Did TTSA's main UFO guy ever actually work on the AATIP program?

Did TTSA's main UFO guy ever actually work on the AATIP program?

In all of our coverage thus far of those wild UFO videos released by the Navy (they prefer “UAP” for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena but I’m old school), we’ve seen some amazing things, but have also been left with many questions. For one thing, the remarkable disclosures of perhaps literally “out of this world” stuff have been awfully slow in arriving. We have the three videos and some great interviews with the pilots and other military/government personnel involved in these encounters, but that’s about it. There are hints about “exotic metamaterials” being worked on, but nothing of a peer-reviewed nature has emerged.

Also, journalists have been digging into Tom DeLonge’s To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, the driving force behind most of this material. They’ve certainly generated a lot of excitement and supposedly have bigger reveals to come. I’m personally grateful that DeLonge and company were at least able to bring awareness to the existence of the AATIP program.

But with all that said, we keep running into these pesky questions about the accounts we’ve heard over the past two years. Many of them focus on the man who is probably the biggest name in the organization aside from DeLonge himself. That would be Luis Elizondo. He’s been repeatedly billed as the guy who ran AATIP (the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program started at the request of Harry Reid back in 2009). One of the first questions is what the actual name of the program is or was. It’s alternatively referred to as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification program. And at least at one point, the government was talking about the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) which may have turned into AATIP later or spawned it off as a separate effort.

But the bigger, looming question is about Elizondo himself. I’m certainly not the first person to bring this up and I’m riding on the backs of a lot of researchers who have done painstaking work on this. But here’s the big unknown. Elizondo is regularly introduced as the guy who ran the AATIP program for years. If anyone should know about the military’s efforts to figure out what’s been buzzing around in our skies, it’s him, right?

Right. Except there is virtually no evidence that he ever even worked on the program. One person to pick up on this curious story was Keith Kloor at The Intercept. He kept poking around and asking questions, but only ever found one reference to a confirmation of Elizondo being in AATIP. It came from a Politico story from December 2017 (right after the first Navy video was released and covered in the New York Times.) A Pentagon spokeswoman named Dana White was quoted as saying that “the program existed and was run by Elizondo.” But she left that job later on and another Pentagon spokesperson, Christopher Sherwood, told Kloor that he “could not confirm” White’s statement.

Enter John Greenewald, proprietor of The Black Vault (who we’ve tapped as a source here before). Greenewald has been relentless, launching a blizzard of FOIA requests to the government and the military trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. And it really is a mystery, because the more rocks he kicked over, the more strange inconsistencies came to light. If you want to go for a deep dive on the subject, peruse this two-year timeline of details regarding AATIP that John has assembled.

To be clear, there is no doubt that Elizondo worked for the government for a long time before he retired and joined TTSA. And he was in very deep, with one of the highest security clearances available. But where did he work and how, if at all, was it related to AATIP? Greenewald’s relentless digging finally turned up some documents showing that Elizondo was the director of the National Programs Special Management Staff (OUSD)(DoD) or NPSMS. What is NPSMS? We have almost no idea. It barely exists in public records, but you had to have an awfully high level of clearance to be aware of it. (The first rule of NPSMS Club is you don’t talk about NPSMS Club.)

But Greenewald did find a couple of important documents where both the agency and Elizondo show up. (I’ll include John’s video at the bottom explaining where this information came from.) One of them had to do with something very secretive concerning our old terrorist friend Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We don’t know what was going on with KSM, but there was some special program in place that dealt with him. And if you wanted to be approved to work on it, you had to go through Elizondo. He and his office controlled access to highly restricted SAP programs.

Elizondo’s name also shows up in Harry Reid’s first letter to the Deputy Secretary of Defense asking for the AATIP program to be established. At the very end, there are a few names listed, including Reid’s, and then a bunch of them that are redacted. But one name is not. It’s Elizondo’s. But that doesn’t mean that he was actually running or even involved in the AATIP program. More likely is the idea that anyone wanting to be involved in the highly secretive AATIP program would need to be cleared by Elizondo and the NPSMS first.

Here’s the kicker. John finally got current Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough to look into the question and respond. She is also quoted in a very recent Bloomberg Government article. And just to be on the safe side, I contacted her myself last night and she was nice enough to confirm it a third time. Here’s her statement:

Luis Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities in the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program and was not assigned or detailed to the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

When a group is making extraordinary claims such as the ones coming from TTSA, they really need to get everything right. The history of Luis Elizondo and his involvement in the program that involved those Navy videos and supposed recovered exotic metamaterials and all the rest is central to this story. They’ve repeatedly said that he ran the program. The Pentagon denies it. How do we square this?

I’ll toss out a couple of possibilities since all of this stuff is so classified we may never know. Take your pick of which you like best. One option is that he really did run AATIP but the information is so deep and so classified that even the government officials we’re asking either don’t know about it or still won’t talk about it. (But if that’s the case, why is he allowed to blab about it on the Discovery Channel?) Possibility two… he was really involved in a lot of black bag stuff and had access to all these people in the military (that part is clearly true), but he’s “polishing up his resume” a bit by adding in the part about running AATIP to make his experience more relevant to the UFO questions.

As I said, we still don’t know for sure. Anyway, here’s John’s video showing how he uncovered Elizondo’s paper trail, what little there is of it. I found it fascinating and it’s not that long.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on February 01, 2023