Military and intelligence agencies stonewalling Senate UFO report

Military and intelligence agencies stonewalling Senate UFO report

Last December we discussed a directive from the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) Task Force to produce a report on the military’s investigations into unknown vehicles (UFOs, obviously) intruding into restricted airspace. The order was included in the annual Intelligence Authorization Act and the effort was spearheaded by Senator Marco Rubio (R – Florida). The report was supposed to be delivered within 180 days of the signing of the IAA, putting the deadline at June 25, 2021.

Sadly, the chances of the UAP Task Force meeting that deadline are now looking quite unlikely, assuming they’re able to ever produce the report at all. As Politico is reporting this week, the Task Force is being effectively stonewalled by multiple military and intelligence agencies who are resisting requests for classified materials or, in some cases, flatly refusing to cooperate. And without that cooperation, assembling an actually useful report of the type the Senate requested could prove impossible.

The truth may be out there. But don’t expect the feds to share what they know anytime soon on the recent spate of UFO sightings.

Some military and spy agencies are blocking or simply ignoring the effort to catalog what they have on “unidentified aerial phenomenon,” according to multiple current and former government officials. And as a result, the Biden administration will likely delay a much-anticipated public report to Congress…

“Just getting access to the information, because of all the different security bureaucracies, that’s an ordeal in itself,” said Christopher Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official who lobbied for the disclosure provision and is continuing to advise policymakers on the issue.

While this is highly disappointing, I’m not going to act like I’m surprised. I expressed my concerns over this specific scenario back in December.

Just having Congress tell the Pentagon that they’d like a report in 180 days doesn’t mean anything will happen. The Pentagon can easily respond by basically saying that they’re not being given enough time to round up such a thorough examination and they’ll need to postpone it. And they can postpone things for a very long time indeed when their backs are against the wall.

This is a major reversal from the optimistic tone taken by former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe last week. He went on Fox News, saying that all sorts of information was on the verge of being declassified and the report would be on the way. He also said that he had been working to declassify much of this information and release it before leaving office in January, but they simply ran out of time. Does this mean that Ratcliffe was out of the loop or has there been a significant change in policy toward UAP secrecy since the Biden administration began?

Even more disappointing than a delay in the report is the possibility that there may never be a report at all. According to former Pentagon intelligence official Chris Mellon, the Air Force has flatly refused to turn over any records of UAP investigations to the Task Force. The report is also supposed to include detailed data from the FBI, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and DARPA, among others. All of these intelligence agencies and spy organizations have reportedly been either dragging their feet or ignoring the Task Force’s requests.

Politico attempted to ask the Air Force about their refusal to cooperate but ran into the same wall of silence that everyone investigating the government’s knowledge of UAP incursions hits. The Air Force declined to comment, referring them to the Pentagon. The Pentagon referred them to the only person allowed to comment on UAPs, spokeswoman Susan Gough. And she gave them a slightly modified version of the same boilerplate answer she’s been giving all of us since last summer.

“To protect our people, maintain operational security and safeguard intelligence methods, we do not publicly discuss the details of the UAP observations, the task force or investigations,” said Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough, who declined to address the criticism.

The part about “protecting our people” and safeguarding intelligence methods is a bit of a twist. She used to say, “To maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to our adversaries…” We already knew that they wouldn’t release any details to the press, but could they really be willing to tell the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine? Apparently, they think they can, or at least some of the key players involved in this issue do.

There is an obvious solution to this logjam, or at least there should be. The President of the United States is the final arbiter of what information is classified or can be declassified. It’s a duty that is generally relegated to military and intelligence officials further down the food chain, but POTUS can, with a simple stroke of the pen, lock up data by classifying it or declassify it. If Joe Biden were dragged into this debate and he went to each of the agencies and military branches and told them to give up the goods to the Task Force, they would have to comply. If that failed, each of those people, be they part of the military brass or the civilian intelligence agencies, serve at the pleasure of the President. Biden could just start firing them and replacing them with people who are more willing to follow orders and respect the chain of command.

Would Biden actually go that far? It would be an interesting test of his character and leadership. Biden has talked a good game about the need for government transparency in the past. It would be impressive indeed if he stepped up to the plate and not only made this report happen, but ordered it declassified so the public could find out what the heck is going on.

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John Sexton 10:00 PM on June 02, 2023