Showing posts with label MUFON. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MUFON. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Cash-Landrum UFO: The True Picture

This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of UFO Today magazine, but unfortunately the format did not allow for all the pictures used as supporting evidence, or for the three versions of the Cash-Landrum UFO illustrated by Christian Lambright. Here for the first time is the article in full.

The Cash-Landrum Incident: Getting to the True Picture

by Curtis L. Collins
     I'd like to get to the bottom of the Cash-Landrum affair. The story there concerns Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Vickie's grandson Colby. The three were coming back from a bingo game when they saw a glowing (object) spewing flames above them in the sky. They stop the car to watch this thing, and as it moved off, they reportedly saw about twenty-three helicopters escorting it out. After they got home there were all sorts of physiological effects: Their eyes swelled, their hair fell out, they developed blisters, they were nauseated and weak. The event completely altered their lives. 
Dr. J. Allen Hynek, OMNI Magazine, February 1985 

The December 29, 1980 encounter near Huffman, Texas is one of best known, thoroughly documented cases in UFO history. Much of the enduring appeal of this dramatic and intricate case is due to the investigation of it by highly credentialed aerospace professionals. The image formed during their early casework permanently shaped how the case is viewed and understood. We need to look back to opening the of the case to examine how that picture was developed. 

It was during Betty Cash’s second hospital stay for a mysterious illness in January 1981 that the story of the encounter began to emerge. Vickie Landrum had been making calls, desperately trying to get some help and answers. They wanted to know: what the object was, how it had injured them and who was responsible for it. When they saw the helicopters following the object, they become convinced that it was all some kind of military operation, and later reasoned that the U.S. government would have knowledge of it, and information that could help them. When Betty Cash was released from the hospital, she joined in Vickie’s efforts to reach someone who could help or provide answers. After some difficulty and delays, Betty contacted John F. Schuessler, and he began investigating the event as a UFO case.

John Schuessler worked for McDonnell Douglas at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He had a private interest in unidentified flying objects and was a founding member of MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network), serving as its deputy director. In 1976 he founded Project VISIT (Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative Team), a Houston-based research group that chiefly consisted of aerospace engineers and other professionals who, in their spare time, applied technical expertise to the study of USVs, or Unidentified Space Vehicles.

Schuessler began by interviewing Betty Cash about the events, taking photographs of her injuries and examining her car. Vickie and Colby Landrum were interviewed one week later, followed by a trip with them the scene. By this time, Betty had moved to Alabama to be cared for by her mother and was unavailable to participate in further physical investigations. Schuessler shared his preliminary report in March 1981 with major UFO organizations, but the investigation continued.

MUFON's John Schuessler. Left, Vickie, Colby Landrum and Betty Cash pose by Schuessler's car.
Other members of Project VISIT participated in the search for additional witnesses and investigated the source of the helicopters. Schuessler also solicited Dr. Peter Rank, a radiologist associated with MUFON, to analyze the medical records to determine if radiation could have been involved in the encounter. The nature of the witnesses’ injuries became a controversial issue; they were cited as proof of the encounter, and yet the medical records documenting them were withheld. The unwillingness of the chief investigator to allow access to case materials has long been a topic of criticism from both UFO skeptics and proponents. 

Pre-hypnosis sketch based on witness testimony by Kathy Schuessler
Over the next several months the media attention continued to build and formed a strange relationship with the case. The media seemed to take the lead in the production of new information and developments. Pleas in the news coverage for any additional witnesses to come forward yielded a few results- respondents claimed seeing either a UFO or some helicopters. The involvement of the television program “That’s Incredible!” led to two new developments. The witnesses were examined by doctors at Houston’s Methodist Hospital, and Vickie Landrum was questioned under hypnosis by abduction researcher Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle. Neither produced any clear solutions. While there was little progress in the case there was much activity, and it continued to look promising. The witnesses were still looking for their answers and cooperated, enduring the publicity in the hopes that it would lead to getting help.

Vickie and Betty weren’t content to let others do all the work, and in late July 1981, it seemed their efforts were beginning to show results. Senator Lloyd Bentsen replied by letter to Betty, advising her to contact Bergstrom Air Force Base to file a report and claim for damages, stating that “...they will be most willing to assist you in any way possible.” Betty took a flight to Texas, and together with Vickie and Colby, made the long drive to Austin to visit the base. Their hopes and expectations were high, perhaps unrealistically so, due to the effusive tone of the letter. Base officials merely questioned them about the events, then explained that the Air Force no longer investigated UFO cases. The witnesses were told there was nothing the Air Force could do beyond providing them with damage claim forms. They were profoundly disappointed, and it proved to be just one event in a long series of false hopes.

Looking back, we can now see that by the fall of 1981 the VISIT investigation had peaked, but media interest in the case had not. Schuessler presented the case for the first time at the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) conference in September. In his lecture he summarized the case, describing the events to date, offering many new details, including a fresh physical description of the mysterious object. Schuessler stated it as a “...large glowing UFO... The unusual aspect of the thing was its diamond shape. Small blue lights ringed the center and the points of the diamond seemed to be cut off. The light from the object was intense and lit the whole area.” 
(Mimi Hynek, ed. The Spectrum of UFO Research. Chicago: J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, 1988.)

When the case was featured in the November 1981 MUFON UFO Journal, it was accompanied by an illustration by Kathy Schuessler. The picture showed a clearly defined, glowing diamond-shaped UFO with a ring of lights around its center. The Schuessler description and picture served as the UFO equivalent of a police sketch, or “wanted poster,” and effectively became the face of the case.

The post-hypnosis illustration by Kathy Schuessler with the ring of blue lights.
The Schuessler illustration appeared next in the presentation and booklet for the 1982 MUFON Symposium in July and again later for the cover of the September 1983 MUFON Journal. The “lighted diamond” concept was repeated throughout UFO literature, and other artists’ versions of the UFO with a ring of lights began appearing. John Schuessler later started using a second painting by his wife that featured a more oval version of the UFO. This painting was used by Schuessler in his many slideshows and lectures on the case, and later as the cover illustration of his book, The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident. When the prime time television program Unsolved Mysteries featured the case, it based its depiction of the UFO on Schuessler’s report, introducing it to millions of viewers. The image of the otherworldly diamond played a defining role in the case.

Another byproduct of the media coverage was the investigation Department of the Army's Inspector General as to whether U.S. Army helicopters were involved in the incident. In the spring of 1982 Lt. Col. George C. Sarran spent several months checking the possibilities, and also traveled to Texas. There, he met with Schuessler, examined the cold leads and interviewed the available witnesses. Sarran considered the witnesses credible, but found no evidence to suggest any Army involvement.

The damage claim forms obtained at Bergstrom Air Force base finally came into play in late 1982 when Peter Gersten, the flamboyant “UFO Lawyer,” filed them on behalf of the witnesses. When the claims were denied, they then attempted to file a civil suit against the United States government, a contentious process that went on for the next several years. This proved to be another false hope, as there was never enough evidence gathered to satisfy a court. The witnesses were deeply disappointed when in August 1986 the case was dismissed without ever going to trial. Media coverage of the case faded away.

While the lawsuit developments were making headlines, UFO investigator and artist Chris Lambright tried to reach the witnesses for testimony of another sort. Lambright sought to paint technically accurate illustrations of the most credible UFO encounters. His first painting was of the classic 1964 Socorro, New Mexico sighting by police officer Lonnie Zamora. There Lambright used measurements from the official reports with the direct cooperation, testimony and feedback from the eyewitness. He wanted to apply the same methods to depict the Cash-Landrum sighting. 

Christian Lambright's array of diamond UFO shapes.
After studying the case literature, Lambright’s first step was to draw a series of different diamond UFO shapes, which he sent to the primary case investigator, John Schuessler, asking him to indicate which was the closest match. Schuessler instead drew his own diamond shape and included a note about the midline ring labeling it as “small blue ports or lights.” With this drawing and the published descriptions as reference, Lambright sketched out a scene of the encounter, then sought out the eyewitnesses for further details.

On July 10, 1985, Chris Lambright and fellow researcher Tommy Blann paid a visit to Vickie Landrum at her home in Dayton, Texas for an interview, which they recorded for reference. Lambright opened the MUFON Journal to Schuessler’s article and asked, “Do you see this illustration? This was done by John’s wife and it looks like the whole thing is glowing and it’s got a series of lights or dots or holes or something around it.” 

“I didn’t see any dots…nothing.” Vickie shook her head and explained that Schuessler must have taken the blue lights from Colby’s “Lite-Brite” picture of the object.

The Hasbro toy Lite-Brite has a screen with a grid of holes lit by a tiny light bulb, allowing simple pictures to be formed using colored translucent pegs. Betty Cash later described how Colby was preoccupied with drawing the UFO for weeks after the event: “Vickie went and bought him that Lite-Brite, to try to help him… she could not afford the notebook paper that that child was going through.”

Lambright moved on to other details of the craft’s flight and physical characteristics. Vickie described how they originally saw just a light at a distance through the trees. When it came down to hover over the road, they saw flames spewing downward, apparently in some kind of mechanical distress. The object would rise above the trees on a jet of fire, and when the flames diminished, it would lower.

Lambright sought clarification, “When the thing went out (flames decreased), I think most people think the thing was still glowing like a light bulb.” 

“No, no, no! It was hanging there,” Vickie explained.

Shortly afterwards Lambright interviewed Betty Cash by phone. He asked Betty similar questions about the UFO and how it had been depicted.
“... they showed several small blue…it looked like portholes or lights around the middle of the object...but you don’t recall seeing anything like that on the object itself?” 

“No sir!” Betty had either not seen or noticed the illustration. “I can’t imagine what picture it was that John put in the blue lights.” She went on to explain that the early case drawing she had seen was an accurate depiction. 
Lambright asked, “In other words, it was a dark object with fire coming out of the bottom?” 

“Right,” Betty answered.

The witnesses were not technically sophisticated, and they had difficulty describing just what they’d seen during their terrifying ordeal. The fiery light coming from the bottom of the object was blinding, and the witnesses had some trouble expressing the difference between the light and the object producing it. Vickie said, “Colby swore it looked like a big diamond. I couldn’t tell for I was so scared about him... It lifted and I knew it was at least half a mile or more across the main part of the light. It was bigger than a water tower.” (Schuessler, John F. The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident. La Porte: Geo Graphics, 1998, pp.42-43.) It seems that the original investigators were confused by this and reported the UFO itself as gigantic and glowing.

How and why the “ring of blue lights” became accepted is a bit more puzzling. Vickie had explained that Schuessler photographed Colby’s Lite-Brite picture, and it seems he interpreted the colored pegs illustrating the UFO’s center as a ring of lights. There was yet another ingredient for the blue lights that Vickie didn’t seem to remember; something revealed when she had been put under hypnosis.

On July 11, 1981 Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle put Vickie Landrum under regressive hypnosis for the coverage by National Enquirer magazine (and again later for the ABC network television program That’s Incredible!). The purpose of the hypnosis was to attempt the recovery of additional details about the sighting. During the session, two new details were produced: the scent of lighter fluid and the first mention of blue lights. Vickie is reported to have said, “It had some blue on it... Looked like little lights.” (Schuessler, 1998, p.134)

John Schuessler accepted the hypnosis material as genuine evidence, incorporating it into the case as additional witness testimony. He interpreted the lighter fluid smell to be the odor of helicopter fuel and the blue lights as a ring around the fuselage of the UFO. The hypnosis story was combined with the Lite-Brite picture and the mistaken glow to form a composite image. A new picture of the UFO was born - not of what the witnesses saw or described, but of a colorful, gigantic gleaming Unidentified Space Vehicle similar to those in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

There were no public statements from the original witnesses of a glowing UFO with blue lights, either before or after the hypnosis. It is worth reviewing the earliest testimony to examine what they were able to describe.

Betty Cash, early February 1981: “We could not get up close enough to detect what the figure was. Or I couldn’t at least, the lights were too bright in my eyesight.” She later added, “...this bright object that made the sky just split up and it looked like the world was coming to an end. It was a very bright red... (Vickie) looked out the glass but she said the light was to bright for her to see very much of the figure...”, (Schuessler, 1998, pp. 39, 253).

Vickie Landrum : (Vickie told the reporter) Colby insisted that it was “diamond-shaped,” and that “The light from it was just like someone was up in your eye shining a flashlight at 'em. Maybe he could see better from in the car or something, but we couldn't tell no shape to it. The light from it was glowing, lighting up the whole road like it would set it on fire.”
Gordon, C. (1981, February 22). “Two women share terror of mysterious encounter,” The Courier, p.1A.)

In the original published reports there was no mention of any specific markings or lights on the UFO. There were, however, a few UFO reports in Texas and other areas both before and after the incident, some of which involved UFOs with lights. VISIT sought comparisons and connections between the Cash-Landrum sighting and some of the other incidents, most notably the separate sightings of Glenda and Jerry McDonald also of Dayton; Frank Chinn of Echols, KY. (Schuessler, 1998, pp. 74, 75, 314, and Brookesmith, Peter, ed. The Age of the UFO. Orbis Publishing, London, 1984, pp. 160-161.)

As they were asked to repeat the story for the public, media and investigators, Betty and Vickie gradually accepted Colby’s “diamond-shaped” description and began using it themselves in talking about what they had encountered.

Witness testimony summarized from the first VISIT report:
“Betty described the object as just an extremely bright light with no distinct shape, Vickie said it was oblong with a rounded top and a point on the bottom, while Colby said it was totally diamond-shaped." (Lorenzen, C. (September 1981) Burns Follow UFO Incident. The APRO Bulletin Vol. 29, No. 8, p. 2.) 

Vickie Landrum: “It was diamond-shaped and as tall as a water tower. It was a dull metallic color, and it just floated there.” (Horswell, C. (1981, September 25) State, private agencies probing claims of UFO encounter. The Houston Chronicle, p.1A.) 

Colby made many pictures of the UFO, and one he drew with Vickie from March 1981 was reproduced in Schuessler’s book (page 237). It shows a featureless diamond-shaped object spewing flames downward. Betty Cash also drew the UFO during the interview at Bergstrom Air Force Base. It also depicts a featureless diamond-shaped object spewing flames downward. Vickie signed the drawing, agreeing that it was accurate.

With the legal case lost, the story of the witnesses was absorbed into the body of UFO lore, becoming little more than a parable about the evils of a cover-up by the U.S. government. Along the way, a crucial question went unasked: How did something as basic as the description of the UFO get so distorted and then become recorded inaccurately in the case history?

As personal computers became more prevalent, the Computer UFO Network developed. Originally conceived as an online bulletin board; Chris Lambright joined them and led the implementation of the CUFON website. The site collected and archived important UFO material, including Cash-Landrum case documents. In 1994 Betty Cash provided them with a tape of the pivotal 1981 Bergstrom AFB interview, which documented lengthy testimony from the witnesses to U.S. military officers. CUFON published a transcription of the interview online, making it public for the first time. 

Also in 1994 Lambright briefly discussed his interviews with Vickie and Betty on a UFO Internet forum. He mentioned the discrepancy of the UFO picture and details as an indication that there might be other problems in the original investigation of the case. In 2003, Rebecca Keith shared Lambright’s message on the forum by UK researcher James Easton, where it could find a wider audience. Ten years later, I came across Lambright’s comments there, and tracked him down to get the details. We’ve continued to correspond on the case, and he recently told me:

“I never did finish the oil painting I originally showed to Vickie Landrum, though I think it's still in storage somewhere... more recently I tried my hand at a rendition using a 3D program...and you get a great idea of how light effects the entire scene. It's still a guess on how bright the flames really were, and how reddish they were, etc. What really becomes obvious is how dark a dark grey object would have been in the sky, and brings home what Vickie said that if it hadn't been for the flames they might not have seen it at all.”

Lambright completed two variations of the scene, showing different degrees of illumination from the flames. This is is a unique effort by Lambright, finally a realistic representation of the scene as described by the witnesses themselves.

Illustrations copyright Christian P. Lambright
Version 1: All illumination comes from the downward flames, shown here almost dormant.

Version 2: The flames become more powerful as the object rises.

Version 3: Another view, depicting the blinding light that lit up the whole woods.
With the documentation that the circulated UFO description was in error, doubts arise about how other data was gathered, evaluated and represented. There was no police or Air Force investigation at the beginning of this case, and the only the documentation was the elusive medical records of Betty Cash. About all we have to work with is the media coverage, and the parts of the VISIT investigation that John Schuessler chose to share. The Cash-Landrum case deserves a fresh look and should be reopened.

The passage of time closes some doors, but others may open. Betty Cash died in 1998, and Vickie in 2007, leaving only Colby Landrum remaining as a primary witness. The helicopter personnel who participated in the operation are nearing retirement age and could now discuss this case without the fear of risk to their military careers. Others who were involved may still be alive, and it is possible that once-secret government documents could now be available. The VISIT case file also needs to be opened for whatever cold leads it may provide. There is yet hope that the curtain of secrecy can be parted to provide what the witnesses have fought so hard to find - answers.

Update: The original VISIT report by John Schuessler has since become available, along with many other documents on the case. See: 

A special thanks to Christian P. Lambright whose input into was invaluable. Chris' interviews with the witnesses, artwork, investigation and insight provided the foundation for this article. Chris has a website, where more information can be found on his book, X Descending.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Breaking the Silence: AATIP's Secret Partner Speaks

"nonsense conspiracy theories"
By Roger Glassel and Curt Collins, © 2020

Conspiracy theory and Conspiracy theorist. Those terms have become tactical labels used to portray opponents as tinfoil hat-wearing crackpots. This is the story of one UFO conspiracy theory, involving the US government and federal funding, that has been proven to be true.

When the AATIP story broke in 2017, it put the neglected UFO topic back on the front pages. Unfortunately, within it, the AATIP story also contained one of ufology’s worst scandals or fiascos in recent history, and it confirmed the rumors of the US government’s involvement in civilian UFO research. Not only was this conspiracy theory real, it involved the US Congress, the Department of Defense, and billionaire Robert Bigelow, a NASA contractor.

There’s a lot to unpack, so the story and information is broken into the following sections:

  1. A Glossary of Abbreviations
  2. Recap of our Previous Article
  3. AAWSAP or AATIP, “Mostly Just One Guy?”
  4. What’s So Bad About Taking a Little Government Money?
  5. Additional Data: MUFON UFO Reports Sent to BAASS
  6. The Devil’s Advocate: Possibly Misunderstood, Not Sinister?
  7. Public Statements by Bigelow, Elizondo, & Harzan on the BAASS-MUFON Era
  8. MUFON’s Response to Questions about the Bigelow Contracts
  9. An Interview with James Carrion
  10. Picking up the Scent: The FAA and the UFO Hotline
  11. The Legacy of Elaine Douglass
  12. On The UFO Trail of Robert Bigelow
  13. Dissident UFO Buffs
  14. Sources, Resources, and Further Details on BAASS and MUFON’s SIP (Revised)

In our previous article, The Pentagon UFO Program’s Secret Partner, we revealed a previously hidden chapter of the AATIP story. For those who need a glossary for the alphabet soup involved:

  • AATIP: Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program 
  • AAWSAP: Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program
  • BAASS: Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (owned by Robert Bigelow)
  • CMS: MUFON’s web-based Case Management System, a UFO report database.
  • DIA: United States Defense Intelligence Agency
  • DoD: United States Department of Defense
  • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
  • MATE: MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment
  • MUFON: Mutual UFO Network (largest civilian UFO group in the USA)
  • NIDS: National Institute for Discovery Science (owned by Robert Bigelow)
  • SIP: STAR Team Impact Project (MUFON’s field investigations)

To Recap our Previous Article:

Newly surfaced documents show how in 2008, billionaire Robert Bigelow was contracted by the US Government’s Defense Intelligence Agency, and in turn his Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) subcontracted a civilian group, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) to write scientific papers and to conduct field investigations of UFO sightings. However, MUFON was duped; Bigelow did not reveal that their funding came from the Pentagon. Another strange angle is that the language used in the contract and the studies ordered avoided UFO terminology, and it appears to have been a deception to conceal what the government was funding. 

Under the BAASS contract, UFO data was to be obtained in three ways. First, the “MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment” (MATE) prepared five scientific papers on advanced aerospace performance, for which they were paid $10,000. Second, they wanted MUFON’s files, and third, to pay them $56,000 a month for on-the-spot investigations of new UFO sightings. 

It all went sour over the money, and the two parties had an ugly break-up in early 2010. Here’s a sanitized official view of the BAASS arrangement from the man who helped create it, John Schuessler, in “A Brief History of MUFON,” from 2012:

“In 2008, [director] James Carrion, Jan Harzan, Chuck Modlin and John Schuessler met with Robert Bigelow and his team... Later, Carrion negotiated a contract with Bigelow Aerospace that allowed MUFON to organize a funded rapid-response effort that could put investigators in the field on high value UFO cases within 24-hours. It also gave Bigelow Aerospace access to the MUFON Case Management System. Unfortunately, dissident UFO buffs quickly came up with nonsense conspiracy theories about the cooperative agreement and spread malcontent and disinformation about it across the Internet.”

The Bigelow-MUFON saga was discussed in Sarah Scoles book, They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers:

“Carrion resigned in 2010, putting out a public statement... In it, he revealed his qualms about the Bigelow deal and hinted that the government was involved. Who was the true sponsor of the STAR team? ‘It is time for MUFON to sweep its own house clean,’ the letter concluded. The cobwebs wouldn’t get clear for years—not even when Robert Bigelow landed on the front page of the New York Times.” 

That Dec. 16, 2017, New York Times article revealed that Bigelow’s company “hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.” It confirmed what had been suspected by a few ufologists, that Bigelow was working for the Pentagon, and that his work with MUFON had been part of it. 

That disclosure went largely unnoticed at the time, with the focus put on the Navy UFO videos released in connection with the story. What changed things was Tim McMillan’s Feb. 14, 2020, article, Inside the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program, which stated:

“The first pages list the names of every contractor working for BAASS with appropriate security clearances... some of those listed are very familiar to the UFO community, including (Hal) Puthoff, (Eric) Davis, Jacques Vallee, and Colm Kelleher.” It was “full of strategic plans, project summaries, data tables, charts, descriptions of biological field effects, physical characteristics, methods of detection, theoretical capabilities, witness interviews, photographs, and case synopses,” including, “A possible UAP landing reported to BAASS by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and its STAR Team.” 

In an interview on Inside the Black Vault with John Greenewald, McMillan mentioned another
name in connection with the security clearances:

“...that 10 Month report lists every BAASS contractor who had the clearance to be approved in the program. ...Jacques Vallee, John Schuessler…” 

(Jacques Vallee's involvement in BAASS was kept quiet at the time, and ever since. His website bio however, listed him since 2002 as serving on the scientific advisory board of Bigelow Aerospace, and so it remained until 2019. The last name McMillan mentioned seemed way out of place, since John Schuessler was on the Board of Directors of MUFON, and its previous International Director.)

But it was that STAR Team case, the “possible UAP landing” case that MUFON had sent to BAASS that fascinated us, because if specific data could be traced from MUFON to this report, it would conclusively prove the flow of information from a civilian organization into the hands of the Pentagon. That set Roger Glassel in motion, and what we found caused us to reexamine AATIP history with a new set of eyes.

AAWSAP or AATIP, “Mostly Just One Guy?”

In the eyes of Congress, the DIA, and Pentagon spokespersons, AATIP and AAWSAP were the same project, and Dr. Hal Puthoff has stated that AATIP was just a nickname for AAWSAP. However, Luis Elizondo differentiates the two as distinctly separate. Throughout our articles, we have used AAWSAP to refer to the original program, and mostly used AATIP to refer to how the project was discussed after it was publicly revealed. Some readers objected to our previous article’s literary device to illustrate that the size and scope of AATIP had been overinflated in its press debut. We said, that the hype:

“… led us to believe this project was an elite squad operating out of the Pentagon doing hands-on UFO investigations, but it’s slowly come out that at their end, it was a ‘portfolio,’ mainly a part-time job for one guy to collect the material packaged and delivered by Bigelow’s company.”

We don’t have all the puzzle pieces, but if that’s an exaggeration, perhaps not by much. The DIA AAWSAP project was managed by Dr. James T. Lacatski, but essentially all operations were outsourced to BAASS in Las Vegas. About the time Lacatski left, and Luis Elizondo took over, the work from BAASS was gone, or going away. Whatever was left became known as AATIP, basically an internal network with a near-zero budget. Elizondo apparently worked on the project in addition to his other assignments (aka a part-time basis), and while others may have been involved, AATIP was “mostly” Elizondo and his efforts to gather material from the Navy and other branches of military service.

What’s So Bad About Taking a Little Government Money?

Ufology, rightly or not, has cast the US government as the bad guy, the keeper of UFO secrets, so it’s very odd indeed that MUFON would sell out, even unknowingly, to start working for “The Man” in order to facilitate the use of UFO-type technology for commercial or military use. The Bigelow contracts seem to have compromised the organization’s goals and ethics in a number of ways, including:

Privacy intrusion - from BAASS 3rd party access to witness data
Background checks - with nosy questions required answered by STAR Team members
Mandatory Secrecy - NDAs required by BAASS
Nonprofit status - did MUFON's sale of products to BAASS betray that? 

MUFON was hired to facilitate UFO propulsion to Bigelow, part of the “military industrial complex." Unless that was to used to defend the planet, how did they square that with their mission of working for "The Scientific Study of UFOs for the Benefit of Humanity?”

Additional Data: MUFON UFO Reports Sent to BAASS

We’ll begin by presenting data shared by Keith Basterfield. His Excel spreadsheet of UFO case investigations by the STAR Impact Program was compiled from the MUFON Journal, and the data shows the number and type of SIP cases that went to Bigelow’s company during the AAWSAP contract. It includes case numbers, which can be used to retrieve more information on each from at the MUFON Case Management System site.

Also, we’ve uploaded a new file with three case files as sample of the SIP field investigations that MUFON sent to Bigelow’s company:

The Devil’s Advocate: Possibly Misunderstood, Not Sinister?

The mysterious aerospace billionaire Robert Bigelow would make the excellent basis for a James Bond super-villain, but the real man is more complex. Maybe he has good reasons and a benign motive for his Machiavellian machinations. Bigelow appears to have a sincere and enduring interest in UFO, extraterrestrial and paranormal matters, and while he’s not alone in that, most buffs are not ruthless businessmen with secret government contracts.

Bigelow’s NIDS organization was relatively transparent, with their goals, personnel and research presented openly on their site. Something changed. First NIDS was shut down in 2004 for a flimsy-sounding reason, then the site was scrubbed of data after the AAWSAP contract was awarded. 

Rob Swiatek is still on MUFON’s Board of Directors. In April 2009 he wrote a candid letter on the BAASS-MUFON project to veteran UFO researcher James W. Moseley, publisher of the newsletter Saucer Smear. It’s reproduced below, and it almost reads like a postcard from an excited passenger about to board the Titanic:
“...the fortunes of MUFON have catapulted recently, although not from the sinister hand of government. ...Robert Bigelow, and his Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies came to a consensus that, yes, they need data on ...close encounter type cases … Bigelow has agreed to pay for MUFON field investigations… But the initiative is generating its own stress, and MUFON is about to discover what happens when substantial amounts of money are injected into an arena that previously had none…”
Letter from Rob Swiatek of MUFON to Jim Moseley in Saucer Smear, May 1, 2009

Robert Bigelow’s contact with MUFON was someone that had worked with him in the National Institute for Discovery Science project, John F. Schuessler. It was Schuessler who took his offer to MUFON, and helped set everything up - apparently on both ends.

Unidentified Space Vehicles - that was John Schuessler’s unambiguous designation for UFOs, though his public comments were more moderate. Schuessler retired from Boeing aerospace company at Houston, Texas in 1998. In the 1980’s he preferred his job to be described as “a mechanical engineer employed as McDonnell Douglas project manager for space flight operations” at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. To decode, he was emphasizing that he did not work for the US government and NASA, but actually for McDonnell Douglas, a company doing contract work for NASA. The math is simple, though, no NASA, no job. The AAWSAP and BAASS relationship was much the same.

This also shows that Schuessler had a background in working with government projects, and probably a certain level of familiarity and comfort 
with it. His letter to Popular Science magazine in December 1967 showed his support of government involvement in ufology, but that particular project didn’t end so well:

"Dr. Condon's highly capable group at the University of Colorado has given the investigation of UFO... an air of scientific respectability... a baseline for future efforts."

John F. Schuessler, letter to Popular Science, Dec 1967
We’ve not solved the puzzle, just found more of the pieces. Switching analogies, on the UFO chessboard, we don’t even know which pieces Robert Bigelow or John Schuessler are or were. Royalty, or bishops? Surely not pawns.

Public Statements by Bigelow, Elizondo, and Harzan on the BAASS-MUFON Era

Before we hear the new comments from MUFON players with their side of the story, we’ll take a look at what Robert Bigelow and Luis Elizondo may have recently said about the BAASS-MUFON days. Mr. Bigelow, to the best of our knowledge, has made only one public comment on his involvement since the NYT article in Dec. 2017. In an interview recorded Aug. 28, 2019, with George Knapp, Bigelow almost talked about AATIP matters:

Knapp: “You haven’t spoken about it really since all the news broke, but I mean your fingerprints are all over that stuff. You helped make all that happen.”
Bigelow: “Well, I don’t know about that. I think that the future here is what’s potentially interesting. If these exposures and these exhibitions that are currently ongoing… if they continue, and they provide the opportunity for investigation and to create the awareness… that this phenomena is real.”
The only known photo of AATIP players Bigelow and Elizondo together.
AATIP’s Luis Elizondo has only touched on the BAASS-MUFON relationship indirectly, but dropped a big clue about why the Pentagon contact with Bigelow was terminated. In late 2008, (when Bigelow was nervous about maintaining his Government funding) Elizondo quietly entered the picture. In a 2018 interview with George Knapp, Elizondo stated that he joined AAWSAP, admitted that he had coordinated with BAASS, and said:

 “... the decision was made to refine and refocus the effort only on... the UAP phenomena, on what it is, and how it works, and and frankly, with a hell of a lot of help from the great folks over at Bigelow Aerospace, the scientists and the researchers over there, we were able to successfully do that. AAWSAP was a slightly larger-focused program, and we really quickly realized it was basically taking a shotgun approach to the problem, and what we needed was a sniper rifle. So basically, what we decided to do was focus the aperture on what it is we were trying to achieve...”

MUFON’s current Executive Director Jan Harzan spoke about AATIP on the MUFON Podcast Episode I, June 6, 2019, and he praised (former BAASS contractor) Hal Puthoff’s connections, so maybe he honestly doesn’t see working with the government as a problem:

“We’ve had some major things happen here in the last 18 months... TTSA... major news coverage by the New York Times, and breaking this front page cover story that the Pentagon had a secret UFO program, and then of course, Lue Elizondo stepping out of the shadows... I just had an opportunity to to know Lue since that all happened, and Tom DeLonge, and Stephen Justice, and Chris Mellon, and of course Hal Puthoff, who’s been a long, long, long time MUFON member, and I couldn't think of a finer group of men of government service to come out and share this.”

MUFON’s Response to Questions about the Bigelow Contracts

Seeking comments about what MUFON research may have been used by BAASS in their work with the Pentagon, we reached out to those involved in the 2008 - 2009 BAASS contracts. We began by asking each of them if they had seen the Feb. 14, 2020, Popular Mechanics article, “Inside the Pentagon’s Secret UFO Program” by Tim McMillan, which stated:
"Some of the notable content of the 2009 BAASS Ten Month Report includes:
A possible UAP landing reported to BAASS by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and its STAR Team (rapid response field investigators funded by BAASS in March 2009).
We asked if that was accurate, and whether MUFON had received a copy of that BAASS 10 Month Report. From MUFON’s Executive Director, Jan Harzan, ex-Director John Schuessler, BAASS contractor Hal Puthoff, Luis Elizondo, and an executive assistant for Robert Bigelow, there was nothing. 

MUFON Board of Directors at the 2009 Symposium: Tom Deuley, Jan Harzan, Dr. Bob Wood, Cliff Clift, John F. Schuessler, and Rob Swiatek, Not pictured: Chuck Reever. (From MUFON UFO Journal, Aug. 2009.)

Tom Deuley, formerly of the MUFON Board of Directors courteously replied, but said that he was no longer active in the organization, and did not wish to make a statement. However, three others did respond with comments.

Robert Powell (now with the SCU), former MUFON national research director replied:
“I was not privy to the information that MUFON shared with BAASS.” In a follow-up, we asked specifically about his work in the MATE project, and he said, ”I'm sorry but I can't help you as all work that I ever did for BAASS was confidential and under a NDA.” He subsequently was able to confirm the project, saying, “Yes, MUFON did have a MATE team and I was part of that team.”

Rob Swiatek, from the MUFON Board of Directors replied:
“I seem to recall there was a landing or a CEII case the Bigelow investigators looked in to. MUFON did not receive a copy of the BAASS 10-month report. I was on the board at the time (still am) and never heard a whisper of such a report at the time.”
He later kindly added, “I’ve gone back and reviewed some documents to refresh my memory on how matters stood in 2009 re. MUFON and BAASS. ...MUFON’s STAR Impact Project (the ‘rapid response field investigators’) didn’t begin operations until April 2009. (To best of my knowledge, this was also the date on which MUFON began supplying case information to Bigelow.) ...In all—from April to October 2009—STAR teams were deployed about 45 times across the U.S. MUFON’s contract with BAASS ended in October 2009, and the flow of case information would have ceased sometime around then as well.”

James Carrion, former MUFON International Director (2006 - 2009) replied:
“Unfortunately I did not [see the BAASS document] as I would love to compare the report to the stream of SIP data that MUFON fed BAASS and ascertain whether it was a good portion of this report. By June 2009, Bigelow complained MUFON wasn't giving him his money's worth, but if the report shows that MUFON contributed the bulk ...well you can do the math on that one as to Bigelow's character.” 

Carrion was involved in virtually all aspects of the BAASS-MUFON story up until the time of his resignation. While researching this story, we asked science journalist Sarah Scoles if she’d talked to him while writing her book, They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers. She said, “... I did talk to James Carrion. We met once in person when he was in Colorado, and... [had an] interview over the phone. seemed like the book would be incomplete without an account of his time at MUFON during the AATIP years (although I didn't succeed in tying MUFON and AATIP together by more than inference).”
Hearing about the MUFON data used in the BAASS 10 Month Report seemed to change Carrion’s willingness to protect the secrets of the relationship. We contacted him for a series of questions about the events and people involved, and he gradually opened up with some valuable information on a key aspect of the AATIP story. 

An Interview with James Carrion

Q: James, I found your 2011 blog article “Strange Bedfellows” (which discusses his resignation from MUFON), and would like to hear if you now think that the undisclosed backer for the MUFON/BAASS contract STAR Team Impact Project (SIP) was the DIA/OSD with the AATIP/AAWSA program? Reading old MUFON Journals, the story seems to fit, with BAASS hiring fifty scientists to help with the SIP, and some of the areas of interest were the same as that of AAWSAP.

Carrion: I would have to say yes… given the timing of Bigelow's startup activity and engagement with MUFON. Bigelow disclosed the sponsor to Schuessler but not the rest of the MUFON Board. You could ask [John] Schuessler straight up if Bigelow told him it was the DIA.

Q: (Referring to details shared in our first article) Why did BAASS not ask for more of the technical papers by the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment team - the 12 areas of interest?

Carrion: Perhaps the MATE reports were the carrot for MUFON's initial involvement... Is there any proof that the MATE reports went anywhere past Bigelow's desk? After the MATE papers delivery that was the end of any conversation regarding MATE. The focus then shifted 100% to BAASS contracting MUFON.

Contract negotiations: Las Vegas, NV, Jan. 2009

BAASS: Hal Puthoff and Jacques Vallee, MUFON: John Schuessler

Q: At the January 2009 Las Vegas meeting (to set up the SIP field investigations contract) with Robert Bigelow and his BAASS team, I believe you'd already interacted with Colm Kelleher, but when did you first know that Hal Puthoff and Jacques Vallee were involved? 

Carrion: The first I knew of Puthoff and VallĂ©e’s involvements was when they showed up at the January meeting. 

Q: What were their roles in this meeting, and what did they say about their work for Bigelow?

Carrion: I was never told exactly what their roles were. Neither Puthoff nor Vallee volunteered any information to me about what exactly they were doing on the project.

Q: What interaction did you have (before during or after the Las Vegas meeting) with Douglas Kurth? (Kurth was the BAASS Program Manager, a retired Marine Corps Commander and USS Nimitz UFO witness.)

Carrion: I had no interactions with Kurth at all.

Q: Can you tell me anything memorable about what Robert Bigelow said or did during this January 2009 meeting?

Carrion: Nothing memorable that Bigelow himself said but I found it highly unusual that he proposed increasing the amount of money to spend on SIP staff incentives after the meeting. As much of a penny pincher he is and as much they dug into every detail of how the money was being spent, in hindsight this appears odd.

Q: What did Robert Bigelow tell you about how they were using the material MUFON provided? 

Carrion: SIP - to achieve breakthroughs in aerospace technology by learning from UFOs - either through observation or gathering of physical material. 

Q: What were you told about BAASS’s own UFO research?

Carrion: Nothing was communicated about individual projects.

Q: We know now that the BAASS-MUFON relationship was doomed no matter what, because Bigelow lost his AAWSAP funding the next year. Briefly, had it not soured, what do you think might have happened with MUFON in another year of operation?

Carrion: Just more of the same. "Not managing" but still managing MUFON through the gullible Board of Directors and squeezing everything he could out of the organization for the least dollars possible.

Q: Did you suspect that “the sponsor” who provided Bigelow's funding was a government entity?

Carrion: No, because of the assurances given by John Schuessler at the time. 

To document this, Carrion provided an exchange of emails that took place shortly after the BAASS Las vegas meeting. On Feb. 11, 2009, Chuck Reever cautioned that “... if funding depends on Government sources this could be a problem if that information ever leaked.” Carrion replied, “The funding is coming from BAASS ‘sponsors’ which John Schuessler knows and feels comfortable with but that we are not privy to. I asked if there was any government ties at the meeting with Bigelow and he stated no.” 

Reever-Carrion emails from Feb. 11, 2009.
Two years later, James Carrion was interviewed on The Paracast radio show with Gene Steinberg and co-host Chris O'Brien, Feb, 20, 2011. At 41:15 minutes into the show, Carrion told the same story about the Bigelow meeting in slightly different words:
“I point-blank asked him, ‘Is this government money?’ and Mr. Bigelow said, no.

Picking up the Scent: The FAA and the UFO Hotline

There were some early hints that Robert Bigelow’s contract with MUFON was part of his relationship with the US government, and one of the first to gather evidence was their state director for Utah, Elaine Douglass. She sent emails to MUFON leaders in December 2010, with privacy concerns over material inserted into the UFO reporting during the BAASS contract. It asked for: “consent to the release of your contact information to 3rd parties not connected to or affiliated with MUFON.” Douglass received no reply, but when another MUFON member asked, director Clifford Clift responded, saying it was to employ outside labs and consultants in investigations, and that, ”There are no conspiracies and no intent by MUFON to hide things from members. Trust MUFON.” Be that as it may, many witnesses would not have been comfortable knowing “3rd party” BAASS might have put their personal information and report into government hands. 

Discussing possible government involvement, Douglass wrote, “since an intelligence agency wouldn’t want to reveal it was operating within MUFON, it might send in a front company such as Bigelow Aerospace with a cover story such as that Robert Bigelow hoped to learn the principles of alien technology so he could commercialize space vehicles.”
FAA manual entry on BAASS
In 2001, Robert Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science proudly announced on their site: “NIDS Becomes Only Official Organization to Receive UFO Reports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) June 22, 2001.” 

And so it remained until after BAASS was launched, then listing was changed. An FAA memo effective July 29, 2010 stated:
“One of the organizations (National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS) that would receive and investigate UFO/unexplained phenomena activity has morphed into a new larger organization called Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS). ... air traffic control reporting of UFOs in the United States should now go to BAASS...”

A logo was all that remained on the NIDS site.
NIDS shut down in 2004, but their website remained with their many UFO articles. That is until around the time of the AAWSAP contract, when most of the content was removed. By the time of the FAA listing for BAASS, Bigelow’s NIDS site was defunct altogether.

Alfred Lambremont Webre looked into the BAASS-FAA connection in the, April 7, 2010, article, “Robert Bigelow's and MUFON's hybrid UFO investigation venture 'under review' in 2010.” Webre called Dr. Colm A. Kelleher, BAASS Deputy Administrator, about the UFO hotline. Kelleher confirmed that BAASS had an office to receive UFO reports, but minimized it, and Webre reported, “He stated that the monthly volume of UFO reports received by BAASS is ‘infrequent.’ Dr. Kelleher stated that BAASS received no FAA funds for receiving UFO reports. This reporter verified that BAASS UFO hotline staff was on duty to receive UFO reports.”

True, the company received no FAA money, but Kelleher was not asked, nor was he inclined to volunteer, anything about the DIA funding for BAASS. Webre also discussed confidential documents that were anonymously leaked, but Dr. Kelleher did not wish “to comment on the leaked BAASS-MUFON documents.” 

Elaine Douglass received a copy of the leaked BAASS-MUFON contract, then shared it among the UFO community on Jan. 15, 2011. Later, Douglass gave Robert Bigelow some unwanted exposure the next year, on Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura: Skinwalker, Season 3: Episode 5, Dec. 3, 2012. Ventura’s investigation-style reality show was intentionally far-out, and it often included Alex Jones, and while the show itself was looney, this episode did capture a few interesting bits, and it documented Bigelow discussing UFOs around the end of his AATIP relationship. 

Ventura interviewed Elaine Douglass about BAASS having “unseen backers,” and she told how Bigelow insisted upon control and secrecy in his contract with MUFON. There were two brief “ambush interviews'' of Bigelow. In the first, Ventura asked him about how BAASS was listed as the place to report UFO sightings in the FAA manual, but Bigelow seemed to duck the question. 

Elaine Douglass, Jesse Ventura, Robert Bigelow, and Col. John B. Alexander, ret.
Later in the episode, Ventura spoke to retired Col. John B. Alexander, who took credit for arranging the FAA listing - but did not explain that it’d originated years before, with NIDS. In Alexander’s 2011 book, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities, he described how he had arranged a meeting in Washington, D.C., that included himself, Bigelow, Colm Kelleher and FAA officials where they volunteered NIDS:

 ”to be their 911, and that they would not assume any risk or cost, they agreed... and did post the information in their operations manual. After NIDS was closed, Bigelow established a follow-on organization called Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) to pick up the mission.” 

Bigelow’s involvement with the FAA extends into his AAWSAP contract days, and can by extension, be rightfully considered part of the AATIP story. In the episode's second mini-interview with Bigelow, Sean Stone got in a few quick UFO questions, including one about sharing his research. He asked, “Would you ever consider putting together some kind of dossier or document based on all the investigation that you have done over the years?”
Robert Bigelow replied, “I try to stay away from words like ever or never. ...I think now is not the time for that, and I don’t see that on the horizon…”

The Legacy of Elaine Douglass

Elaine Douglass worked for the Department of Defense, and after retiring became a full time UFO investigator from the mid-1980s, and a founding editor of JAR magazine. She was MUFON State Director for Utah, but was fired in 2010, and formed the Committee to Reform MUFON (CRM). One of Elaine’s big concerns was the involvement of Robert Bigelow in MUFON, and the secrecy regarding it. Those issues were never resolved, and Elaine lost her battle with cancer and passed away in 2014.
Elaine Douglass from the first issue of JAR magazine.
Marilyn Carlson of CRM created The Elaine Douglass Files to preserve Marilyn’s research documents. and correspondence. Unfortunately, the site is now defunct, and in what seems to be a cruel twist of fate, MUFON now houses the physical collection of Elaine Douglass’ files. Fortunately, it was not all lost. Marilyn gave permission for UFO archivist Issac Koi to collect Elaine’s files as a PDF, which is now permanently hosted at the Archives for the Unexplained (AFU) website as the Elaine Douglass Files.

On The UFO Trail of Robert Bigelow

Jack Brewer has been following the involvement of Robert Bigelow in ufology for many years at The UFO Trail. We reached out to him for comment on the exposure of government funding in the BAASS-MUFON relationship.

“The actions of Mr. Bigelow do not necessarily reflect those of someone with objectives of facilitating quality research or disseminating accurate information. For decades, however, organizations and people within the UFO genre framed him as a benevolent philanthropist and reliable source. Such a portrayal has not been entirely established and there is much evidence to refute it. A lack of transparency was long at issue, translating into questions of methodologies, objectives, ethics, and even competence. Now that Mr. Bigelow’s involvement with the DIA was established, it would seem questions will justifiably persist.” 

Brewer also pointed out two other earlier unsettling episodes of MUFON’s files being purchased by Bigelow or a “sponsor.”

The Carpenter Affair - Circa 1995: Bigelow’s purchase of MUFON’s Alien Abduction Records, which included sensitive witness information.

MUFON’s Ambient Monitoring Project - Circa 2008 Originally “the Abduction Monitoring Project” Which he says it “was a rather odd initiative with an unnamed financial sponsor...”Reportedly completed, the data/results seemed to vanish.

Brewer also obtained documents pertaining to the 2008 BAASS-AAWSAP contract, and it shows the DIA’s refusal to reveal the identity of parties involved to a FOIA requester in 2011:

Documents released responding to Brewer’s 2019 FOIA: 

Dissident UFO Buffs

We now know that back in 2008, Robert Bigelow turned to MUFON for aid, and they provided guidance that shaped not only the creation of BAASS, the entire scope of the UFO project, and also key material produced for AAWSAP. It appears that a significant portion of the BAASS Ten Month Report may have been derived from MUFON SIP casework, from the CMS database, and from the guidance of their MATE papers. Then, the whole thing vanished, despite MUFON’s mandate, which reflects the N in their name, Network, for their “dedication to sharing UFO information and research data…” Somehow it got all twisted around by the secrecy agendas of a billionaire and a US intelligence program.

As mere mortals, maybe we shouldn’t question the wisdom of the Gods of Olympus, the Pentagon or even the man behind the curtain in the land of Oz. MUFON portrayed the critics of the Bigelow deal as complainers, crackpots and conspiracy theorists. To them, James Carrion was only a disgruntled ex-Director, Elaine Douglass was only a fired Utah State Director and nutty old gal, Jack Brewer was only a nobody blogger and keyboard warrior. However, these three were no over-imaginative Chicken Littles. All these “dissident UFO buffs” had been saying the emperor had no clothes, and in time, they were proven right. 

In our closing exchange with James Carrion, he expressed the opinion that since the cat is out of the bag about BAASS and MUFON, maybe those involved will no longer be bound by their NDAs. If nothing else, we now have more pieces of the puzzle, and it’s a foundation to build on. We hope it goes much further still; that all parties involved - from the contractors, the technical paper authors, to the US government itself - will open up and end the protracted drama about the secrecy surrounding AATIP. The ultimate goal is to clean away the debris and proceed with clarity. That would be a good first step towards chipping away at some secrets that really matter.

. . .

This and the preceding article was put together drawing from a great many sources. In the link below, we’ve gathered the primary documentation into a PDF, which includes the two BAASS-MUFON contracts, leaked emails, other documents, and four of the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment papers produced for BAASS.

. . .

Dedicated to the memory of the late Elaine Douglass.

Special thanks to Clas Svahn, Isaac Koi, Keith Basterfield, Sarah Scoles, Tim McMillan, Jack Brewer, for research, materials, documents, advice and fact-checking. And to “David Vincent,” and “Claude Lacombe,” without whom none of this would have been possible. 

Sources, Resources, and Further Details on BAASS and MUFON’s SIP (Revised)

Freedom of Information Act Requests have not yet produced any material of substance on AATIP, in part because of the “commercial in confidence” nature of the AAWSAP contract with BAASS. Most of the other sources remain bound by NDAs relating to long-dead projects, but journalists such as George Knapp and Tim McMillan have presented documents from unnamed anonymous sources relating to the Pentagon’s AATIP study. In our report, we’ve depended chiefly on items of demonstrable provenance, but also have referenced a dossier of BAASS-MUFON documents from a confidential, but verified source. Some of the material used in this story references previous leaks of BAASS-MUFON documents.

MUFON’s SIP training materials. Archived page:

Keith Basterfield, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - scientific research, 
an invaluable resource on the AATIP saga: BAASS articles

Jack Brewer, “UFO-Pentagon Story Reflects Fundamental Problems,” Dec. 20, 2017
This article contains a post-AATIP reveal statement by James Carrion.

James Carrion, “Strange Bedfellows,” Jan. 31, 2011
Also, see Carrion’s article, “What is Really Happening at the Skinwalker Ranch?” from Feb. 8, 2011, where he discusses “uncovering disturbing information about the Skinwalker Ranch owned by Robert Bigelow [and] began to have doubts about the real purpose behind the MUFON-BAASS project.”

Curt Collins, “UFOs, the Media, the Military & Dreams of Discovery,” Dec. 27, 2017
Released shortly after the first AATIP story, an examination of Bigelow’s acquisition or hoarding of UFO databases.

Elaine Douglass, “The Gagged-for-life Star Team Confidentiality Agreement”, May 12, 2011
The Elaine Douglass Files includes a dossier on Bigelow and his UFO-related activity. 
The Committee to Reform MUFON (defunct, last archived Jan. 3, 2014)

Richard Lang, “What caused the Failure of the BAASS - MUFON SIP Program?,” March 6, 2011. “During the period from February 2009 until the end of January 2010, I served as the STAR Team Manager and SIP Project Coordinator.”

Chapter 5 on Robert Bigelow, “The Patron Saint, or Something, of Saucers”

Tim McMillan, Popular Mechanics, “Inside the Pentagon’s Secret UFO Program,” Feb. 14, 2020