How many times in your life, at work or at school, have you been advised to ‘think outside the box’? Or to be ‘brave and principled’ and ‘think independently’ rather than just going along with the herd? I would imagine more than once. But is that really good advice? I’d like to think so, but let’s consider the case of Luis Elizondo.
In 2017, after years of working selflessly on his own time to motivate people in DoD and the IC to take the UAP issue seriously, he finally resigned. He did so because these unidentified aircraft were routinely violating restricted U.S. airspace in a manner and pattern that suggested someone has achieved a major technological breakthrough and is using it in a manner that poses a potential threat to U.S. forces. If this unknown agent has benign intentions, why are they provocatively sending these craft to swarm around U.S. warships, apparently intending to be seen and provoke a reaction that reveals our air defense procedures and capabilities? Why are they spying on sensitive DoD test ranges, U.S. nuclear power plants, Navy Carrier Strike Groups, the critical THAAD missile defense facility in Guam, etc.?
Obviously, this is a matter of grave concern. Yet, for years, nobody in DoD or the IC had the courage to raise this taboo issue regardless of the facts or potential consequences for our military and our country. Finally, after a months-long, last-ditch effort by Lue failed to get the issue in front of the Secretary of Defense himself, Lue resigned in protest to draw attention to the problem.
Lue’s resignation letter, dated October 4, 2017, the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik launch, states:
… Despite overwhelming evidence at both the unclassified and classified levels, certain individuals in the Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors, and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security. In many instances, there seems to be a direct correlation the phenomena exhibits with respect to our nuclear and military capabilities. The Department must take serious the many accounts by the Navy and other Services of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond next generation capabilities. Underestimating or ignoring these potential threats is not in the best interest of the Department no matter the level of political contention. There remains a vital need to ascertain capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation. For this reason, effective 4 October 2017, I humbly submit my resignation in hopes it will encourage you to ask the hard questions: "who else knows?', what are their capabilities?, and "why aren't we spending more time and effort on the issue?"
Since the publication of that letter the UAP world has been transformed. In 2017, UAP were a taboo subject that few in the USG dared discuss. Now, we have Congressionally mandated annual classified and unclassified reports and legislation that may finally compel DoD and the IC to treat the UAP issue as seriously as we do threats like Chinese and Russian hypersonic vehicles and missiles. U.S. Senators are now openly acknowledging the fact that the observed UAP technology in some cases is so advanced we cannot help but consider the possibility it was not made by human minds. That mind-bending possibility is now being taken seriously around the world due to the congruence of the efforts of Dr. Avi Loeb of Harvard and a handful of outspoken pundits from the U.S. national security community. Lue and I are both honored to be part of Dr. Loeb’s Galileo Project. These conversations on UAP from both a scientific and national security standpoint were unthinkable just a few years ago. This is amazing progress in the short period of time since Lue resigned.
One might think, if the DoD or DNI leadership was serious about encouraging employees to ‘think outside the box' and be 'brave, independent and principled,’ that when someone actually manifests those traits for the nation’s benefit, correcting an outrageous intelligence community oversight in this case, the achievements of that individual might be acknowledged and celebrated to convey a proper signal to the workforce. Why not, for example, acknowledge that Lue was right all along, thank him for his sacrifice and service, and offer him his old job back?
In actuality, of course, nothing of the kind seems to have even crossed the minds of Lue’s former employers at DoD and the IC. To the contrary, despite the fact Lue has been proven correct about everything he said, despite the fact that DoD’s and the IC’s negligence is now incontestable and the subject of an IG investigation, OSD has not expressed a word of thanks or recognition for Lue’s incredible achievement. To the contrary, even while they acknowledge that Lue and a handful of others were right on the substance, there is an ongoing effort to discredit Lue emanating from the Office of the Secretary of Defense!
OSD’s petty argument, expressed through OSD spokesperson Susan Gough, is that there was no formal funding for UAP research after 2012, so how could Lue have been the director of a UAP investigative effort as he claims? This makes sense to some bureaucrats who think only in terms of money. Never mind the fact that Lue was bootstrapping the effort for years with available time and resources, collaborating with the Navy to investigate the issue, promoting inter-agency investigative activity, in general investing extraordinary amounts of time and energy, and doing everything he could with the limited resources available. In the big machine it doesn’t count if all the paperwork is not in order no matter the benefits or outcome! I can vouch for Lue’s efforts after the funding lapsed as can many others. Consequently, these ad hominem attacks against Lue boil down to criticizing him for going above and beyond the call of duty, continuing to work the issue, and do the right thing even without the support he and the mission deserved!
The issue is first and foremost the message not the messenger; namely the shocking and unexpected fact that we have a serious unresolved national security issue on our hands. Nobody can deny that without Lue’s efforts both the American public and the senior leadership of this nation would still be in the dark about this vexing issue. So, instead of seeking to discredit, why can’t DoD and the IC say: “Thank you Lue for your courage, tenacity, and willingness to challenge group think and put national security above all else. The system failed and your efforts have helped to rectify a serious strategic lapse and vulnerability.” I received a number of awards at DoD for basically just doing my job and working hard, I did not have to fall on my sword the way Lue did, yet Lue is still being ostracized by an obstinate bureaucracy too proud to admit Lue was right and they were wrong. The petty bureaucratic mindset reflected in the continuing attacks on Lue are themselves indicative of serious government dysfunction.
It’s commonplace for people to attack the messenger when they don’t like the message. We need to get beyond such pettiness in domestic politics as well as national security. In the meantime, how about a pat on the back for Lue even if he did perhaps violate a few speeding ordinances in his efforts to get a long-overdue warning message to our leaders. In the meantime, however, it is hard to see, based on this example, why anyone at DoD or the IC would want to ‘think outside the box’ or ‘challenge group think.’ In truth, it seems all you can expect for doing either is criticism and ad hominem attacks.