Sunday, June 02, 2019

Unidentified - The New History Series

Yes, like many of you, I tuned in for the first installment of Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation, Friday night. Let me say, up front, that there really was nothing new here, except that it had the trappings of a serious program. Before I explain what I mean by “nothing new,” let point out a couple of other things.

We open, more or less, with the tale by a Navy pilot with her face blacked out and a warning to never mention her name, even in private emails. She’s worried about her career if she talks about seeing a flying saucer. But we learn that she was assigned to the USS Nimitz, and the 41 Squadron, which would serve to identify her for the Navy, if they chose to pursue it. How many female pilots were in that particular unit on that particular ship at that particular time? Her identify is hidden only from those of us out here in the civilian world… but this sort of thing makes for good television.

We do learn the name of the lead pilot , CMR David Fravor, and we see him in his rather nice house. He tells the story that he has been told before. He tells of seeing the object, shaped like a tic-tac, that is about 40 feet in diameter, and which makes amazing maneuvers that are impossible for any aircraft in the current inventory. There is video footage from the Heads Up Display that tends to corroborate what he is saying… though no real analysis of the image was presented. You can watch an interview with him here:

We do hear from a number of former power players from the Washington establishment, though John Podesta has been talking about UFOs for a long time. Luis Elizondo was part of the AATIP program, that is, the newest and latest of the government investigations about UFOs. However, John Greenewald has supplied some disturbing information about this. You can read about this aspect of it here:

I will note that George Knapp has allegedly released a document that has Elizondo’s name on some sort of distribution list. I haven’t been able to find it, and a name on a distribution list does nothing to confirm the claim that Elizondo was in charge of the AATIP program. This is one of those things that pop up in UFO research all the time to complicate matters.

Moving on, the interesting thing about this new television series, was that rather than delving into all the wild theories and putting up fake documents as if they were real, they stuck to a conservative point of view. We are shown, for the most part, the witnesses and we see their testimony corroborated by video. We learn that many military pilots have seen UFOs, interacted with them, but fail to report the sightings because of the stigma attached to them. No rational person wants to be tarred with the nut case label that so often accompanies a UFO report.

Now, I said earlier that there wasn’t really anything new here. I meant, simply, that this program could have been made 75 years ago, if we had TV documentaries then. We had military pilots reporting UFOs. We had high-level military and government officials worried about these craft. We had serious research being conducted.

As first example, an Army Air Corps National Guard pilot flying near Mt. Baldy, California, on July 8, 1947, reported a UFO. The flat object, reflecting light, was about the size of a fighter. The pilot said that he gave chase attempting to keep the object in sight but was unable to do so. He, of course, didn’t have a Heads Up Display, or in this case gun camera film to back up his report. Technology had moved a long way in the last 75 years.

And then there is this sighting: Three airmen, including Major Archie B. Browning, flying a B-25, near Clay Center, Kansas said they saw a silver-colored object pacing their aircraft at 1:45 p.m. Browning said that a bright flash called his attention to the object, which he said was thirty to fifty feet in diameter and very bright. He said the object appeared to be pacing the aircraft at 210 miles an hour. When they turned toward it, the object seemed to accelerate to high speed and disappeared.  Again, the technology didn’t allow for any sort of photographic evidence. Eventually, the Air Force would suggest that the sighting was caused by a sunshine reflection on the windshield.

The point is that here are military pilots who were seeing something they could not explain and who had reported it for the last 75 years. They did not have the ability to record the event, given the technology in 1947, but that is about the only difference. These sightings were originally taken seriously by Army intelligence officers, and were reported up the chain of command. Eventually, a curtain of ridicule has been pulled down and the pilots are said to have mistaken sunshine reflections for real objects.

In fact, the movie, UFO, was released in 1956 that had the same trappings of authenticity as Friday night’s documentary. UFO included movie footage and pilot reports and eyewitness testimony. The Air Force moved quickly to undermine the film’s credibility.

There was another aspect to this that I thought of as slightly overblown. Elizondo was in his car when he received a telephone call about a secret briefing given to selected members of Congress. We don’t know who they were, but we hear that this is a history making breakthrough. UFO witnesses and members of Congress seriously discussing flying saucers… except it wasn’t the first time that it happened. Two decades ago Jesse Marcel, Jr. met, secretly, with members of Congress to discuss his handling of the strange metallic debris recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. This meeting did not inspire a change in the situation. The status quo had been preserved.

At the end of the program was one final thing that bothered me. One of the men said that the only thing we didn’t know was if we would meet E.T. or Independence Day.” He was wondering if those flying the UFOs were interested in benign contact or an invasion of Earth.

Back in the summer of 1947, according to Ed Ruppelt, who had been the chief of Project Blue Book in 1952, the Pentagon was in a panic. They didn’t know what the flying saucers represented. Could it be a terrestrial threat or one from outer space? Could alien invasion be far off?

Now, some 75 years later, we can answer half the question. It doesn’t seem to be Independence Day. After 75 years, there is little chance that an invasion was coming. That might be the reason that the panic evaporated 75 years ago. They realized that there was no invasion fleet and that they had time to try to understand what was going on. Since then, it appears that they have failed to find any additional answers, at least according to what we know.

Now, we’re beginning all over again, with the same type of investigation, with some formerly highly placed people saying the same things that we have heard for decades from other formerly important people. The problem is, at this point, we have nothing but the eyewitness testimony of the military pilots and the interest of some formerly important people which doesn’t really move the needle. We are in the same place we were nearly three-quarters of a century ago… there is just more hype today than there was then.


Larry said...


I believe the document being referred to as being released by George Knapp is the letter sent by then Senator Harry Reid to the DoD in June of 2009, requesting that the AATIP activity, which was already in progress by then, be extended to become a Restricted Special Access Program (SAP) in Fiscal Year 2010, and stating that the personnel who were already working on it (both government and civilian contractors) should continue to form the core of the team. A copy of the letter as it was released last year can be viewed at:

That letter has most of the names that Harry Reid recommended for inclusion in the program blacked out. As I understand it, the "new" document that is about to be released or has already been released by Knapp is simply that "old" letter with the names now visible. If Elizondo's name is on that list, that would constitute contemporaneous, documentary evidence that the AATIP activity was already in progress in 2009 and that Elizondo was one of a handful of individuals who was central to its operation. The unredacted names might even include job titles--who knows?

Byron Weber said...

Regarding an analysis of the tic tacs, The Scientific Coalition for Ufology (SCU, incidentally they are using your name Kevin on their website) has done an in depth analysis, many pages long with diagrams, speed estimates, distances, etc with what limited info is available. As for Elizondo, yeah, hard to figure him. Yet, I am reminded of a very good friend (now deceased) who did solo HALO jumps into N. Vietnam in 1972 and, he showed me a pic of the President giving him a medal and, although he was regular Army, I never figured out who he actually worked for. When they want to hide stuff, they are good at it. Somehow, I don't think we are back to the beginning because of the technological advances since '47, especially with metamaterials. But who knows, you could be right. Thanks for the post.

KRandle said...

Larry -

Yes, I had seen that one. It does nothing, as released to corroborate Elizonda as the leader of ATTIP. It merely verifies that such a program had been suggested. What held me up on this was the idea that there was a letter that verified Elizondo's claim that he was, at one point, the head of the program.

Byron -

Yes, I am a member of SCU, but I was talking specifically about the Unidentified program and their failure to provide an in depth analysis of the footage...

And, don't think me rude, but I do not believe a tale of solo HALO jumps into North Vietnam in 1972. I'd need to see something more than a single photograph. HALO is very difficult, and I don't believe there were attempts to infiltrate North Vietnam by a single individual in that fashion, unless he happened to be Vietnamese himself.

Byron Weber said...

Kevin, not rude at all, just proves my point, they are good at keeping secrets. Bruce Dudics was recruited out of basic at Ft Ord and sent home to Orange County for vetting after he agreed to do something special for his country. After he was cleared he was sent to Harvard where he was private tutored off campus in Thai for a year. Not only did received HALO training (many pics of it) he was also trained in safe cracking and after he got out in '83 he helped the Orange County Sheriffs open drug raid safes. I've had long conversations with his brother, an attorney in Ontario, CA about Bruce, and yes it's true, he worked with the Hmong in N. Vietnam until he found his contact staked to the ground and cut to ribbons on one of his jumps. He stayed in touch with some of the Hmong after they came to the US. He got the medal from President Reagan for, as he said, "something I did in Iran." He worked for me as a PI and through his military contacts in Korea he managed to recover a million dollars stolen from a bank in the US. Unfortunately, the Korean Col. who recovered the money also sent someone to the US to kill the guy who stole the money. We prevented that from happening. His brother gave me a picture of his unit symbol when he was in Germany, a small figurine of a cloaked man with the words, "Cut Me." If you want to talk to his brother, I'm not sure how much he will tell you, I can give you his email address. Bruce was a true "unsung hero," but no amount foia will ever prove it. When he got out they gave him an interest free 30 year loan to buy the house where I believe his wife still lives today. I know he wasn't SOG, possibly CIA or DIA and he was exceptional at surveillance, wiretapping, etc. Byron (Not for posting)

Signifying Nothing said...

Using John Podesta to make the case for UFOs is about as useful as his input on cybersecurity ..

jlmet said...

I don't think concealing the identity of female pilot was meant to hide her from the Navy. The Navy knows who she is. My take was, she didn't want this to impact any civilian job she might have now, or in the future. After all, this incident took place 15 years ago.

Unknown said...

This piece seems clueless.

Greenwald has a beef with elizondo for a long time. The article there has been called out by Steve basset at PRG and Bryan Bender at Politico as a hit piece...

On Twitter they had some really strong things to say about it and why it shouldn't even be taken seriously.

Not to mention the unprofessionalism & bias that comes thru as soon as the author calls Elizondo "a Pug Faced Fox Mulder with a goatee.." - so now we're name calling.

John has been on Twitter clapping his hands as he prays for TTSA to fail. Check out all these things.

The point about Lue not being an AATIP is a non-story.

Moving on...

Jesse marcel Jr. Was a child at the time, who had to remember seeing something his dad brought home 50 yrs prior. Not TOP GUN pilots who had personal close encounters & saw these actual craft & how they move & operate. They were military personnel.

The "guy" at the end was Commmamder David Fravor of the Black Aces who was the guy who engaged the TIC-TAC. His comment about ET or INDEPENDENCE DAY was repeated here to make a point. He said it before on a casual podcast among other fighter pilots who were involved with the incident.

50 yrs ago was the cold war. Everything is different. This isn't the same. The Cold war and it's impact had so much to do with how this was handled. Now as we improve technology and those secrets that were kept for so many yrs, and not to mention not even admitted that we had ANY interest in UFOS since 1969, up until about a YEAR ago is a BIG DEAL! They finally want to destigmatize the topic they screwed up and added a stigma to so long ago.

Byron Weber said...

And, I haven't even begun to tell the real story.

Larry said...

George Knapp has now apparently released a copy of the Harry Reid letter to DOD requesting the establishment of a Restricted SAP to work on AATIP with two additional names unredacted: Luis Elizondo, a government special agent and Dr. Hal Puthoff, a contractor.

It should now be clear that Elizondo actually was a part of AATIP, from the beginning.

Woody said...

How much new is there in Ufology anyway? We flog dead horses, we dig up there remains and flog them again. Newer UFO claims are not so different from the old. Radar systems are still not perfect, human perception and memory is still shite. Quite valid natural explanations are still mostly overlooked by the hard-core believers. Much of the good evidence that you have seen, Kevin, has lead you to believe that there is something to this myth. But your views have evolved as have mine. Is there a UFO-crash report that still holds the physical asunder of a visiting alien spacecraft as the most likely explanation ? Just curious mate.

Sugarraytaylor said...

Regarding the issues brought up by John Greenewald, the one thing which was very strange, is that Elizondo’s name was nowhere to be found in Greenewald’s FOIA attempts. Elizondo stated multiple times that “all roads lead to my desk” regarding UFO reports, if that was indeed the case then surely there would be much more results through FOIA just through communication channels alone.

I have been very disappointed with the treatment John Greenewald has received just because he dared question someone with legitimate issues brought up by his research into AATIP. How many times have we seen someone come into this field claiming to be everything under the sun only to have it come crashing down on everyone involved? These questions are well justified.

I have also been very surprised with George Knapp through all of this. I find it very convenient that every time Elizondo or one of his associates needs some corroboration that no one else can find, up pops George Knapp with a document of questionable origin. Even more surprising is his conduct, here is a guy who made a name for himself as an investigative journalist, who is always championing research and credibility, yet has a real problem with Greenewald’s inspection of Elizondo’s background and role in all of this. Every time Greenewald has commented on anything that Knapp has released, John has prefaced it with something along the lines of “I would like to first point out that George is a friend and someone I respect greatly”. Knapp, on the other hand, just throws veiled insults at Greenewald whenever he hosts Coast to Coast.

I would also love someone to ask Knapp how this AATIP program reflects on the Bob Lazar claims. In my opinion, you can’t have a scenario in which both are true. Why would one need to study UAP phenomena in an attempt to learn about their technological capabilities when you supposedly have one sitting in a hangar out in the desert? I know someone will say something about compartmentalisation and “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”. That may be true, but at some point the head knows what both hands are doing, and it makes no sense to study something from afar looking for ideas when you supposedly have actual hardware you can have a real look at, right Bob?

Personally, while I used to be of the opinion that “they” were in possession of crashed saucers and also knew the absolute big UFO picture in all aspects, I have came to the opinion that while the powers that be do know a great deal more than the general public, I do not think they know what they are ultimately dealing with here. I’m sure they are in possession of some really tantalising videos, but are yet to grab the UFO rabbit by its tail.

Phil said...

Wholeheartedly agree.

Blogger Joe said...

This is a really bad attempt at trying to convince folks, very much like the search for Bigfoot! What a joke