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

Friday, April 29, 2022

Bill Moore and UFO Disinformation Accusations

The 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO case was plagued with problems, and a significant one came from the  false claims about it promoted by Bill Moore and Richard Doty. Their contamination of the case was briefly discussed in our article, MJ-12, The "Pratt Sensitive" Documents, Cash-Landrum, Doty and Mooreand we'll eventually document their negative influence in greater detail. The following article provides some necessary background, focusing on other maliciousness by Moore.

The Problem was His Program

On July 1, 1989 ufologist William L. Moore delivered a lecture at the MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas that has become legendary. Facing mounting controversies about the origin and authenticity of the MJ-12 UFO documents and his own credibility, Moore struck back. Along the way, he made a shocking confession that he had been recruited by the U.S. government, tasked with spreading falsehoods to Paul Bennewitz and others. 

Bennewitz on the traveling salesman road not taken from The Albuquerque Tribune April 15, 1981

James W. Moseley summarized the 1980s events in "The Paul Bennewitz Case Revisited," an article in Saucer Smear June 15, 2000. A few excerpts:
"It seems that [Paul] Bennewitz somehow got in way over his head in regard to UFO research. He acquired film of mysterious lights in the sky, he heard a strange alien code over his radio, and he saw UFOs in daylight as well as entrances to secret tunnels in the hills near his Albuquerque home [near Kirtland Air Force Base]. 
Sergeant Richard Doty of the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) comes into the picture... It was Doty's job to misdirect Bennewitz into continuing to believe the messages were actually from the aliens!

William Moore... was a friend and co-worker of Sgt. Doty's in that era. ...Moore admitted [they worked together on Bennewitz] in his famous 'mea culpa' lecture at a MUFON convention in Las Vegas, back in 1989. Moore also admitted to other ufological sins, and by doing so he effectively ended his career in ufology.
Eventually Bennewitz spent a short time in a mental hospital...We believe that he is retired, and his son now runs the family business." 

Moore responded to Moseley's article, but first let's look at a few key quotes from his MUFON lecture on two topics, disinformation, then about Paul Bennewitz's alleged means of communicating with aliens.

Moore: 1988 in UFO Cover-Up? Live and 1989 at the MUFON Symposium 

Moore spent a lot of time defending himself, essentially saying the end justifies the means. "I would play the disinformation game, get my hands dirty just often enough [while trying] to learn as much as possible about who was directing it and why." And Moore insisted that there were other ufologists engaged in the same game, spreading bogus concepts that came to be tenets of ufology.

 On the coded alien messages Bennewitz said he was receiving:

"...Paul was intercepting some kind of low frequency electromagnetic emission or signal... convinced that he was receiving alien radio transmissions, and had even gone so far as to develop a home computer program capable of translating them into English. The problem, as I saw it, was that his program... could just as easily have been adapted to assign similar 'alien' translations to the various energy pulses found in ordinary Morse code!"
Later Moore stated: 
"I examined the computer program Paul was using to 'decode' the alleged alien radio transmissions and communications, and I had a lengthy discussion about this matter with the late Dr. Allen Hynek who had also independently examined Paul's program..." 

Accusing Dr. Hynek 

When Bill Moore wrote to comment on Moseley's Bennewitz article, he shifted some of the responsibility in the deception on to other ufologists. From Saucer Smear, Aug. 10, 2000, the relevant portions: 
"Regarding the Bennewitz Affair in general - two things which have never come to light and which might prove most interesting to ufoology are the roles played by doctors J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee... I personally know that Hynek was still under contract as a USAF consultant at the time, and Vallee had very close ties with the CIA and others (although what his obligations to them may have been, I do not know). For those still hoping to uncover some hidden treasure in this whole mess, here is a good place to begin... Hynek's hitherto unknown forte had to do with providing Bennewitz a carefully crafted means of 'decoding' the supposed 'alien' transmissions he was intercepting. As for Vallee, numerous clues pertaining to his particular specialty can be gleaned by a careful rereading of his book Messengers of Deception."
(Satiric illustration)

That was the first I'd head of these accusations, but Moore had said something similar six years earlier.  Bill Moore was interviewed on Don Ecker's radio show, UFOs Tonite! on June 11, 1994. At 14:55 into the show, Bill Moore said:

"There were a lot of other ufologists involved with this and I have never discussed this before… One of those others was J. Allen Hynek, who did covert work, who knew what he was doing. And he was very much involved in one phase of the disinformation operation that was used in Bennewitz affair… Hynek was part of this operation. He was under contract to the Air Force and I have a copy of that contract in case anybody wants to contest this."

A general discussion of the Bennewitz story followed. After a commercial break, Ecker asked him about alluding to other prominent ufologists involved in disinformation in Moore’s 1989 MUFON speech. At 35:00 into the recording Moore said: 

"Yes, there were others, and one of them I just named off-mike and that will come up in Focus. And I'm sure that's going to be very controversial, because that individual has written a number of books. … it's about time some of these other people had to answer for some of the things they were doing."

Seventeen years later, Don Ecker rebroadcast the show. Discussing what Moore told him on and off-mike, Don Ecker wrote in the Paracast forum in 2011:

"I had [Bill Moore] on my radio show... he claimed that J. A. Hynek and Jacques Vallee were government assets. (Much like he said he was.) When I challenged Moore on that he stated on the record that he could bring me proof to another show and I could verify it on the air... I agreed and invited him back... I never had another contact again with Moore." 

Printing the Legend

Bill Moore withdrew from ufology, and had virtually vanished except for his occasional letters published in Saucer Smear. But there was one notable exception, and it involved his accusation about Hynek. In Greg Bishop's 2005 book about the Paul Bennewitz story, Project Beta, Bishop said this about Moore in the acknowledgments: 
"[I] thank him for his support, assistance, and longtime friendship. This book would have been impossible without his generous cooperation and incredible patience..."
Hynek is introduced into the Bennewitz with this allegation:
"After the close of Project Bluebook  in 1969, [J. Allen Hynek] had reportedly continued to receive about $5000 a year... one of thousands of academics the government keeps on the payroll in case they might be needed—sort of like egghead sleeper agents."
Then came the story of Hynek delivering the alien message decoder:
"The sole source for the following information is Bill Moore... Moore claims that he met with Hynek at the 1982 Mutual UFO Network convention. [They took a break at a bar down the street.] As they sat down, Moore brought up the subject of Bennewitz. They had a couple of beers... then Hynek dropped the bomb: Sometime in the midsummer of 1981, he had delivered the computer program (and apparently a whole new computer) to Bennewitz at the request of the Air Force, but did not tell Bennewitz this when he delivered the setup."
Moore also told Bishop about Jacques Vallee being involved (possibly designing the alien decoder computer program). However, out of his veneration of Vallee, Bishop chose to not to publish that accusation. The book contained no mention of Vallee, except for citing Messengers of Deception in the bibliography.

Bill Moore claimed in his 1994 interview with Don Ecker that his infamous MUFON speech was intended to lay the foundation for a greater disclosures and documentation. They never came. A decade later, Moore was a prime opportunity to present his evidence with Project Beta, but we got more talk.

Since then, Bill Moore's unproven claim about Hynek has been repeated and cited in UFO articles and books, including Mirage Men by Mark Pilkington in 2010, and once again by Greg Bishop in the 2016 essay anthology, It Defies Language!

Jacques Vallee cited the Hynek anecdote from Project Beta in footnote in Forbidden Science 4: The Spring Hill Chronicles, but did he not mention anything about Moore's accusations about his own supposed involvement in  Bennewitz-era disinformation.

Forbidden Science 4: The Spring Hill Chronicles, 2019, page 52. 

Moore's accusation about Jacques Vallee never caught hold, but as of this writing, the rumor about Hynek as a disinformation delivery boy still continues to circulate in print. The "evidence" for both is insubstantial  stories from Bill Moore. A quote from Moore's infamous lecture seems an appropriate commentary on the situation:
"One of the problems the UFOlogy movement has with its image is that there is a significant number of people involved with it who support this sort of half-assed journalism."

. . . 

Bill Moore's 1989 MUFON Symposium Lecture

Bill Moore's lecture sounded much like sermon. He played the crowd by lauding the goals of ufology and cursed the devil debunker Phil Klass. Where Moore lost support was when he told the Bennewitz story and said that many of their cherished beliefs are government-crafted falsehoods.
Moore's speech seems to have been itself disinformation, falsehoods with a dash of the truth to help sell the story. As his own career and credibility as a ufologist was tanking, Moore's ploy seems to have been to either rehabilitate his status, or to take down the whole field with him. The lecture promised that  more revelations would follow, but instead Moore left ufology and the show went on without him

The full text of Moore's MUFON Symposium speech was published in the Nov. and Dec. MUFON Journal. On Twitter, bwp shared the link to a PDF that includes text, Moore's epilogue. 
 UFOs and the U.S. Government

The Lecture on Video

There is a rare (but unfortunately low-quality reproduction) video of Bill Moore's infamous speech, recently shared on YouTube by Matthew Riot. It begins at 53 minutes into this rare video, after the segment by Bill English. It runs about 2 hours long from (53:27 to 2:48).

Myths Die Hard

As an epilogue of sorts, in 2007, news surfaced about MJ-12 and how it came to be. MJ-12 was said to be a U.S. government cabal to control the UFO situation. At the MUFON 2007 Symposium, Brad Sparks presented a paper that he co-authored with Barry Greenwood. The researchers provided an interesting look into how Bill Moore and Rick Doty operated, and showed how the two had recruited ufologist Bob Pratt to help disseminate their ideas. 
All the characters and concepts about UFOs and the MJ-12 group were already in play and they planned to use them in a novel. After that plan failed, Moore's partner Jaime Shandera received something in his mailbox too good to be true. It was a roll of the film showing documents confirming UFO crashes and naming the members of MJ-12.  

Jim Moseley said (in our March 27, 2012, phone conversation) that while he considered Bill Moore a friend, he had come to regard Moore as a negative influence on ufology. Jim said Moore had "invented" the Roswell story as we know it, and spread nonsense such as the Philadelphia Experiment and the MJ-12 documents and lore. Instead of genuine UFO issues, Moore caused people to focus on manufactured mysteries.
. . .

For Further Reading

Bill Moore's 1989 speech came in large part by him being cornered by the charges made from serious ufologists. See this article from March 1, 1989, by Robert Hastings for context. 

The Roswell Files site has some good resources on the MJ-12 saga, and I recommend this page on Bill Moore and his partner's involvement.

Don Schmitt, has himself contributed a lot of imaginative contributions to ufology, yet he casts stones at Moore in this July 23, 2014, article.
"UFOs and the U.S. Government" from the 1989 MUFON Symposium in the original MUFON UFO Journal issues, which also carried some editorial discussion of the controversy.
MUFON Journal November, 1989
MUFON Journal December, 1989

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Pentagon UFO Program: Documents Released

Update: The AAWSAP - AATIP documents on the DIA website under the heading "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” were temporarily removed. After two weeks the folder was (mostly) restored under the new name, "Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program."

John Greenewald shared this statement on Twitter from Pentagon Spokesperson Susan Gough:
"DIA mistakenly selected UAP as the tab label for those documents.  We’re working with them to change it to a more accurate name. As we have said before, while the AAWSAP contract allowed for research drawn from a wide variety of sources, including reports of UAP, the examination of UAP observations was not the purpose of AATIP nor the AAWSAP contract."
As a result, the links below to the DIA site for the documents no longer lead to the intended results. They will be updated once the documents are re-posted by the DIA. For now, use the link to the collection hosted by The Black Vault at the end of the main article.

Documents recently released from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) provide more insight into the inner workings of the alleged Pentagon UFO program. The DIA’s FOIA Electronic Reading Room has been updated with a section for “"Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program." About 50 documents relating to AAWSAP/AATIP recently released under the Freedom of Information Act are now hosted there.

The disclosure finally makes it clear that the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Application Program (AAWSAP) and the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) were the same entity. AATIP was the “Unclassified Nickname” used by Senator Harry Reid when asking for Special Access Program status and funding for the project.

More than 30 of the documents are the subject studies, Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs), subcontracted contracted by Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies (BAASS) to fulfill the requirements of the primary objective of their contract with the DIA. The other documents include the contract proposal, PowerPoint presentations on AAWSAP progress reports, and correspondence requesting and rejecting SAP status for AAWSAP/AATIP. As of this writing, there is no documentation that AATIP existed beyond the termination of the contract with Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies (BAASS) in 2012.

Was AAWSAP/AATIP a U.S. government UFO Program?

The 2021 book, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon was written by two participants of AAWSAP, James T. Lacatski and Colm A. Kelleher, along with journalist George Knapp. The authors state that AAWSAP was definitely a UFO program, but it also studied associated phenomena, such as the strange paranormal events reported at Skinwalker Ranch. In an appendix at the end of the book, it lists over a hundred reports BAASS produced under the contract, all supposedly delivered to the DIA. James Lacatski’s interest in the topic caused him to contact Robert Bigelow and work with Sen. Harry Reid to develop the program with the government.
The AAWSAP contractor bid form 

The BAASS contract with the DIA contains no reference to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UFOs or any such terminology. If it was a UFO project, it was camouflaged. As a result, there has been speculation that AAWSAP was just what the language stated, a study into future developments in aerospace technology that could pose a threat to the US. It’s clear that Bigelow was conducting UFO research with funding under the contract, and that Lacatski approved it. The question is: Was the UFO research secret outside the program? Apparently, yes.

The newly released documents show that the DIA was aware of only the DIRDs and made their decisions about the program based on those studies. From the DIA visit with Senator Harry Reid, Nov. 19, 2009:

“To our knowledge, the senator did not receive copies of these draft reports [DIRDS], although he was aware of the general topic list. Thus, we can not find a direct link between the content of the reports and his letter.” [Later] “Senator Reid cites the ‘identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings' that will 'require extraordinary protection.’ Although most of the unclassified reports discuss unconventional aerospace technologies, DIA is unaware as to which ones the senator believes are sensitive.”

As a result, their conclusion was:
“Based on the content of the delivered FY09 and expect FY10 technical reports, DIA can not find sufficient grounds under DoD regulations to establish a restricted SAP.” 
They did state however, that if the project moved instead into technological “research, development and acquisition (RDA) effort that lies outside the DoD Intelligence Community's purview.”

Where Did the Money Go?

To the DIA, the DIRDs were all that AAWSAP produced, but there was something justifying further expenses for FY10 (fiscal year 2010). In the PowerPoint presentation from mid to late 2009, “Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Contract – Update,” slide 7 is “Option Year 1 (FY10) Deliverables.” At the bottom, it contains a box stating:

“FY10 $12M also covers BAASS overhead, staff, facilities, IT, security, databases, etc.”

In a previous article, The Pentagon UFO Money Trail, we tried to trace how the $22M was used by BAASS. That’ll give a more comprehensive look at what was treated as miscellaneous associated expenses.

There’s No Such thing as Bad Publicity

Media focus has centered on the 38-page DIRD authored by Dr. Christopher "Kit" Green, “Anomalous Acute and Subacute Field Effects On Human Biological Tissues.” It’s the only of the documents that explicitly refers to UFO research. “Appendix A: Schuessler Catalog of UFO-Related Human Physiological Effects (Frequency Distribution)” relies on data from a UFO book:
“The Schuessler catalog, UFO-Related Human Physiological Effects, was complied in 1996 by MUFON's past Director, John F. Schuessler. Covering the time period 1873 - 1994, the catalog comprises a summary of 356 selected cases of UFO-induced physiological effects on humans during close encounters.”

The appendix included a frequency listing of over 50 physiological effects allegedly experienced in UFO encounters and abductions, ranging from skin discomfort to electromagnetic effects on vehicles. The tabloid media focused on the sensational and quoted the passage mentioning the case of an “unaccounted-for pregnancy.” 

As Dr. Adam Kehoe noted in a series on Twitter, Schuessler’s book UFO-Related Human Physiological Effects, 
“… is a catalog that is derived from reports in ‘newspapers, magazines, UFO organization journals,’ etc… The quality of sources is often poor, including publications like National EnquirerFlying Saucer Review… The problem is structural. This is not data: it is a collection of stories.”
Kehoe concluded by discussing Green’s paper and the other DIRDs:
“Returning to the DIA paper, the use of the MUFON material is not a throwaway reference… Because these documents were produced as the result of a DIA contract, they have an aura of mystery and authority. However, chasing the references shows weak underpinnings.”
Of the 1500 or so documents released, Dr. Green’s paper represents just about 2.5% of them. Yet the sensational UFO material within has gotten all the press. John Schuessler was a key member of Robert Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), and in his leadership role in MUFON, the facilitator for their contract with BAASS to provide UFO data and investigations. It’s poetic justice that Schuessler’s work is responsible for the AATIP story getting tabloid press. It's the kind of sketchy data that Bigelow’s project was founded on, so in that sense, maybe the most accurate portrayal yet.

The documents are available for now for us to read and judge for ourselves.

You can find the AAWSAP/AATIP documents at:

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s FOIA Electronic Reading Room, section: “"Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

The DIA’s publication of the AAWSAP/AATIP documents is a bit jumbled. John Greenewald at The Black Vault has published a page that is more user-friendly organized f, arranging the documents in chronological order and displaying both the DIA file name and title or description. The Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) Documentation.

For a deeper examination into the AAWSAP and AATIP saga, see the earlier articles at Blue Blurry Lines, many of which were co-authored by Roger Glassel:

Part one uncovered a trove of information about the origins of AATIP, about the contract between the Pentagon and Robert Bigelow (BAASS), and secret subcontracts with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) to produce technical papers and furnish them with case files and access to investigation sites. Documents were reproduced from the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment (MATE) and the contracts between the group and Bigelow.

The Pentagon UFO Program’s Secret Partner March 17, 2020

In the second part of the article, participants of the secret MUFON contracts spoke about their involvement and the fact that most of them were unaware that Bigelow’s sponsor was secretly the US government.

Breaking the Silence: AATIP's Secret Partner Speaks March 23, 2020

Continuing the examination, we probed the $22 million government funding for Robert Bigelow’s company under the AAWSAP contract. We attempted to trace where the money was spent.

A related article examined Dr. Kit Green's DIRD from the perspective of the Cash-Landrum UFO case. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Pentagon UFO Money Trail

From Skinwalker Ranch to Bigelow Studies

By Curt Collins and Roger Glassel
(with research assistance from Keith Basterfield and Marc Cecotti)

Finding the truth about the Pentagon UFO program has been difficult since it is tangled in deception from its creation. The fog partly lifted, but was replaced by smoke, from promotion by advocates, to the contradictory statements from Pentagon officials. Select information has been downplayed or omitted, and some of the people involved do not want their involvement revealed. Others may wish to maintain the mystery for their own agendas. Even the name of the project has been a matter of controversy. Documents prove it was originally created in 2008 as AAWSAP, but by 2009 was commonly referred to as AATIP:

Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP)
Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)

The AATIP news coverage has portrayed it as a UFO project, which former players Dr. Hal Puthoff and Luis Elizondo insist is accurate. The Pentagon’s statements have been all over the chart, from it being a UAP study to a flat denial of the same. Part of the confusion comes in the original AAWSAP goals which stated: 

“The objective of this program is to understand the physics and engineering of these [advanced aerospace weapon system] applications as they apply to the foreign threat out to the far-term, i.e., from now through the year 2050.” 

There was no reference whatsoever to UFOs, but former Senator Harry Reid said that the first program manager (Dr. James T. Lacatski) wrote the AAWSAP contract with scientifically ambiguous terminology that would wouldn’t raise red flags, apparently so AAWSAP could get funding as an aerospace study of potential technological breakthroughs. The program contract stated: “The contractor shall complete advanced aerospace weapon system technical studies” on 12 topics, from propulsion to directed-energy weapons.

When AATIP was made public in the Dec. 16, 2017, New York Times, the article revealed that Robert Bigelow’s company “hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.” That confirmed what had been suspected by a few ufologists, that Bigelow’s research, and that the work he contracted with MUFON had been funded by the US government. That disclosure went largely unnoticed at the time, with the spotlight put on the Navy UFO videos released in connection with the story. It was over a year later before an official statement from the US government acknowledged the Bigelow company’s involvement, defined their contracted responsibilities, and gave some indication of where the money went.

(Note: FY indicates Fiscal Year, the 12-month period from October 1 through September 30 used by the Federal Government for budget formulation and execution.)

The Pentagon Acknowledgement of Robert Bigelow’s Role in AATIP

(Email to Roger Glassel) 
12 Feb. 2019 from 
James M. Kudla M CIV DIA (US)
Public Affairs Officer
Office of Corporate Communications
Defense Intelligence Agency

“Mr. Glassel – Here is the information DIA has shared about the program:
The purpose of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was to investigate foreign advanced aerospace weapons system applications with future technology projections over the next 40 years and to create a center of expertise on advanced aerospace technologies. The goal was to help understand the threat posed by unconventional or leap ahead aerospace vehicles/technologies that could have national security implications for the United States.

DIA awarded a contract to a sole bidder [Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, LLC,] who identified and worked with academics and scientists to produce 38 technical reports. The contract goal was to study 12 technical areas: lift, propulsion, control, armament, signatures reduction, materials, configuration, power generation, temporal translation, human effects, human interface, and technology integration.

After an OSD/DIA review in late 2009, it was determined the reports were of limited value to DIA and there was a recommendation that upon completion of the contract, the project could be transitioned to an agency or component better suited to oversee it. Funding for the program was ended in 2012.

I have no additional information about the program after it ended at DIA in 2012.”

Answering a follow up question the same day, Kudla responded:

“Mr. Glassel – The information I shared is the totality of the program while DIA ran it. The DIA program did not cover ‘anomalous events.’ The program required the contractor to produce studies in the 12 technical areas.”

The relevant portion about the BAASS funding from a reply by Susan Gough to a similar question:

(Email to Roger Glassel)
24 May 2019 from 
Susan L (Sue) Gough CIV OSD PA (USA)
Pentagon Spokesperson
Defense Public Affairs Operations

“As AAWSAP, the program commenced in FY2008. The first 26 technical reports produced under the program were completed by late 2009. The FY2010 Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) included an additional $12 million for the program and 12 additional reports were produced. A total of 38 technical reports were delivered.”

Based on the available evidence, up until 2010, BAASS was AATIP. Bigelow’s company was contracted by the DIA to do all the research, investigation and analysis. Perhaps all AATIP amounted to at the Pentagon end was funding, filing and administration.

Most of the information from the statements by Kudla and Gough above were derived from the original 2008 AAWSAP bid contract awarded to BAASS. It made no mention of UFOs or phenomena, but as we’ll see, that was apparently a deliberate deception. That’s the Pentagon’s version of the story, now let’s compare it to what has been documented from other sources.

The AAWSAP-BAASS Origin Story: The Self-Laying Egg

In the beginning there was Robert Bigelow, a billionaire with an interest in UFOs and the paranormal. He owned Bigelow Aerospace, operated the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in 1995, and the next year purchased the Skinwalker Ranch. Bigelow NIDS shut down in 2004, but it certainly did not end his interest in the unexplained.

Bigelow associates George Knapp and Harry Reid
According to Bigelow associate George Knapp, the New York Times AATIP story, “sort of conflated some of the facts. The 22 million dollars that they allege funded AATIP, actually went to AAWSAP, the program that basically funded [Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies], that funded the study of Skinwalker Ranch and funded a much broader discussion, much broader than just UFOs. What we’d call paranormal activity.”

Relating a story about the 2007 time frame, Senator Harry Reid said his friend Robert Bigelow contacted him about receiving a letter from a a Ph.D, “a senior, longtime member of this security agency,” who wanted to visit Skinwalker Ranch. Afterwards the scientist (Dr. James Lacatski) said, “Somebody should study it.” When Reid asked how to persuade the US Senate who controlled over the defense money, the scientist replied, “What I will do is prepare something for you that anyone can look at it that wants to, it’s strictly science.” That would ultimately become the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP).

Skinwalker Ranch promoters claim that during this visit the DIA scientist had a paranormal encounter that no one else present witnessed. Supposedly it persuaded him of the reality of the phenomenon and prompted him to launch a Pentagon study.

Bigelow created a sister company, Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, with the first known employee (Douglas S. Kurth) hired in Dec. 2007, then the company registered as a LLC in Jan. 2008, therefore in development several months prior to AAWSAP’s inception. Possibly a chicken or the egg question? With his friendship with Reid, or his contact with the DIA scientist, Bigelow may have known the AAWSAP bid opportunity was coming and spent months preparing for it. Harry Reid said, "we wanted to make sure people couldn't complain about it that it was some sweetheart deal" and that that the job open to any qualified contractor, "put out to bid."

On August 18, 2008 the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program contract bid solicitation date opened, and the process closed on Sept. 5, with BAASS, the sole bidder, being awarded the contract. Just as Dr. Lacatski had told Sen. Reid, it was “strictly science” and made no mention of UFOs, anomalous events, or aerial phenomena. By mid-September 2008 BAASS was hiring scientists and other personnel in relation to the contract.

Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies was unveiled to the public in an interview with George Knapp on the radio program, Coast to Coast, Sept. 28, 2008. Bigelow used the show as some sort of substitute for a BAASS press release, describing most everything except for the fact that the DIA was funding the operation:
“The mission for this company is to pursue exotic, novel technologies. ... We have sponsors. We have partners, in this effort...” He described the initial stage would be hiring a number of people with “...diverse backgrounds; that are all experts in a variety of fields. We have to organize offices and office facilities. ...we’re going to be initiating relationships and contracts with various organizations and people...”

KLAS-TV 8 News Now, May 4, 2018, presented an article from a Bigelow unidentified former officer, “Statement from a Senior Manager of BAASS,” who described how Bigelow’s plan was implemented:

“BAASS broke new ground in professionalism by hiring, training and deploying 50 full-time staff comprising retired military intelligence and law enforcement officers, PhD level scientists, engineers, technicians, analysts, translators, and project managers to create the largest multi-disciplinary full-time team in history to investigate the UFO topic.”

As for Bigelow’s initiating “ relationships and contracts,” on September 20, 2008, he contacted John Schuessler of the Mutual UFO Network, who in turn shared the word with the Board of Directors about a “contract for MUFON... The work is proprietary...” Bigelow concealed the fact from MUFON that they were doing subcontracting work for the US government. The outcome of the BAASS-MUFON contracts was examined in detail in the article,  The Pentagon UFO Program’s Secret Partner 

Luis Elizondo was interviewed on Jan. 30, 2018, by George Knapp, and stated that he was familiar with BAASS and how it worked:
“DIA chose Mr. Bigelow, and Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow, then further subcontracted this out. ...He looked for the best and brightest in the aerospace and the investigations field and everywhere else, to try to answer the mail, the mission, that the U.S. government, legally gave him.” He approved of Bigelow’s methods, saying, “I would have done it exactly the same way.” When prompted, he agrees that BAASS delivered a lot of material for the program. Elizondo responds, “Very quickly, by the way too. That organization provided a very clear snapshot of not only what we knew, but more importantly, what we didn’t know.”

Next, we’ll look at the projects connected with the program, and the money spent on them.

The Known AAWSAP Projects and Funding

To date, the DIA and Pentagon spokespersons have only acknowledged 38 scientific studies for the program, Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs), that were produced by contractor Robert Bigelow’s company BAASS, thorough a subcontractor, Dr. Hal Puthoff’s EarthTech. (See the appendix for an examination of DIRDs) It has since been revealed that BAASS produced much more than the DIRDs under the DIA contract. What remains unknown is how much of what BAASS produced actually served the purpose of AAWSAP, and how much of that data gathered was actually delivered to the Pentagon. First we’ll examine the Skinwalker ranch involvement in the AATIP story, then take a look at the UFO projects chronologically.

Pre-AAWSAP: Skinwalker Ranch

Robert Bigelow reportedly paid $200,000 for Skinwalker Ranch in 1996, and it’s conceivable that his greatest investment there was not in the land, but the research conducted there between from 1996 to the early 2000s during the operation of NIDS. Supposedly the Ranch was a key point of interest in initiating the DIA program, but by all credible accounts, there was no substantial scientific work conducted there during the BAASS-AAWSAP contract period. The Ranch was staffed by only two guards at a time. They were there to guard the property, with the secondary directive to observe and report on anything anomalous. The guards were provided a small collection of outdated equipment, and their assigned investigative duties were minimal. It was a low-budget operation. 

Late 2007/early 2008 - BAASS was created, months before AAWSAP technically existed, or the bid for the contract went out. 

September 20, 2008 – In late Sept. Bigelow was awarded the FY09 contract for $10 million. Robert Bigelow approached MUFON about contracting for the technical papers in the 12 areas of AAWSAP interest, but did not reveal that the funding came from the DIA. The first MUFON contract resulted in 5 papers from the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment (MATE), for which MUFON was paid about $10,000

September 28, 2008When BAASS awarded the contract, Bigelow appeared on Knapp’s Coast to Coast show to make an announcement of the company and what it was supposed to do, which included establishing facilities and building a team of scientists and technicians to conduct studies and analysis. The outlay of funds is unknown, but the salaries alone for the team must have been significant. Estimating 50 employees at $695,000 each, that would have been $3,450,000 per year.
September 30, 2008 - AAWSAP Contract Base Year started. BAASS was paid $10 million through contract # HHM402-08-C-0072. 

2008 Date? - Jacques Vallee oversaw the "Capella Project”, creating a vast UFO database. See: Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) and Vallee's "Capella" Project by Keith Basterfield

A Strategy for Research by Jacques F. Vallee, July 2014 CNES/CAIPAN Workshop
Oct. 3, 2008 - Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies registered the domain, however it appears to have never been active beyond hosting email addresses, two of which are known: and

Jan. 2009 - A BAASS hired a translator to transfer French GEIPAN documents into English, apparently to include them in the “Capella” database.

February 18, 2009 - after weeks of negotiations, a second contract between BAASS and MUFON was signed, for UFO field investigations and access to MUFON’s CMS for current and historical UFO sighting reports for a contracted fee of $56,000 monthly. BAASS subsequently ordered 40 MUFON Field Investigator manuals, for their team, in the amount of $1800 + shipping. 

Circa April 2009 - Equipment purchases for BAASS field investigators. A former BAASS employee’s LinkedIn profile states: “Managed the procurement of a wide variety of electronics, materials, thermal, night vision equipment and detectors.”

Date? 2009 - EarthTech - DIRDS 26 in FY09.
Dr. Hal Puthoff gave a talk on February 8, 2020 at an event held in Berkley Springs, WV, "DOD Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: The Back Story, The Forward Story." 

For further details, see: “Transcript: Hal Puthoff, Transition Talks Lecture” by Joe Murgia. 

Puthoff discussed AATIP, stated that he chose the topics of study, and explained how his company, EarthTech International, became involved:

“Well I came into the picture when BAASS contacted me, contacted my organization and asked me to collaborate as a subcontractor... I was contracted to commission papers from experts around the globe. ...over a two-year period, I let out thirty-eight contracts. ...if you read between the lines, and you see... This was definitely a UFO program. ...These papers were collected together and put out as a series of Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs). They were put up on a special server called JWICs (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System).”
To date, we don’t have documentation for the cost per paper of the subcontracted studies, but BAASS had contracted the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment for five similar studies at a price of $2000 each. We can estimate a minimum expenditure on the first 26 DIRDs at $52,000 

May 30, 2009 - BAASS hired a Portuguese translator in preparation for a 2009 “mid summer or fall” Brazil trip to pursue UFO material, including Colares cases documents from the government’s “Operation Plate.” See: “BAASS team visited Brazil” An investigation by Marc Cecotti and Keith Basterfield. Their investigation revealed an email exchange from August 2009 relating to the purchase of UFO data and materials, and Ademar Gevaerd from Brazil recently confirmed: “We spoke about a contract of services… in order to find metamaterials.” There was a second trip by a BAASS team to Brazil, but no evidence has surfaced of any resulting purchases, so these trips are cited to document examples of BAASS travel expenditures.

June 2009 - Bigelow had another tactic to collect UFO reports. He bought them outright. Canadian researcher Brian Vike, writing about the HBCC (Houston British Columbia Canada) UFO Research site: "I did own and operate it at one time, but I sold my 5 domain names to Bigelow Aerospace back I believe in June of 2009." The site is no longer active, but here's an archive of HBCC UFO Research from 2010, under BAASS management.

July 2009 - BAASS Ten Month Report delivered to DIA. According to Tim McMillan in Inside the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program, for the DIA, BAASS produced a “ 494-page ‘Ten Month Report,’ ...chock 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—each one entirely, explicitly about unexplained aerial phenomena.” there was also a mention of Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch in Utah as a “possible laboratory for studying other intelligences and possible interdimensional phenomena.”

Sept. 30, 2009 - For FY10, the AAWSAP contract with BAASS was renewed, funded for another year at $12 million.

Jan. 31, 2010 - The MUFON SIP field investigation program first had its funding cut by BAASS, and the contract was subsequently not renewed, so shut down. Under the reduced funding, $324,000 total was received from BAASS over the life of the project. 

March 25, 2010 - Colm Kelleher emailed Australian researcher Bill Chalker
“Since like 2008, I have been part of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies... we are interested in compiling a database of high-quality cases from around the world. ...we would love to hear of any cases in Australia or China that have physical evidence (including trace evidence) associated with them.” Nothing resulted, but this indicates that a global search was underway by BAASS, and that they were ready to pay for it if necessary.

2010 Date? - EarthTech subcontracted 12 more technical studies to be used as DIRDs, for a minimum estimated price of $24,000.

June 10, 2010 - Robert Bigelow uncharacteristically made public comments to the New York Times on UFOs and emphasized the danger from them:
“I’ve been a researcher and student of U.F.O.’s for many, many years. Anybody that does research, if people bother to do quality research, come away absolutely convinced. You don’t have to have personal encounters. People have been killed. People have been hurt. It’s more than observational kind of data.” It’s possible these comments were intended to help secure another year of BAASS funding by the DIA.

June 2010. A large number of BAASS personnel were laid off according to their LinkedIn profiles. Marc Cecotti obtained a quote from a former BAASS employee that “One day in June 2010 the suits from the Defense Intelligence Agency showed up for 15 minutes, left. The next day we were all laid off.”

July 29, 2010 - An FAA memo effective July 29, 2010 stated: “... air traffic control reporting of UFOs in the United States should now go to BAASS...” Colm Kelleher confirmed that BAASS had an office to receive UFO reports. As with most other BAASS projects, it’s unknown how much was spent on the project or what became of the data gathered.

Sept. 30, 2011 - AAWSAP option year 3 started, apparently without any funding for BAASS. AATIP was transferred to OSD control (according to Luis Elizondo).

The Money: Tracking what the Pentagon Funding Purchased

One of the most paradoxical aspects of the AATIP story is the BAASS subcontract MUFON, which was simultaneously the most publicly known project, but held some of the greatest secrets. Of the $22M from the AAWSAP contract, only the payments of BAASS to MUFON can be accounted for.

The MUFON-BAASS Transactions and Tax Reporting

$10,000 (MATE papers)
$1800 (Field Investigator manuals)
$324,000 (SIP funding and CMS access)
$335,800 (total)

"MUFON is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)3 charitable corporation," according to their website. When Bigelow approached MUFON with the proposition to hire them, some of the Board of Directors questioned how it might affect their non-profit tax status or conflict with the group’s goals. Here’s an example, a Dec 9, 2008, MUFON email between the MUFON Advanced Technology Establishment team:

“Dear Mates:
... The issue has been raised as to what form of business entity our project should utilize. That may depend on whether we decide to go with a start up company for the power generation project or actually run the project ourselves. If we should decide to run the project ourselves, it has been suggested that we should set up another not-for-profit organization. In considering that question, we have to ask what our goal would be? 

MUFON already has not-for-profit corporation status. Is the goal to keep the information from the board? All we really want to do is to keep the name of the sponsor from becoming known, isn't it? If there is that much concern about the board members knowing the name of our sponsor, perhaps they could agree in principal that they don't need to know that information (based on John Schu[e]ssler's and James' assurances?) but can participate generally in decisions. If we keep the information about what we're doing from the board, doesn't that place James, Bob and Robert in a tough and possibly unethical position? We could have the board members sign the second NDA form, or something similar, so that they realize they are jeopardizing their position with MUFON if they reveal the information.”

Ultimately MUFON elected to continue the contract under their existing structure, justifying the income as financing their core mission. The MUFON Federal tax filing from 2008 and 2009 reflects the money from Bigelow shows a total of $344,667 as “contributions” from BAASS rather than contracted work, services rendered, or goods purchased.

MUFON Tax Returns 2008-2009
MUFON 2008 Tax Return Schedule B shows $242,667 received from BAASS as a contribution. (Filed under Clifford Clift as director, filed 2010-02-01.)

MUFON 2009 Tax Return Schedule B shows $102,000 received from BAASS as a contribution. (Filed under Clifford Clift as director, filed circa Oct. 2010.)

MUFONs justified accepting the BAASS contracts for the following reasons:
  • Needed the money to fund research
  • Did not conflict with goals of sharing information
  • Case information provided was (supposedly) no different than what MUFON presented in CMS site and published in Journal. 

BAASS Estimated Expenditures for FY09 and FY10

With the documented MUFON figures in hand, we can extrapolate some of the other BAASS expenditures for the DIA contract. (Note - This includes known figures, estimates, and guesswork)

$6,900,000 - BAASS payroll est.
$400,000 est. cost of BAASS facilities
$20,000 est. cost BAASS equipment
$350,000 est. cost BAASS field investigations

$335,800 - MUFON contracts and purchases.

$1000 - HBCC UFO websites purchased from Brian Vike of Canada

$20,000 - est. Hal Puthoff and EarthTech team fees
$78,000 - est. for subcontracted 38 studies for DIRDs
$8,104,800 est. total 

The DIA’s contract with BAASS was for a total of $22M, so obviously the above list comes up short. Several possibilities exist. Perhaps the funds were used over a longer time frame, or the expenses were larger than are known or estimated - or the money went into projects yet undiscovered. It also may be that Robert Bigelow used AAWSAP to recover some of his previous research costs related to NIDS and Skinwalker Ranch. This exercise shows that like with the rest of the AATIP story, there are still a lot of questions yet to be answered.

 . . .

Appendix: AATIP ≠ DIRDs 

The best-known product of the Pentagon UFO program is the 38 scientific studies on the future of advanced aerospace developments. In late 2017, the New York Times and other news agencies were shown a dossier to establish the credentials of the AATIP program. The collection included a powerpoint presentation with the slide, “FY09 Technical Reports,” the first 26 DIRDs produced via Hal Puthoff’s subcontract with Bigelow. Part of this material was later posted on the site of Chris Mellon (of TTSA), but later removed. Mellon later displayed two of the missing slides during an episode of Unidentified, and we’ve used those to create a PDF to recreate the document. AATIP Powerpoint Briefing 2009.

AATIP FY09 Technical Reports
In response to the FOIA by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, the DIA released a list of 38 research titles funded by AATIP. This document was created by the DIA stating that it was furnishing the Congressional Committee on Armed Services with “a list of all products produced under the AATIP contract” These were the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs) contracted during the AAWSAP/AATIP project. By comparing it with the 2009 briefing document, we can determine that Puthoff contracted the following DIRDs for FY2010’s additional $12M in funding:

The FY10 Technical Reports:

Advanced Nuclear Propulsion for Manned Deep Space Missions, Dr. F. Winterberg, Univ, of Nevada -Reno

Aneutronic Fusion Propulsion, Dr. V. Teofilo, Lockheed Martin

Cockpits in the Era of Breakthrough Flight, Dr. G. Millis, Tau Zero

Cognitive Limits on Simultaneous Control of Multiple Unmanned Spacecraft, Dr. R. Genik, Wayne State Univ

Detection and High Resolution Tracking of Vehicles at Hypersonic Velocities, Dr. W. Culbreth, Univ of Nevada - Las Vegas

Aneutronic Fusion, Dr. W. Culbreth, Univ of Nevada - Las Vegas.

Laser Lightcraft Nanosatellites, Dr. E. Davis, EarthTech

MHD Air Breathing Propulsion and Power for Aerospace Applications, Dr. S. Macheret, Lockheed Martin.

Quantum Computing and Utilizing Organic Molecules in Automation Technology, Dr. R. Genik, Wayne State Univ

Quantum Tomography of Negative Energy States in the Vacuum, Dr. Eric Davis, EarthTech

Ultracapacitors as Energy and Power Storage Devices, Dr. J. Golightly, Lockheed Martin.

State of the Art and Evolution of High Energy Laser Weapons, J. Albertine, Directed Technologies (Product is classified UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY)

A few of the DIRDs have been located or leaked, and match the titles, authors, and content described in the DIA list of 38 research titles. See “The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) DIRD Report Research” by John Greenewald.

The second group of studies may give some insight either into the AATIP project, or at least what Robert Bigelow and Hal Puthoff thought would be valuable to their sponsors. It still remains unclear if the studies reflect the true goals of the project or served as a cover story for UFO research.

Further Reading on BAASS and AATIP

Bryan Bender’s article “The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs,” Politico magazine, Dec. 16, 2017, discussed the Bigelow-Reid connection and how AATIP was funded. “Reid initiated the program, which ultimately spent more than $20 million, through an earmark after he was persuaded in part by aerospace titan and hotel chain founder Bob Bigelow, a friend and fellow Nevadan... Bigelow... was also a regular contributor to Reid’s reelection campaigns, campaign finance records show, at least $10,000 from 1998 to 2008.”
Bender quotes an unidentified former senior intelligence official who was uncomfortable with the program, “I was concerned the money was being funneled through it to somebody else who was an associate of Harry Reid’s. The whole circle was kind of a bizarre piece.”

George Knapp on the structure of the post-BAASS AATIP from the 2019 Laughlin UFO MegaCon presentation
[AATIP] ...a group of people Lue Elizondo was the head of. It's not so much a program as it was a loose network of intelligence officials in different agencies, including the Air Force, and the Navy, CIA, DIA, DARPA, might be a couple of other agencies, but a case would come in from any one of their units, it would be shared with this group of people and analysis would be done, evidence would be looked at, and then it's stashed in a drawer and nobody ever sees it, it's not passed up the chain of command.”

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - scientific research features a series of articles by Keith Basterfield and Marc Cecotti on the Bigelow-AAWSAP projects, the latest at the time of this writing is: How BAASS went about collecting UFO reports from across the globe, which features a timeline of known attempts to gather data and materials.

More MUFON tax returns may be found at the site: MUFON: A look at the Organization.

Also, see the previous articles by Roger Glassel and Curt Collins: