Categories: UFO Phenomena

From AATIP to NPSMS: The Mystery Continues To Deepen

The controversy surrounding Luis Elizondo’s claims of directing the “Pentagon’s Secret UFO Program” known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) has sparked widespread debate. While Elizondo’s exact role in AATIP remains disputed by the Pentagon, it is confirmed that he was the director of the National Programs Special Management Staff (NPSMS) within the Department of Defense (DoD) at the time of his resignation.

In July 2021, The Black Vault made a discovery that Colonel Evelyn Laptook had replaced Luis Elizondo as the director of NPSMS. This document below revealed her name, as connected to being the director of the office that Elizondo resigned from less than a year prior:

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The revelation prompted speculation by The Black Vault that if AATIP-related activities continued, they might still be managed within the NPSMS office where Elizondo was previously employed. Consequently, a FOIA request (21-F-1235) was filed by The Black Vault in July 2021 to uncover more information about this, as it possibly connected to Laptook or the office she ran at that time.

The FOIA request sought records containing keywords such as “AATIP,” “AAWSAP,” and “Advanced Aerospace” within Laptook’s email box. The search revealed one single exchange that connected to another FOIA request from 2018, referred to as CMO003127-18. This designator likely stems from the Correspondence and Task Management System (CATMS), a system designed for efficient management of tasks and correspondence within the DoD.

The likely FOIA request itself that this refers to is identified as 18-F-1477, which was filed by researcher Keith Basterfield, on August 8, 2018. Basterfield’s request sought, “… a copy of documents relating to the purpose; mission statement; vision; assessments; contracts; technical reports and outcomes of the Advanced Aerospace Threat (and) Identification Program. This program operated out of the National Programs area of the Sensitive Activities Directorate, under the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, for HUMINT, Counterintelligence and Security.” This wording matched that of the tasking email, indicating this was the request it referred to.

While processing the request for Basterfield, the FOIA office tasked it to a redacted individual, likely Col. Laptook, who was the NPSMS director at the time. Col. Laptook’s response indicated that the NPSMS’ mission “relates strictly to” a short redacted term, which is protected under FOIA exemption (b)(2). This exemption pertains to information solely related to the internal rules and practices of an agency. The secrecy surrounding the NPSMS’ mission continues to raise questions about the sensitivity and confidentiality of their operations. There remains not much known about the office, and when searched, the internet produces primarily results about Elizondo himself, but not much beyond it with the exception of court transcripts profiled by The Black Vault in 2019.

Additionally, a reference to a “sister office” was also redacted, suggesting that an extension of NPSMS is equally classified and shrouded in secrecy.

Despite the National Programs office within OUSDI stating they had no records related to AATIP, a subsequent email hinted at “background information” that could be relevant to the request. This suggests that although no direct records were found, there were still underlying details worth noting. One email stated, “I’ll try to touch base with you later today about background information that could be related to this request being tasked to your office.”


This exchange is significant as it highlights the complexity and secrecy surrounding AATIP and related programs. The correspondence shows that within the DoD, information about AATIP is closely held and continues to be a challenge to access. The fact that there was still “background information” to discuss, despite the official stance of no records given to Basterfield’s request in this instance, adds another layer to the mystery. More FOIA requests have been filed to seek out that information.

While these latest FOIA findings may not be earth-shattering, they contribute another piece to the complex puzzle of unraveling AATIP and its operations, whatever they may be, following its exposure by the New York Times and Politico.

Note: The original request filed by The Black Vault for information about what became ultimately known as AATIP to the public was filed on October 13, 2017. This was more than two months prior to the acronym AATIP (and full program name) being published by the mainstream media. This was FOIA case number 18-F-0077 and sought information about the program Elizondo described at the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science press conference, which first introduced Elizondo to the public. That request yielded a “no records” response, after it went through several appeals.

The Black Vault remains committed to transparency and continues to seek answers through FOIA requests on this issue. Each new document and detail brings the general public closer to understanding the truth, whatever that may be.

For more in-depth and factually accurate articles grounded in verifiable evidence, stay tuned to The Black Vault.


Document Archive

21-F-1322 Release [4 Pages, 1.5MB]



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This post was published on June 5, 2024 5:09 pm

John Greenewald

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