Disney” of UFOs, creating an entertainment franchise.  

April 5, 2016: The first To The Stars Media UFO franchise product was released, Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows by Tom DeLonge and A. J. Hartley.

Feb. 13, 2017: To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science Inc. (TTSA) was incorporated as “a Delaware public benefit corporation.” 

August 9, 2017: Luis D. Elizondo’s filed a DOPSR request for the release of three videos of “Unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Aug 24, 2017: DD Form 1910 granted release as requested by Elizondo,
“Not for publication. Research and analysis ONLY and info sharing with other USG and industry partners for the purposes of developing a database to help identify, analyze, and ultimately defeat UAS threats.” (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) 

Sept. 9, 2017: Elizondo sent copies of the Navy videos to Chris Mellon.

Oct. 4, 2017: Elizondo resigned from the Defense Department.

Oct. 11, 2017: TTSA press conference, which announced the organization and Elizondo’s role as their “Director of Global Security.”

Director of Global Security

Dec. 16, 2017The New York Times publishes the AATIP story presenting the first two of the three videos.

Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and False Pretenses

In 2017, while preparing the TTSA launch, the media was shown documents for the purpose of establishing the legitimacy of AATIP as a UFO program. Only a few reporters questioned what was being promoted. Joby Warrick, in “Head of Pentagon’s Secret ‘UFO’ Office Sought to Make Evidence Public” by, The Washington Post, Dec 16, 2017:

“Elizondo, in an internal Pentagon memo requesting that the videos be cleared for public viewing, argued that the images could help educate pilots and improve aviation safety. But in interviews, he said his ultimate intention was to shed light on a little-known program Elizondo himself ran for seven years: a low-key Defense Department operation to collect and analyze reported UFO sightings.”

Later in Warrick’s article he explained that obtaining the videos was part of Elizondo’s resignation strategy, and his transition into the UFO business in the private sector:

“As part of his decision to leave the Pentagon, he not only sought the release of videos but also penned a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis complaining that a potential security threat was being ignored.”

As the timeline above showed, within days of his resignation Elizondo was on stage with TomDeLonge as an employee of To The Stars. 

Oct. 11, 2017
The Washington Post story raised a lasting  concern about the propriety of the release and their subsequent use by TTSA, that Elizondo had obtained them under false pretenses

In an attempt to prove the videos were legitimate, George Knapp published the DD 1910 form that requested the release of the videos. However, he chose to redact certain information, including the name of Luis D. Elizondo and his title within the DOD.
“EXCLUSIVE: I-Team confirms Pentagon did release UFO videos” by George Knapp and Matt Adams, Apr 29, 2019

The FOIA documents contain no mention by Elizondo of AATIP, UFOs, UAPs or any mention of anomalous aircraft, just the threat of “Unmanned aerial vehicles (balloons, commercial UAVs, private drones such as quadcopters, etc.)”

Responding to the FOIA release of the correspondence, Luis Elizondo provided George Knapp with this statement:
"At the time of the request, AATIP was still a small and sensitive program that I was not at liberty to discuss among a broader audience. I used the term UAS as a general phrase that people could understand without specifically highlighting UAPs."

Chasing Shadows

The FOIA documents do not prove where the Navy videos came from, what they depict, or under what circumstances they were packaged and labeled. However, it’s almost certain that someone within AATIP who prepared them to be presented as UFO videos. Therefore, if released, the mpg files would appear to be official UFO videos. The documents state the purpose for which Elizondo said he would use the videos, and his actual use of them was far different. The question we have to ask ourselves is that a bit of falsehood wrong if it motivates a search for the truth?

King Arthur and the Holy Grail by Howard David Johnson

“Since ancient times the literature of Europe has always featured tales of mysterious and fabulous kingdoms... Some of these stories, brought back by travelers like Marco Polo, were fairly accurate, while others were less so... made up out of whole cloth. Europeans reading or hearing accounts of the wonders of Cathay, Hind, El Dorado, or Prester John's kingdom in Africa could rarely differentiate the true from the imaginary. These stories served as entertainment, but perhaps more importantly they served as an impetus for exploration.”
Professor Michael Levy, introduction to the 2003 edition of The Moon Pool by A. Merritt

Similar positive thoughts have been expressed by ufologists, such as this statement from a lecture given at a Mutual UFO Network Symposium on July 1, 1989:

"Throughout our history mankind has witnessed many quests for things which either did not exist, or which, when found, turned out to be something quite different from what was expected... the Holy Grail... the fountain of youth... seven cities of gold... Atlantis... King Arthur and his knights of the round table. In every case, it was not the goal so much as the process of the search itself which made a positive contribution to man's knowledge of himself and the planet he lives on." 
— William L. Moore

The link again to the FOIA files released to Roger Glassel:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Questions on the Cash-Landrum UFO Investigation

I recently was invited to appear on an episode of the Paracast, “a special shop talk/listener roundtable episode...” Somehow, much of the discussion centered on the cover-up of alien bases on the dark side of the Moon, so I didn’t have much to add to the conversation. However, there were some listener’s questions that were very good, but there wasn’t time to present them all. A few very good ones came from “cosmonaut,” who'd asked about the Cash Landrum UFO case.

If it was a human military experiment why test the craft in a public area? How do you explain that?

Airport Ramada Inn, Indianapolis, Indiana

The idea that a secret or experimental craft would be tested over a populated area seems incredible, as in the ridiculously implausible sense of the word. The article “Cracks in the Black Dike” by Jim Cunningham is an excellent examination of the attempt and failure to maintain secrecy about the F-117A stealth plane. In it, he mentions two crashes from the program that were near populated areas, the July 1986 crash of a training flight near Bakersfield, California, and also an A-7D Corsair (a daytime stand-in for used to keep F-117A pilots sharp) crashed into a hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana, killing 10 people.

Also, there have been a number of accidents in populated areas involving classified transportation of nuclear materials or weapons, as you'll see in this article on U.S. Nuclear AccidentsThere must be many more projects that we’ll never know about, and it’s only because these incidents were disastrous and unsuccessful that become public knowledge. These examples can’t prove anything about the UFO in the Cash-Landrum story, but they show that the potentially dangerous military operations have often been conducted close to populated areas.

One further comment on the UFO as a secret military project. I think it is unlikely. These projects are built to solve a particular problem or serve a pressing need. US spy planes are a perfect example of that, and provide a good case to study in the developmental process. What we usually see is a five to ten year developmental period involving dozens or hundreds of people. Typically, secrecy of the project or its concept is not tightly maintained, about all that can be concealed is its purpose or function and some of the technical and operational details.  For example, the CIA’s U-2 spy plane was claimed to be a NASA project collecting weather data at high altitude. 

NASA's experimental weather plane, so the cover story said.
Eventually, most of these secret programs are eventually exposed during their operation and eventually publicly disclosed. But, if the Cash-Landrum UFO was a secret military project, it may have been scrapped and literally buried. That's just the fate of some other experimental aircraft, see Top Secret Tombs: The Classified Stealth Aircraft Burial Grounds of Area 51

What attempts have been made to get FOIA documents and the results?

The best Freedom of Information Act results on the case resulted from an inquiry from Fred Whiting of FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research) into the DAIG investigation, U.S. Army Inspector General's Office, Washington, D.C., which resulted in the release of the report by Lt. Col. George C. Sarran

Another FOIA request produced some interesting trivia, an attempt to learn more about the C-L case via a remote viewing session. I’d say they failed, but if you are interested, see:

As far as I know, these are the only materials produced and have been released to multiple individuals over the years. so far, I’ve only attempted two FOIA requests, one directed at getting the records from Bergstrom AFB, and another directed at the DAIG. both were unsuccessful.

There must be other material, but locating it and getting it released may be difficult. There should be documents from the Air Force from Captain Virginia (Ginny) Lampley’s brief investigation, from the defense prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Conforti in the legal case, and from the various branches of the military and NASA when they prepared statements indicating that they neither owned or operated any device resembling the UFO. In addition to that, there may be court documents from the Southern District Federal Court in Houston. Probably no smoking guns in there, but material I’d like to obtain and have persevered for the study of the case. These are the known knowns and known unknowns, but there may be unknown unknowns as well.

Can you elaborate on the idea that the UFO was launched from an aircraft carrier? What is the source and evidence for that?

USS New Orleans
The aircraft carrier theory was proposed by John Schuessler, but as a source for the helicopters, not the UFO. He suggested it could have been the USS New Orleans.

Tim Printy looked into these claims, and found it unlikely, with the New Orleans in particular being ruled out. 
“There is no evidence a carrier was out on operations over the holiday period. Like the rest of the military, unless they are deployed, most ships are in a stand down period over the holidays. Sailors spend a lot of time away from home (I have personal experience with this) and to deploy at this time of the year would have caused quite an uproar with the families. I think Schuessler had proposed the theory that the USS New Orleans was in the area. I recall looking into this and the New Orleans was on the west coast getting ready for an overhaul. It also had completed a westpac/operations in the Indian Ocean in November 1980. It seems highly unlikely that they would leave their home port in California shortly after returning from a long cruise overseas (this act would alone would cause a riot among the navy wives) to go to the east coast, conduct this secret exercise, and then return to the west coast in time to go to Puget Sound.”

Additionally, such a carrier would provide only about half the number of helicopters described in the case, and we’d still have to find a source for the others. Schuessler has done just the type of thing that skeptics get hammered for, manufacturing a real-world solution that fits the story, but for which there is no evidence.

What is your plan to further investigate this spectacular case?

Three key areas:
1) Seek out unreleased civilian documents on the case. There seem to be some in the files of both MUFON and FUFOR. The key item here is the original report made by Project VISIT led by John F. Schuessler. Copies of this report were circulated to the prominent UFO organizations at the time, but for whatever reason are not available.
2) Launch targeted FOIA requests for the material described above.
3) There are surviving participants in the case, reporters, investigators, medical and perhaps military personnel. Some of these have not spoken publicly in the case since after the story initially broke. I’ve located some of these individuals and would like to travel to Texas to personally interview them.

There are some other items, probably held by the family of the witnesses. For example, Betty Cash had a big file of clippings correspondence and documents, and Vickie Landrum maintained a log of her and Colby’s health and experience after the event. These personal records are a sensitive issue, so that will depend on the cooperation of the families.

Cosmonaut, thank you for asking some very good questions about the case. The C-L story is fascinating and holds a unique place in UFO history. The response and interaction by the US government alone sets it apart from other cases and makes it worthy of study. While the case has become a legend,  underneath the layers of myth, there seems to some genuine event at the core. I also hope that by continuing to discuss the case that perhaps someone with information about it will be prompted to come forward to share it.