Pentagon deletes all emails of former AATIP director

Hang on to your hats because this is going to sound like something out of a Tom Clancy movie, but it’s absolutely real. If you’ve followed our coverage of the Pentagon’s secret UFO study program (AATIP) and the anticipated June 25th release to the Senate Select Intelligence and Armed Forces Committees from the UAP Task Force (unidentified aerial phenomena), you are already familiar with the name of Lue Elizondo. He ran AATIP for a number of years before retiring in 2017 and taking his fight for an end to government secrecy on the subject of UFOs to the public. That fight continues to this day.

All through this process, however, his history with the Pentagon has been shrouded in secrecy and conflicting stories that journalists have struggled to sort out. While officials no less high ranking than former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have vouched for Elizondo’s role as the director of the program and his extensive history working for our nation in counterintelligence, the Pentagon has appeared to try to discredit him. Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Gough (the only person in the entire DoD allowed to answer questions about AATIP, Elizondo or the UAP Task Force) has repeatedly stated that Lue had “no assigned responsibilities” related to AATIP or anything to do with UAP. One of the most dogged researchers of government documents via the FOIA process, John Greenewald jr. of The Black Vault, has been seeking answers ever since Elizondo’s name first popped up on the media’s radar. But answers were few and far between. This weekend we learned why and the reasons were shocking to even the most seasoned reporters covering the United States government and our military.

Greenewald had been submitting FOIA requests for years seeking some of Elizondo’s old emails from his time at the Pentagon, requesting any documents mentioning keywords, acronyms and phrases such as unidentified, AATIP, and AAWSAP (the program preceding AATIP), among many others. Each time the answer was the same. John didn’t receive heavily redacted documents lacking in interesting information as you might expect. He was told that there were no records responsive to his request. But this year he finally pried an answer from the Pentagon as to how there could be no such records. He wasn’t getting any of Elizondo’s emails because no such emails existed. They had been deleted. But as shocking as that sounds (and it is), there is much more to the story than that.

After thorough searches of the electronic records and files of OUSD (I&S), no records of the kind you described [Elizondo e-mails containing the word “unidentified”] could be identified. Please note that e-mails of former Department of Defense (DoD) employees are not retained unless they are considered historical records and retained by the National Records Center. There are currently no existing e-mail accounts for Mr. Elizondo. We believe that search methods were appropriate and could reasonably be expected to produce the requested records if they existed.”

Essentially saying the records were destroyed, The Black Vault reached out to clarify. The DoD has now confirmed nearly two months after they wrote the letter, that their final determination does equate to Elizondo’s emails being destroyed with no backup available. Beyond confirmation of that, they offer no official statement explaining or expanding on the situation.

What is unclear, is whether or not the deletion of these electronic records was authorized by protocol. To delete records such as these, set procedures followed by the agency called “record retention schedules” need to have certain prerequisites met in order to delete or destroy files.

Greenewald freely admits that he has not yet received answers to all of the questions that he feels the public deserves to know about and his investigation is ongoing. But at this point, one thing seems obvious. All of the email records of a man who spent his career working on some of the most sensitive programs and operations in the entire government (and I’m talking about a lot more than just that UFO program) were scrubbed by the Pentagon. As I said when I was admittedly ranting about this on social media this weekend, it’s as if we’re watching a really bad episode of the X-Files, except it’s playing out in real life right before our eyes.

I’ll just touch on a couple of other highlights here before encouraging you to get caught up on the rest of the details that John Greenewald has uncovered because there’s so much more to this story than just the lede saying that the records of an important historical figure have been destroyed. First of all, John determined pretty much conclusively that even if Lue Elizondo had been a department employee responsible for nothing more critical than tracking the maintenance of the copy machines at the Pentagon, his emails should have been kept for seven years before being destroyed. He retired four years ago.

As suggested above, email records from anyone that might be considered of “historic” significance should never be destroyed, but instead transferred to the National Records Center. I’m not going to give away too many spoilers here, but as Greenewald discovered, not only was Elizondo in charge of a secret UFO program, the office he worked out of dealt with matters as significant as the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the 9/11 mastermind. How in the world could Elizondo’s emails not be considered of historic significance? This is as close to a smoking gun in terms of a government coverup that I’ve ever heard of and much of this story is still flying under the MSM radar, though that seems to finally be changing. And does all of this have anything to do with the imminent Inspector General’s Office investigation of the DoD and what they’re doing in terms of UAP investigations?

I’ll just risk repeating myself and say that there is so much more to this story than I made room to touch on here. The inadvertent admissions John received from the Pentagon call into question when the email accounts were scrubbed, though it wasn’t done immediately after he retired. (So when did they do it?) Who, if anyone at the Pentagon, has been trying to sully Elizondo’s reputation? And is Susan Gough more than meets the eye instead of just a “Pentagon spokesperson” tasked with fielding questions from reporters? I highly encourage you to go read John Greenewald’s full article. Or, if you prefer something more visual (hat tip to Rocky Horror Picture Show), he published a very digestible video report of this information that I invite you to watch. A lot of this information is truly shocking and, at least on the surface, fairly damning for the Pentagon in terms of what they’ve been up to. And if that’s not enough, John will have Elizondo himself on this evening for a live interview to answer more of our questions. (Link to the show at this link.)

Before we get to the video report, I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say one more thing. If all of this turns out to be true (and it’s certainly looking like it from the government’s own confirmed records) somebody at the Pentagon needs to be going to jail. Of course, now I’m probably on a list somewhere that I wouldn’t want to be on, assuming I wasn’t already.

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