Investigation Status: Ongoing – Last Updated 3/16/2018
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“I would say remain skeptical. Healthy skepticism is very important, in fact it’s imperative. In fact, in my job as an intelligence officer, I was paid to be skeptical. I think you should always question all the information that comes before you by anybody who says anything, and I think that’s true not just with people like me, I think it’s true with government, religion and everything in between. ”
— Mr. Luis Elizondo, 2018 International UFO Congress Recorded Testimony
by John Greenewald, Jr.
The Black Vault
On December 16, 2017, Tom Delonge’s To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science released two of three UFO videos that are in their “custody” – stating they were officially declassified by the U.S. Government.
It was also announced these videos were part of the secret UFO Research program known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. This existence was based on the testimony of one of the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science teammbers Luis Elizondo. According to the website:
“Luis Elizondo is a career intelligence officer whose experience includes working with the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the Director of National Intelligence. As a former Special Agent In-Charge, Luis conducted and supervised highly sensitive espionage and terrorism investigations around the world. As an intelligence Case Officer, he ran clandestine source operations throughout Latin America and the Middle East. Most recently, Luis managed the security for certain sensitive portfolios for the US Government as the Director for the National Programs Special Management Staff. For nearly the last decade, Luis also ran a sensitive aerospace threat identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies. Luis’ academic background includes Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, with research experience in tropical diseases. Luis is also an inventor who holds several patents.”
When Mr. Elizondo’s inclusion in this project was announced, and his biography above was published (along with the press conference held by Mr. Delonge) I quickly filed a FOIA request for records pertaining to this, “sensitive aerospace threat identification program” as referenced by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science.
At the time of the press conference, and the filing of my FOIA Request, the full name of Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was not published, but rather, it was only referenced as the, “sensitive aerospace threat identification program” on the website, and the “DOD Aerospace Threat Program” by media outlets such as the Huffington Post. Therefore, in my request, I asked for the following:
“I respectfully request a copy of records, electronic or otherwise, of the following: all documents pertaining to the outline, mission statement, objectives, etc of the DOD Aerospace Threat Program. Please note: this may not be the exact, title, but is derived from the testimony of Mr. Luis Elizondo, former DOD employee. According to the Huffington Post (as published here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fmr-manager-of-dod-aerospace-threat-program-ufos_us_59de2f4be4b0b992a8214874 )”
You will notice that to circumvent any word games by the DoD, I stated, “Please note: this may not be the exact, title, but is derived from the testimony of Mr. Luis Elizondo, former DOD employee.” In other words, even though I knew I was probably slightly off on the title, I gave them DOD personnel testimony, a link to what the program obviously was, and there was no way they could plead ignorance that I was “not specific enough.”
On November 27, 2017, the DOD responded with a “no records” determination.
There are three possibilities:
1) The DoD is lying — which under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — if proven — is actually more of a damning situation than you might think.
2) The program is being blown out of proportion, is misinformation, or doesn’t even exist.
3) For whatever reason, the DoD doesn’t have an outline, mission statement, objectives, etc of the DOD AviationThreat Program as my specific request asked for, but it does exist. It would be highly doubtful, but a possibility, so my “no records” response is simply directed at my specific request.
So, I have appealed the “no records” response, and have filed more FOIA requests — but something does not seem to add up.
Another FOIA request I filed, which has a final response, as of 8 January 2018, was to the National Security Agency (NSA). In this specific request, I asked for any Intellipedia references to this program (and I termed it: “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program” and filed a second request with “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program” since the media reported both names. The CORRECT name, according to the Department of Defense, as confirmed to me over the telephone, is “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.” Why the descrepency and misreporting? I do not know).
Intellipedia is an online system for collaborative data sharing used by the United States Intelligence Community (IC). Essentially, it is like Wikipedia for the Intelligence Community (IC). Within the three separate Intellipedia databases, you will find, literally, millions of pages on all sorts of material, classified and unclassified (depending on which version of Intellipedia you are using). When I file my requests for Intellipedia entries, I request searches of all three. I also request a search of the entries for keywords, so possibly a term may not have a specific “entry” page, but maybe the program itself is mentioned on a different entry. I try to cover all my bases.
On 8 January 2018, the NSA told me that there were “no records” responsive to my request, which means, out of the millions of pages within the entire Intellipedia collection, there is not a single reference to the program. There could be many reasons for this, so this is just speculation, but it is interesting to note that there are countless mentions of classified programs within Intellipedia. When classified pages are found during searches, for examples, many of the Edward Snowden revelations (like Wrangler), the NSA will acknowledge they are there, but exempts them from release. Another example, is my request on Echelon. This may have entered the realm of still heavily classified to the point they can’t even admit it’s there, and they give a GLOMAR response (“can neither confirm nor deny”). My point with these examples, is that the possible explanation that it is “still classified” and they are lying just does not fit.
So why does the NSA, which is part of the DOD, who operates the Intellipedia system, not find it necessary at all, to include any reference to the DIA (also a DOD agency) run “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program” out of the millions of pages?
On February 12, 2018, the Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff office, in FOIA Case 18-F-0324, gave another rather odd “no records response” to a request which had multiple parts.
Specifically, I requested:
1) The resignation letter of Mr. Luis Elizondo, DoD personnel who played a role in The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.
2) Any/all responses by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, or any other DoD official to Mr. Elizondo regarding his resignation.
3) Any/all letters, memos, recommendations, email, etc. sent from Mr. Elizondo, to any DoD official, regarding the declassification or public release of videos, as obtained by the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.
4) Any/all response to Mr. Elizondo, and his effort to get videos or material evidence in the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program released to the public.
Although I have an open appeal on the above with the DOD, it is noted they just wanted to forward my request to the Defense Intelligence Agency instead. However, due to the fact that Mr. Elizondo stated clearly he worked within OSD (not DIA), and the NY TIMES among many other news outlets cited Mr. Elizondo’s resignation letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, at least that portion of my request would be at the office that just gave the “no records” response.
(It should be noted that the accession of “resignation letters” through the FOIA is contested. It is unclear if a resignation letter would be accessible through the FOIA, or exempt due to it being a letter of “personal nature” and possibly not considered an agency record. This may explain the “no records” response, if OSD does not consider Mr. Elizondo’s “resignation letter” an agency document. What I have been unable to DEFINITIVELY address, whether by case law or past FOIA request, is whether or not an agency would issue a “no records” response, even though the resignation letter exists, but it is not considered an agency record, or would they issue a denial on the records, acknowledging they are there, but exempt due to FOIA exemption (b)(6). I have found evidence to the latter in response to a FOIA request for the alleged “resignation letter” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had potentially drafted. If there was a resignation letter, the Department of Justice decided that they would neither confirm nor deny it even existed, based on the (b)(6) “privacy information” FOIA exemption. This was the letter sent to the Huffington Post in FOIA Case DOJ-2017-005525.)
Something does not seem right, and I will post the results of the appeal when they become available.
There are many things that actually concern me over the discovery of this program, which I feel will need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months. Let me preface my concerns, but giving my thanks and compliments to Tom Delonge, the team at the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, Mr. Elizondo, and all others involved for getting this information out. My concerns are not personal in nature, and should not take away from the work the aforementioned are doing. But, I feel this should be addressed.
- The media, and even much of the UFO Community, is mis-representing this story as the “first time” the government has conducted UFO Research since Project Blue Book closed in 1969. This, for a fact, is not true. For those who follow The Black Vault, you will that more than a decade, I lectured about, talked about, and profiled a Air Force Manual (that same agency which has denied UFO interest for so long) that specifically talked about UFO reporting procedures. When procedures exist to report something, it is probably safe to assume those reports actually go somewhere and mean something, therefore some kind of UFO Research project was underway. Proof: http://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/air-force-instruction-10-206-vanishing-ufo-regulation/You will notice from the above page, that although I spoke about this publication for roughly a decade, and even put it into some UFO Documentaries I produced on History Channel, it was mysteriously removed when the Huffington Post was going to profile it. A fascinating story, but proof a UFO Research program of some kind was well underway, even before the “DOD Aerospace Threat Program” allegedly even existed, and it existed under well after. Was there synergy between the two? Only time will tell, but that’s another story in itself.That said, this “new” program we are all hearing about sounds admittedly larger in scale than the Air Force manual evidence, but one aspect on why I don’t feel it’s the start of “disclosure” is the testimony of Luis Elizondo himself.He said that no one was “taking the threat seriously”, which played a role in his resignation and exit from the DOD. I can respect that, but it does show that no one else involved (bit of an assumption there) saw anything worthy of investigation? I would feel if this really was “disclosure” — and the government was starting to come clean — we would have much more evidence, a more serious approach, and the government would stay quiet and let the information drip out. However, on the contrary, they responded to some media outlets saying yes, it existed, but it didn’t find anything worthy of additional dollars or time/effort?
- Robert Bigelow was given the task to house recovered alloy and material? According to the NY TIMES article:
“Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.”
Well, that’s just downright intriguing, right? I mean, captured alloys and material from UAPs/UFOs? That has to be alien, right? This rivals the Roswell debris going to Hangar 18, right? Probably not — here’s why:
Why would the government trust “alien technology” (I know I am taking a leap assuming that is what may be hidden) to a corporate entity aiming to profit in the privatization of space travel and space exploration? It would seem that is a rather large secret to be kept – and although corporations are trusted with many high level security issues and the specs to some of our most advanced pieces of technology, I would think the U.S. may keep that material a bit close to their chest.
Because, if this was proof, the smoking gun, or “alien technology” that could not be refuted – why would Mr. Bigelow keep that a secret? He obviously knew/knows Elizondo was going to go public — and when he did — people would start asking questions. So, why wouldn’t he join hands and say this is what we have (or this is what we DON’T have)?
What is more likely, is that Mr. Bigelow was able to do a “privatized” and modern Project Moon Dust, wherein he was on the receiving end of possible recovered Chinese, Russian, Iranian etc. technology. Project Moon Dust captured space debris during the space race, seeking to back engineer more advanced, captured, technology from a foreign entity. It’s possible, and probable, that this is simply a modern day version of that.
It seems to me there is something suspicious or shady at the root of this, but I can’t decide which one is true. I just feel that with Bigelow’s personal interest and fascination with this, and the fact he has no problem touting his belief that aliens may be walking among us, that if he knew of alien alloys or something beyond out world that he, himself, is housing? I would imagine that would not be a secret kept for long.
- The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program probably didn’t find anything – at least – that’s according to Mr. Elizondo himself. I think it is wonderful that Mr. Elizondo has come out with this information, and I respect his contribution. However, according to his own testimony, I think we can determine that there was nothing found by the program he headed. Here is why: He didn’t give any definitive answers, other than the UAP (or UFO) phenomenon is very real. Well, we all knew that — but why? Because there is gun camera infrared footage? We knew that too. Because the government sees things it can’t identify? Ok, we knew that too. On the surface, this looks and sounds amazing. But when dissecting what was given to us — we are still lacking any answers whatsoever. The government admitted the secret program is real — that sounds groundbreaking — but they also said in the same breath they cancelled it after about 5 years. It lasted from 2007 to 2012. Although the NY Times said that members of the group still continue to investigate the sightings, we have to assume a couple things here. a) they are doing it “officially,” which may be a leap and b) this statement is even true — I mean — how do we know? So all we can rely on, is what has been officially talked about, and that is, there was a secret program that lasted for 5 years. But, that reality brings me to my last point.
- It had a $22 Million dollar budget. Really? $22 Million? Stop and think about how small of a number that really is. $22 Million divided by 5 years (assuming the longevity is true). That’s $4.4 Million per year. That’s $367,000 per month. That’s $91,750 per week. Sounds like a lot — but to U.S. Government standards? That’s kinda nothing at all.When you look at the project overall, as indicated by the media, the financing was spearheaded by Senator Harry Reid, from Nevada. As I mentioned above, and according to the NY TIMES, “most of the money” went to Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace. Do you know where Mr. Bigelow resides? You guessed it, Nevada, Senator Harry Reid’s home state.Out of curiosity, I looked up the donations given to Senator Harry Reid’s campaigns from Mr. Bigelow. The dollar amount stretches to $10,000 a possibly beyond.
Given this fact, what are we looking at? Senator Harry Reid doesn’t strike me as a UFO aficionado – but he does strike me as someone who loves his constituents that donate the big bucks. I think it’s a big possibility that this project, with the majority of the money going to Mr. Bigelow in Nevada, spearheaded by Senator Harry Reid, of Nevada, is nothing more than pork, and not motivated to better humanity, get answers or uncover the truth.
“Declassified” Videos Released
The following were the videos released by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science on December 16th, 2017, and largely published by the media. According to Mr. Luis Elizondo, the videos were obtained by the submission of a DD Form 1910, CLEARANCE REQUEST FOR PUBLIC RELEASE OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE INFORMATION. It is believed that the “Chain of Custody” documents referenced by the To The Stars Academy is the actual DD Form 1910 filed by Mr. Elizondo. However, by definition, this is not a “Chain of Custody” records, but rather, simply proof of proper declassification. That said, I do have open FOIA requests for the actual DD Form 1910s filed to get the below (and others?) videos released.
“The GIMBAL Video”
According to the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science:
GIMBAL is the first of three US military videos of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) that has been through the official declassification review process of the United States government and has been approved for public release. This footage, and all official USG footage you will see on TTS Academy’s Community of Interest (COI), comes with essential chain-of-custody documentation validating that it is received in its original and unaltered form and is authentic. The US Department of Defense uses this process in order to meticulously ensure that information and material retain their integrity without revealing sources and methods. This documentation is what sets this footage apart from anything else that has previously made its way to the public domain, by establishing its authenticity and thereby giving it enormous historical significance.
While that fact alone is of historical significance, what this 34 seconds of video provides is remarkable. Several key observations are contained in this one video that may help us collectively better understand the physics and technology being employed. In addition, we hear US fighter pilots struggling to determine the nature of object. Key findings include:
• Low observability in both electro-optical and electromagnetic spectrums.
• No distinguishable flight surfaces.
• Lack of obvious propulsion system.
• Never-before-seen flight capabilities.
• Possible energy or resonance field of unknown nature.
The filename “GIMBAL” seems to be traceable to the unusual maneuvering of the UAP.
The NIMITZ Video
According to the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science:
FLIR1 is the second of three US military videos of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) that has been through the official declassification review process of the United States government and approved for public release. It is the only official footage captured by a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet present at the 2004 Nimitz incident off the coast of San Diego. Like GIMBAL, this footage comes with crucial chain-of-custody (CoC) documentation because it is a product of US military sensors, which confirms it is original, unaltered, and not computer generated or artificially fabricated. While there have been leaked versions on the internet, the CoC establishes the authenticity and credibility that this version is the original footage taken from one of the most advanced sensor tracking devices in use.
The sensor, a Raytheon AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod, has two imaging modes: mid-wave infrared and visual. It has high resolution and can locate and designate targets at distances exceeding 40 nautical miles. The FLIR1 footage shows what was on display to the fighter pilots in the cockpit of their Super Hornet.
The GO FAST Video
According to the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science:
GO FAST is an authentic DoD video that captures the high-speed flight of an unidentified aircraft at low altitude by a F/A-18 Super Hornet ATFLIR forward-looking infrared system. While TTSA was the first to obtain a copy, it should be available to any member of the press or public via the Freedom of Information Act.
This video, GO FAST, was captured by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet using the Raytheon AN/ASQ- 228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pod. This sensor has two imaging modes – mid-wave infrared and visual. It has high resolution and can locate and designate targets at distances exceeding 40 nm. The video imagery represents the image displayed in the cockpit to the pilot and Weapon Systems Operators (WSO). Major features of the display are shown in Figure 1.
The date, location, and other information has been removed by the originating authority as part of the release approval process.
GO FAST was selected for release, like GIMBAL and FLIR1, after review by multiple government organizations. The object in this video remains unidentified.
Based on the above information, I did request numerous documents and videos from various government agencies. I will be updating this case file as the investigation progresses.
Responses to Public Enquiries
Comment: You won’t find anything. It’s all classified “Top Secret”
The Black Vault’s Answer:
This one is fairly easy to address, and we have two things supporting the fact this is NOT true.
1) Mr. Elizondo is talking about the program. Any program that is fully/entirely classified will in most cases, be off limits where you can go on major media outlets and start discussing it. A prime example of this, would be the programs that were revealed with the Snowden leaks. Those are entirely classified programs with “Top Secret” designations, and they were completely shielded from public disclosure, until, of course, the leaks. If the AATIP program was classified to this degree, Mr. Elizondo would never be able to violate a security oath, as a former head of the program, then start preaching about the inner-workings of AATIP and ignoring his oath.
2) The DOD openly admits the program was real. I know that first hand, because I spoke with them multiple times on the telephone, and they informed me as such. I never once have said, or published, that AATIP was fake. In addition, beyond my word for it, I believe the same public affairs office and personnel spoke with WIRED Magazine and CNET offering quotes (along with some of their own reservations) about AATIP. So, we can put to bed it’s just “all classified” and we won’t get anywhere with the FOIA.
Comment: You won’t find anything. The U.S. Military hid it all within Bigelow Aerospace to circumvent the FOIA.
The Black Vault’s Answer:
This is a common statement in regards to Bigelow Aerospace and AATIP, but I just don’t believe this would be accurate. And here is why:
Mr. Elizondo was not contracted by Bigelow Aerospace, but rather, by OSD. Therefore, any information from his e-mail, to his reports, to his documents, to his whatever, is FOIAable.
Mr. Elizondo has also spoken about the sources of his reports being from multiple DOD components, not the private sector. Also, all FOIAable because those records were generated under certain criteria and guidelines.
In regards to Bigelow’s contract with OSD (or DIA?) in regards to their alloy housing etc. of course, Bigelow is going to have documents generated within, which are not FOIAable. And that may seem like a conspiracy/cover-up, but I don’t believe it is. With a contract like this, the majority of the work will be in the form of quarterly reports, yearly reports, inventories, document transmittals, etc. etc. etc. which are all subject to FOIA. There is no way around that. Are internal emails from one Bigelow employee to another subject to FOIA? Of course not, but they have to turn information over, and once we can see the contract itself (which I am going after) we will see exactly what they had to turn over, or generate, or create, or bake, or sculpt, or color, or whatever. Then, a new slew of FOIA requests will commence.
For those with doubts of what I am saying, here is a prime example, and it loosely ties into this.
Dr. Eric W. Davis (who is tied to TTSA, Hal Puthoff and was on Coast to Coast AM in the beginning of 2018 talking about AATIP) was given money many years ago through contract F04611-99-C-0025. It appears that contract sent money to multiple different private corporations to do research on various types of projects. This will bring up different reports made under that contract: https://www.google.com/search?q=F04611-99-C-0025&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS754US754&oq=F04611-99-C-0025 as proof of what I am saying.
Dr. Davis’ portion of the money went towards the subject of Advanced Propulsion. His report, although public domain and now available online, can be obtained under FOIA from the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). I received it and archived it here: http://www.theblackvault.com/documentarchive/advanced-propulsion-study-air-force-research-laboratory-september-2004-dr-eric-w-davis/
Warp Drive Metrics, as listed on the report, I believe is simply Dr. Davis’ own company. I haven’t dug too deep, so I could be wrong, but it’s private / non government, and yet here is proof the information contracted is all subject to FOIA in the form of a final report. Did Dr. Davis send out emails regarding his research? I’m sure. Can I get those under FOIA? No. But clearly, the money that very American paid which financed this all by taxpayer money; that information is FOIAable in the form of his final report.
Here is another example, wherein this contract gave him money to finance research on laser light propulsion: http://www.theblackvault.com/documentarchive/review-of-laser-lightcraft-propulsion-system-october-16-2017-by-dr-eric-w-davis/
And another on teleportation physics: http://www.theblackvault.com/documentarchive/teleportation-physics-study-air-force-research-laboratory-august-2004-dr-eric-w-davis/
I believe that we get into conspiracy fantasy land if we think that proof of aliens / AATIP material / alien alloys etc. etc. are all hidden within a bunker deep inside Bigelow Aerospace and it’s planted there to circumvent FOIA and we chance giving alien/secret technology to a private corporation just so we can dodge people like me filing FOIAs.
Occam’s Razor dictates that documents are there for us to find under FOIA, and it’s just going to take time to get them, but we will likely find out that the MAGNITUDE of the AATIP program, is not what we are being led to believe.
FOIA Request Responses
Department of Defense (DOD)
National Security Agency (NSA)
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Originating Organization: To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science
Organization Link: https://dpo.tothestarsacademy.com/