Setting the Record Straight
I’m writing to correct the record after a series of misleading articles on the UAP issue by Holman Jenkins Jr. of the Wall Street Journal. Specifically, I want to correct Mr. Jenkins' assertion that: “The UFO commotion has largely been sustained by the U.S. defense establishment,” as well as his suggestion that interest in the UAP issue is the result of “...intelligence officials who think their job includes promoting false and tendentious information to the American public for their own purposes.” His claim that DoD has recently found conventional explanations for most of the hundreds of UAP reported by US military personnel is also dubious.
First of all, it is not clear to me what “commotion” Mr. Jenkins is referring to since the American press has of late been observing a near total blackout on coverage of the UAP issue. For example, last week President Biden signed into law unprecedented legislation regarding UAP that could conceivably reveal proof of an extraterrestrial presence on Earth. Yet, not a word of this incredible bipartisan effort has been reported by any of America’s leading networks or newspapers! So, to begin with, there is, if anything, a lack of UAP press coverage rather than a surplus of it.
Furthermore, what limited press coverage we’ve seen lately has been negative, seeking to belittle and discredit the UAP issue, especially the possibility that some UAP could represent alien technology. Examples of such reporting include: Mr. Jenkins recent articles at the Wall Street Journal; another op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by UAP skeptic Seth Shostak (which incidentally falsely claims astronomers never report UAP); and finally, a New York Times op-ed published by Julian Barnes in October claiming that anonymous DoD officials have found explanations for “most” recent UAP reports. Strangely, Mr. Barnes references the 144 military UAP incidents reported in a government report delivered in June 2021. He then mentions a subsequent Congressional hearing on the UAP issue in May of 2022. Yet, he somehow fails to mention that the DoD officials appearing at the Congressional hearing reported that the number of officially reported military UAP incidents had precipitously climbed to 400 from 144 in less than a year! Are Mr. Barnes and his anonymous DoD sources claiming that most of the 144 UAP incidents have been explained, or most of the 400? Are the anonymous officials leaking information to the New York Times the same people Mr. Jenkins claims are “..promoting false and tendentious information to the American public for their own purposes?” I cannot help wondering since we have no other recent examples of DoD or IC officials leaking UAP information to the press. In short, there is too little rather than too much “commotion” regarding UAP, and Mr. Jenkins has it backwards when it comes to the role of the defense establishment.
One of the things that most concerns me about recent press coverage of the UAP issue is that neither Mr. Jenkins nor Mr. Barnes nor Mr. Shostak seem to have done any serious UAP research before publishing their bold claims. In that regard, I contacted a number of military personnel involved in the Nimitz incident and other prominent military UAP cases and learned that none had been interviewed by Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Barnes, or Mr. Shostak. This is a glaring omission since their testimony forms the basis for Congress’ recent, deep engagement on the issue. Also, some of these cases are responsible for the perception that some UAP are not of human manufacture. The failure to interview these important military witnesses is also a major oversight because some of their accounts provide valid reasons to believe some UAP incidents involve technology that may not be of human origin.
In the case of UAP, we have both a large number of fresh military reports, in the hundreds, but we also have a considerable and growing amount of impressive data. If any of the hundreds of DoD UAP reports ultimately proves to be a probe from an extraterrestrial civilization, it is easily the biggest discovery in human history. Currently, nobody has a conventional explanation to offer for the Nimitz case or hundreds of other US military cases under review. There are also hundreds of thousands of civilian UAP reports worldwide, including hundreds obtained by the military forces of countries such as France, Brazil, Chile, and Russia. Recall also that we have only just begun to ask US military personnel to report their sightings and we are only just beginning to analyze them. Naturally, most UAP reports will have conventional explanations, but it is intellectually dishonest to ignore the hard and well-documented cases that suggest we may have been discovered by others with whom we most likely share the galaxy.
To return to Mr. Jenkins, let there be no doubt: the defense establishment has consistently sought to downplay and avoid the UAP issue, not promote it. For those unfamiliar with the facts, let’s briefly review the history:
1970: The USAF, eager to wash its hands of the UAP issue, abandons its UAP investigation, Project Blue Book. Despite over 700 unexplained UAP reports, the Air Force would have us believe that UAP are simply and entirely the result of “a mild form of hysteria; individuals who fabricate reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity; psychopathological persons, and misidentification of natural objects.” In other words, according to the US Air Force, those reporting UAP are crazy, naive, or engaged in fraud. As all students of the UAP issue know, DoD and the USAF have consistently resisted serious public inquiry regarding the UAP issue.
Winter 2017: Lue Elizondo makes me aware that restricted US airspace is being routinely violated by UAP. I learn that this has been going on weekly, if not daily, for months and years; yet the DoD and IC leadership is in the dark. Lue and his team are profoundly alarmed by the prospect of clandestine reconnaissance directed against US Naval Strike Groups and other vital US military capabilities. Even more concerning, these mysterious vehicles in some cases appeared to demonstrate capabilities beyond anything in the US inventory, to include even the highly classified reconnaissance platforms developed for DoD and the IC by the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, the Boeing Phantom Works, and other contractors.
Summer-Fall 2017: In an effort to alert the leadership to these worrisome and unexplained intrusions, I introduce Lue Elizondo to two officials who reported directly to then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Months of effort pass, but it proves impossible to get anyone at DoD to notify the Secretary or take meaningful action.
October 2017: Lue resigns in protest after it becomes evident the obdurate OSD bureaucracy is unwilling to acknowledge the UAP issue or undertake an investigation.
November 2017: In desperation, when it becomes clear DoD and the military will not respond to these alarming intrusions of US military airspace, I reach out to Leslie Kean of the New York Times as well as reporters from the Washington Post and Politico. The NYT editors were highly skeptical initially, but Lue’s authoritative testimony and the unclassified documentation and official DoD videos I provided sufficed to convince them that the story is real. Politico is also keenly interested, but the New York Times seems the better choice for gaining the attention of Congress so I proceed accordingly, providing them two unclassified but official DoD UAP videos and other unclassified information. The primary goal is to sound the alarm to engage Congress in the hope they will compel DoD to take action. I also facilitate the New York Times interview with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by Helene Cooper, the lead reporter on the NYT story. During the interview, Senator Reid recounts details of his own frustrating efforts to get DoD to take the UAP issue seriously. Meanwhile, Lue introduces Helene Cooper, Leslie Kean, and Ralph Blumenthal of the NYT to Cmdr. Dave Fravor and other impeccably reliable and competent Navy aviators. On December 17, 2017, the New York Times publishes an article by Leslie, Ralph and Helene entitled, Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’.
Winter 2017-2018: The Washington Post publishes an op-ed of mine entitled “The Military Keeps Encountering UFOs. Why Doesn’t the Pentagon Care?” In this op-ed, the first of many, I propose Congress ask the Secretary of Defense for an “all-source” study of the UAP issue. I also used the opportunity to release another unclassified but official DoD UAP video. Meanwhile, I introduced Lue Elizondo to staff from the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees. In turn, Lue and I introduce Senate staffers to a number of Navy aviators, including Dave Fravor, Ryan Graves, and Alex Dietrich as well as other DoD personnel and contractors who have encountered UAP. Impressed, the Senate staff arrange briefings by the Navy aviators for committee members. Bill Nelson, who later becomes NASA Director in the Biden Administration, is among the Senators who attended these briefings and is deeply and understandably impressed by the testimony of the Navy aviators. Hence NASA’s current, unprecedented interest in the UAP issue.
2019: DoD acknowledges the authenticity of the unclassified UAP videos that I provided to the New York Times and Washington Post. Lue, Tom Delonge, and I do what we can to raise awareness, to include multiple press interviews and participation in a History Channel TV series called UNIDENTIFIED. For the first time in recent history, perhaps ever, active duty US military personnel are permitted to publicly discuss their UAP encounters on camera.
2020: Congress, frustrated by DoD’s lack of action and responsiveness, directs DoD to create a UAP organization and establish UAP reporting procedures. This is occurring because DoD and the IC have not been forthcoming on the UAP issue. The USAF in particular resists providing UAP information even when the inquiries originate with the Deputy Secretary of Defense. After two years of making introductions and engaging in discussions; writing op-eds; and even drafting and posting draft report language online, the Senate Intelligence Committee adopts my recommendation to request an unclassified UAP report from the DNI.
2021: In response to perceived DoD foot-dragging, Congress goes further, demanding DoD provide additional information and, among other things, prepare a UAP science report and UAP collection plan. Meanwhile, the unclassified UAP report requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2020 arrives in June. It
cites 144 military UAP incidents since 2004. Only one was solved, that of a balloon. The report failed to include NORAD uncorrelated track reports or space or undersea anomalies but it is a start. Of course, the document also does not include the estimated 90% of UAP incidents that were never reported due to fear of negative repercussions on careers and reputations. Nevertheless, the unclassified UAP report confirms the reality of hundreds of UAP incidents, most captured by multiple sensors. Although many or perhaps even all UAP might prove to have conventional explanations, to date none of the 400 UAP incidents identified by DoD are definitively linked to Russian, Chinese, or US classified aircraft. The government UAP data therefore strengthens the possibility that some UAP may be manifestations of technology from beyond Earth. Yet the media, almost universally, conveys a ‘No Aliens’ message in their coverage of the UAP report rather than observing that the preliminary data is consistent with the ET hypothesis.
2022: Congress strengthens the UAP legislation in the Intelligence and Defense Authorization bills to include unprecedented new provisions that provide whistleblower protections for anyone aware of UAP programs that may not have been briefed to Congress. It also directs a review of all UAP intelligence documents going back to WWII as well as requiring DHS, DoD, and the IC to identify and share with Congress any Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) related to UAP. Already in December of 2022 people are stepping forward to avail themselves of the whistleblower protection.
This is an admittedly cursory and limited version of the recent history of the UAP issue based on the narrow window of my personal experience, but it should suffice to demonstrate Mr. Jenkins is wrong: There is little mainstream press coverage of the UAP issue; what little mainstream coverage we’ve seen lately has mostly been derogatory; and to the extent defense officials have involved, it has been to downplay and discredit the UAP issue rather than promote it. In other words, Mr. Jenkins commentary in the Wall Street Journal is highly inaccurate and misleading.
Mr. Jenkins also claims DoD has found conventional explanations for the hundreds of UAP incidents that have been identified over the last few years. These include numerous cases of Navy warships being swarmed by unidentified drone-like aircraft at sea, often for hours at a time, permitting the collection of detailed radar and optical data on the UAP. The Chinese seem logical suspects, and I will not be the least bit surprised if that proves to be the explanation for these incidents, but when I last checked the IC still had not confirmed a Chinese link to these incidents.
There have also been dozens of airspace violations at DoD training ranges in recent years; in some cases, entire military exercises have been canceled or rescheduled due to the presence of unidentified aircraft operating in restricted military airspace. At last count, 11 near mid-air collisions were reported. There have also been mysterious undersea vehicles detected, reportedly traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons and nuclear power facilities continue to be surveilled. In sum, DoD and the IC have a lot of work to do before we get a handle on the situation. If I’m wrong, and “most” of these incidents have suddenly been explained, wonderful! However, I find it doubtful the pending UAP report is going to indicate we’ve suddenly found explanations for over 200 UAP incidents since May.
Yet, in his article, The UFO Bubble Goes Pop, Jenkins joins Julian Barnes of the New York Times in predicting precisely that. He claims the reason the UAP report that was due October 31st has been delayed is because DoD suddenly found conventional explanations for most UAP reports. If it turns out that explanations have been found for most of these incidents, that is valuable and important progress, but the UAP issue is not going away. Hundreds of unexplained sightings will remain and many of the most interesting reports, such as that of the Nimitz case, will continue to challenge conventional mindsets and intellectual complacency.
Hopefully we can all at least acknowledge the vital importance of investigating the source of so many worrisome violations of US airspace. In the meantime, I urge reporters to do the serious homework that Jenkins, Barnes, and Shostak have not, which involves reviewing historic UAP documentation and research materials; talking to leading UAP researchers; and above all interviewing the US military personnel who have encountered these vehicles. Climbing this mountain of UAP information is not difficult, it just takes a bit of time and effort. I hope a few serious journalists will make the effort because the view from the top is incredibly fascinating and the American people deserve informed analysis.