FOIA Request Unveils DoD’s Review of Leslie Kean’s UFO Screenplay as Submitted by Luis Elizondo

UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean

The Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by The Black Vault on July 26, 2022. This FOIA request, identified as case number 22-F-1178, sought to obtain records, including manuscripts, videos, and photographs, submitted to the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review (DOPSR) for a security review by former DoD employee Luis Elizondo.

Although the request aimed to uncover information related to either Elizondo’s highly anticipated book or potentially other material he submitted for public release, it instead revealed the prepublication review of a screenplay adaptation of Leslie Kean’s book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record.”

This outcome truly highlights the unpredictable nature of FOIA requests and the importance of keeping them broad enough with the hopes to uncover unexpected and potentially valuable information not previously thought of.

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In a letter dated February 22, 2024, Stephanie L. Carr, Chief of the Freedom of Information Division, confirmed that the Washington Headquarters Service, Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review (DOPSR) located ten pages responsive to The Black Vault’s request. However, portions of these pages were withheld under 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(6), which protects personal privacy.

Leslie Kean

The correspondence revealed the process and timeline involved in the review of the screenplay titled “Alone.” On September 30, 2020, Elizondo, who says he was the former Director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) that investigated UFOs for the Pentagon, submitted the screenplay for review. The screenplay, based on Kean’s book, involved real individuals affiliated with the DoD. Elizondo requested the review to ensure no classified or sensitive information was disclosed, as his “name and likeness” was being used in the “partially fictionalized screenplay”.

In his submission, Elizondo wrote, “At no time, are real names, dates, or places used that could compromise ongoing operational activities by the Department, nor is any information revealed that could constitute a compromise of sources & methods, OPSEC, PERSEC, or INFOSEC.”

The DOPSR acknowledged receipt of the screenplay on October 13, 2020, and commenced the review. The review process was delayed due to the high volume of submissions and COVID-19 related disruptions. Jeff Springer, an attorney representing Elizondo, expressed concerns about the delays impacting the film project’s progress. In an email dated October 30, 2020, Springer wrote, “Unfortunately our client is in a position where forward progress on the film project is stopped until the review is completed.”

Despite these delays, the DOPSR completed the review, and on December 3, 2020, Kelly McHale, a Security Review Specialist, confirmed that the screenplay “Alone” was cleared for public release. McHale’s email stated, “The screenplay titled ‘Alone’ is cleared for public release. Attached is our final response letter and the first page of the screenplay with our clearance stamp.”

In May 2021, industry trades announced the development of Kean’s screenplay adaptation. According to Deadline, the screenplay was being developed by New Line Cinema and HBO Max, with Bryce Kass as the writer. The project aimed to bring the compelling accounts of UFO sightings and government investigations detailed in Kean’s book to the screen, generating significant interest among both UFO enthusiasts and the general public.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the screenplay “Alone” has moved beyond the development stage or was shelved. In 2023, National Geographic Channel released, “UFOs: Investigating the Unknown”, a 5-part series, in which Kean was listed as a producer. However, no screenplays or films are listed in her credits, nor under those of Kass, that may be based on her book or the draft screenplay “Alone” that was reviewed by DOPSR.

Despite the initial buzz and the involvement of prominent industry players, there have been no further updates on the production or release of the film.

The below release package does not constitute the entire records cache on the DOPSR review of Kean’s screenplay. Rather, these likely only fit the scope of the original 22-F-1178 request, which only included correspondence between Elizondo and the DoD. So on March 1, 2024, a new request was filed by The Black Vault seeking out all records pertaining to DOPSR’s review of the above screenplay under case 20-SB-0149, the unique identifying number given to the above review.

Those results will be posted, when available.

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Document Archive

22-F-1178 Document Release Package [12 Pages, 2MB]

 

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This post was published on June 8, 2024 2:57 pm

John Greenewald

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