UFOs

UFOs, Network Television And Congressional Hearings

21 Oct , 2018  

UFOs, Network Television And Congressional Hearings

When I heard that Tom DeLonge and “To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences,” sold a show to “The History Channel,” I was excited. But a television series (I now believe History bought a series) or documentary on a cable network will not get us across the finish line when it comes to disclosure or confirmation about the reality of UFOs. If one of the major networks – NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox – buys a documentary or series, I’ll be encouraged but still skeptical that it would change anything. Why? Because it’s happened before. UFO documentaries have aired on network television and not much has changed. In order to thrust the needle forward, I think we need open, Congressional hearings. More on that later.

Network Television and UFOs

On February 17th, 1999, NBC aired a primetime, two-hour special entitled, “Confirmation: The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us.” Whitley Strieber, author of “Communion” and several other books related to the alien abduction experience, was one of the executive producers and also appeared in the show, interviewing people who claim to have had close-encounter experiences (abductions) with non-human beings. Alleged, alien implants are also addressed. The special was based on Strieber’s book with the same name, which is one of my favorites on the UFO subject.

At the time, I loved this show. I had only begun my obsession with UFOs a few years earlier so I thought this was a sign that things were progressing quickly and the entire world was about to realize that aliens (at the time, I was convinced they were aliens) are real and interacting with us! 🙂 Yeah, I was naive. Looking back, this special was too sensational. The sinister sounding music and deep, gravely voice of host Robert Davi, who seemed to appear out of nowhere in an eerily-lit forest, showed that NBC was more concerned about entertainment than education. And yet, there were some decent UFO cases examined throughout the show. Like the excellent, 1994 Trumbull County UFO case, featuring over a dozen police officers.

Chris Wallace, ABC and UFOs

In late 2000, ABC started advertising for “UFO 2000,” a webcast hosted by Chris Wallace, who is now with Fox News. While it could only be seen online, it was backed and produced by ABC News. None of the interviews Wallace conducted can be found online but here’s a post from the infamous UFO Updates list (which is now a Facebook group) from November 2000:

UFO 2000′ Coming To ABC Online

ABC’s Chris Wallace to explore UFO issue

ABC newsman Chris Wallace will be taking a look at the UFO  phenomena sometime in November via his online forum ‘Chris  Wallace’s Internet Expose’.

The website: http://www.internetexpose.com (website is defunct. ~Joe) lists the following description of the program entitled “UFO 2000, The Search Continues”:

“Coming in November: Chris gets to the bottom of the UFO phenomenon and investigates the COMETA Report, a document about UFOs recently released by top military and government officials in France. What he discovers may surprise you.”

For those unfamiliar with the COMETA Report, click here to see an excellent article by Leslie Kean as it appeared in The Boston Globe back in 2000. COMETA was another data point that I felt would push us across the finish line. It didn’t.

The website for the Wallace webisodes also featured chats about UFOs with various folks. The only one that remains online is this one with theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku.

Here’s another post from UFO Updates featuring more details on what the Webcast was about:

From: UFO UpDates – Toronto Source: Yahoo! Biz

Friday November 17, 5:03 pm Eastern Time

Press Release

ABCNEWS.com’s Chris Wallace’s Internet Expose: UFO2000 Presents Controversial New Information About The Existence Of UFOs

Meet the scientists and the skeptics when ABCNEWS.com presents the three-day Internet-only Webcast series, Chris Wallace’s Internet Expose

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 17, 2000– Around the globe, the argument about whether or not Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) exist has been disputed for decades.

The fourth installment of ABCNEWS.com’s monthly Webcast series, CHRIS WALLACE’S INTERNET EXPOSE: UFO2000, presents controversial, new information from top British and French officials, raising new possibilities about the existence of UFOs. This Internet-only Webcast premieres Monday, November 20, and rolls out over the following two days, with new parts each day through Wednesday, November 22. The entire presentation will be archived so users can view on demand.

CHRIS WALLACE’S INTERNET EXPOSE: UFO2000 will stream in three parts:

Day I – Nick Pope – “The Real Fox Mulder”

A recently released report from top French military and government officials suggests that the French government should begin taking questions surrounding UFOs seriously. The report says the best explanation for at least 5% of UFO sightings is “the extraterrestrial hypothesis.” Wallace interviews Nick Pope, an official with the British Ministry of Defense, known as “the real Fox Mulder” from The X-Files, for his investigations into the UFO phenomenon.

Day II – The Skeptic

We have all seen videos that show UFOs, but what is real? In this part, ABCNEWS.com will stream a highly controversial video filmed in 1997, in Mexico City. The video allegedly proves that UFOs exist. Wallace discusses this video, and other evidence presented by believers in UFOs, with Dr. Michael Shermer, head of the Organization of Skeptics, who shows how easy it is to create a phony UFO video.

Day III – The Scientist UFOs, science or science fiction? What are the actual scientific theories behind a UFO? Are there real life physics behind the phenomenon? How does it fly? How does it travel through time and space? Wallace interviews Dr. Michio Kaku, an internationally recognized authority in theoretical physics and the environment. Kaku is the author of nine books, the last two of which, Hyperspace and Visions, are international best sellers.

This interactive Webcast on ABCNEWS.com, part of The Walt Disney Internet Group (NYSE:DIG – news), is the fourth installment of a regularly scheduled series and is accompanied by QuickTime virtual reality application of a UFO, synchronous pushed graphics, interactive video and photos, video interviews with people on the street, timelines, message boards, photos, ballots, quizzes, and links to related sites. ABCNEWS.com users can chat with the Webcast’s guests on the following dates:

– Monday, November 20 at 2:00 PM, ET – Nick Pope, “The Real Fox Mulder”

– Tuesday, November 21 at 2:00 PM, ET – Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts. Cooper holds strong views on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence — claiming that there is a distinct possibility that we have already had contact.

– Wednesday, November 22, 2:00 PM, ET – Dr. Michio Kaku Pope’s quotes from the Webcast:

– “I am a firm believer that some UFOs are almost certainly extraterrestrial spacecraft.”

– “The one thing that we can say is that when we finally make open contact with extraterrestrials, whatever form that contact takes, the world is never going to be the same again.” Shermer’s quotes from the Webcast:

– “I am not willing to go with the extraterrestrial hypothesis until we actually have a spacecraft or an alien. I want to see the body.”

– “When people bring so called photographic evidence or video evidence, that’s no longer evidence, particularly in this age of Photoshop and computer video montages. Anybody could do this.”

Kaku’s quotes from the Webcast

– “We earthlings are too primitive right now to analyze what’s on the other side of a wormhole, but this could be a way by which you could leap across distant galaxies and perhaps even distort time itself.”

– “…if I was an alien from an advanced civilization I would say leave them [the Earth] alone for a few thousand years. Maybe play with them, but let’s not make contact with them.”

The Webcast was executive produced by Ira Rosen, executive producer for ABC News Magazine Webcasts; senior technical producer, Erik Olsen; video producer and editor, Brian Celentano; assistant producer, Chris Fennimore; and designer, Patricia O’Brian. Steve Jones is executive producer of ABCNEWS.com.

As encouraged as I was about these webisodes being hosted by a respected newsman and backed by ABC News, once again, nothing changed. The subject was still considered fringe.

Peter Jennings Takes On UFOs

On February 24th, 2005, ABC aired the two-hour, primetime special/documentary, “UFOs: Seeing Is Believing.” It was hosted by Peter Jennings, who was the sole anchor and senior editor of “ABC World News Tonight” from 1983 until his premature death from lung cancer in August of 2005. The show was produced by PJ (Peter Jennings) Productions for ABC News. During the the months and weeks leading up to the broadcast, I remember guests going on, “Coast To Coast AM” and getting excited over the fact that it was produced for ABC News and not being treated as entertainment. Those same guests heard it would be a serious look at the UFO phenomenon. They were right. And if you haven’t watched it, do it now.

The ABC News website posted an article, promoting the special. Here’s an excerpt:

On Feb. 24, “Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs — Seeing Is Believing” takes a fresh look at the UFO phenomenon. “As a journalist,” says Jennings, “I began this project with a healthy dose of skepticism and as open a mind as possible. After almost 150 interviews with scientists, investigators and with many of those who claim to have witnessed unidentified flying objects, there are important questions that have not been completely answered — and a great deal not fully explained.”

Although skeptics and debunkers were given some on screen time, I’d say that this documentary (along with the work of James Fox) is among the all-time best on the subject. And I expected it to make a big impact and help force Congressional hearings on the issue. Once again, I was naive and 100% wrong as nothing happened on that front. But I’m guessing it opened some minds and made people reassess their opinions on the phenomenon. Former Canadian Minister of Defense, Paul Helleyer, had this to say after watching it:

“I must admit…that I thought…why would former Air Force officers and former airline pilots and policeman and air traffic controllers, all say that they had seen UFOs if they hadn’t? I mean, what point would there have been in telling lies? And going on television and saying, ‘I saw it,’ if they didn’t see it?” ~Paul Helleyer

Is Congress Working Behind The Scenes On The UFO Mystery?

Fast forward to December of 2017 when the New York Times ran a paradigm-changing, front page article on the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (they studied UFOs) and Luis Elizondo, who was the director of the program from 2008 until his retirement in 2017. The subject exploded into the mainstream as every cable news show covered the story as well as a number of radio shows and too many newspapers to list here. For a comprehensive list of the media coverage, check out the amazing and important work of researcher, Giuliano Marinkovic.

Once again, I was hoping that Congressional hearings were on the horizon. And this time, there were signs that I might get my wish. UFOs and The Fringe were finally breaking up.

On April 25th, Tom DeLonge made these tantalizing comments in a post on Instagram:

And on July 18th, Luis Elizondo and Jan Harzan, executive director of MUFON, were George Knapp’s guests on Coast To Coast AM. Knapp asked Elizondo about the rumors going around about Congress and UFOs.

George Knapp: “Something else we keep hearing – and I’m sure many of you out there have heard – is that Congress is now showing interest in the UFO topic…that there have been hearings, witness testimony…things of that sort. What might be cooking there?

“Big story now. Rumblings. You see it on Facebook and various social media and chat groups, involving UFO people about Congress. There was a leak about a particular name that was leaked. An investigator who’s been asking questions about this topic. The likelhood that people have testified before…at least before staff members, possibly elected members of Congress. Lue, can you address the rumors really that are floating around about Congress? I mean I think it’s probably beyond the rumor stage. But some of what has been reported – that they’ve already approved a $500 million dollar budget – things of that sort – seem way out of whack. I guess, if there are elected members of Congress who’ve taken an interest in this, that’s a good thing. But at some stage, at an early stage, there are risks if it comes out that someone is working on it because there are opponents to this, who would like to stop it, I think.”

Luis Elizondo: “I can’t speak on behalf of Congress but I can tell you any member of Congress who’s courageous enough to take this up is a true American hero. And that is what we need. We need to give them the encouragement to look at this objectively. Look at it fairly. Look at it with a scientific mind. And make the determination that this is something we need to look at from a nation security perspective and from a humanity perspective. There are all sorts of applications. Now that I’m a civilian, I don’t have to look at this only through the lens of national security and is it a threat. Now I can look at it on other merits as well. As far as the rumors are concerned…I don’t usually pay attention to rumors but you know what they say, right? Usually there’s some grain of truth to rumors. If members of Congress are looking at this, I hope that we would give them some degree of privacy so they can look at this information without having any type of political pressure or something like that that’s coming from maybe some of their constituents. Because a lot of people are very emotional about this topic and rightfully so. But I would if those folks in Congress – if they are being briefed on this – that they get a chance to look at all the data. Not just bits and pieces of the data because there is a lot. And it’s not just with the Department of Defense. There’s other agencies and organizations that have information as well – that I’ve been privy to – and let them come to the conclusion themselves. I think once they see all the data and talk to all the people…and you know, folks like Dave Fravor, who are absolute heroes. Now those folks…those are true heroes. The Dave Fravors and the Jim Slaights of the world. And by the way, there’s a lot more but they haven’t come publicly forward so I want to protect their privacy. But those are the true heroes. These are the folks that are putting their credibility and their professions on the line to tell the American people what they saw. And I think that’s tremendous. And I think the members of Congress, if they are indeed receiving some of this information…if they get a chance to talk to them themselves…they will come to the same conclusion that my office came to. And I’m not sure there’s really any other conclusion you can come to.”

Knapp: “So, put you on the spot then. Can you say if you have been asked to testify? Have you appeared before any committee and given information?”

Elizondo: “I think that is a question that you would probably want to ask Congress. And the reason why I say that…out of respect for Congress…whether they have or have not…I wouldn’t want to say something that puts somebody else in the position, now they have to answer. It’s kind of like a kid with divorced parents, right? You don’t want to ask mom something knowing that dad may or may not agree. So, best to ask both at the same time.”

Knapp: “I got you. Well, you didn’t say no so we’ll just take it from there.”

And on the June 24th edition of Coast To Coast AM, also hosted by George Knapp, physicist Eric Davis added this:

“I can just say that Congress has been paying attention to this. but that’s as much as I’m allowed to say about it. Congress has been paying attention to this.” ~Eric Davis

In the early summer, on a private Facebook group that I belong to, there was buzz about Congressional hearings and a letter that had allegedly been sent to Kevin Day, an Air Intercept Controller who was on board the USS Princeton when the Tic Tac UFO events occurred. I was never able to see the letter and I forgot about it. But a few months later, I was searching for some information related to the Tic Tac case and found the letter, which was actually an email to Day. The text from this letter (and link) has been circulating online lately so I feel comfortable sharing it. I have no doubt it’s legit.

note: I removed the email aliases… though anyone with Facebook can find this post as of the time I am writing this


McConnell, Kirk (Armed Services) <___@___.gov>

To: ___@__.com

Jun 25 at 6:08 AM

Kevin: My name is Kirk McConnell. I work on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. We have been researching the 2004 Nimitz incidents, and have met with two of the F-18 pilots multiple times. We heard about you last week. It would be great if you could meet with our staff to tell your story. Are you anywhere close to DC or do you have any reason to travel to DC on other business? We don’t have a subscription to Coast-to-Coast – can you send me a transcript or the video of the interview? Have you otherwise published a full account of what happened from your vantage point in ’04?

Best, Kirk


This was posted today onto a Phenomenon-related Facebook group that I am a part of. Take it for what you will, but this is potentially “big if true.”

Happy Monday!

 

So, that’s extremely encouraging. Mind you, it was only at the Senate/Congressional staffer level when that email was written but it’s a start. And almost four months later, who else have they interviewed? I’m cautiously excited.

Kevin Day followed up with this post, found in the comments section of Keith Basterfield’s excellent blog:

And here’s more from the blog of Keith Basterfield that shows the interest of members of Congress. This is only an excerpt so I highly recommend you go to his blog and read the entire article where Basterfield also touches on the previous times (twice) Congressional hearings were held on the subject of UFOs.

On 12 April 2018, Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas of Politico, hosted a panel which included House of Representatives, Representative Ami Bera, and Representative Randy Hultgren, both members of the Space Subcommitte of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

The following is my transcription of a video recording of the panel.

Bryan Bender: “I thought I would get all of you to weigh in on something that’s a little bit out there, but we reported, as others did, late last year that the Pentagon for a number of years had run a UFO research office, that Senator Harry Reid got funded. Something he thought was important. Reports from military pilots of – they don’t call them UFOs anymore. I think the term is unexplained aerial phenomenon. But I am curious of your take. I mean, you hear these reports. We have been hearing them for decades. From many credible people. Other countries take it more seriously. They have dedicated researchers in government who in the open, not in secrecy, try to explain the unexplainable. Maybe all three of you. Should we be doing more? Or is this just crazy sci-fi stuff that is a waste of time?”

Representative Bera” “Certainly piqued my interest, and I mean, I think it piques a lot of the public’s interest. So yes, I got to talk to the Chairman of the subcommittee Brian Babin, as well as Lamar Smith, Chairman of the full committee. I said we ought to have a hearing on this. We ought to bring some folks in. Look, if we want to boost our C-SPAN ratings – a lot of people would be really interested, and since Lamar is retiring this year. This, this would be a great hearing to go out on.

On the media side, another encouraging sign that we’re getting closer to some action by Congress on this issue comes from an article in “Metro,” the most circulated newspaper in Britain with 1.5 million copies given away each week. H/T to Rich Hoffman of the Scientific Coalition for Ufology:

The case is now being looked at by the Senate Armed Services Committee on the one hand and the House Armed Services Committee on the other.

‘It’s now beyond dispute that the US Congress is taking an interest not just in the Pentagon’s AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) project, but in the UFO phenomenon more generally,’ explained Nick Pope, who used to head up the Ministry of Defence’s UFO investigations here in the UK.

‘I’ve said that if current Congressional interest evolves into formal hearings, I’d be happy to testify,’ Pope, who is now a journalist and speaks widely on aerial phenomenon, told Metro.co.uk.

‘I’ve already supplied Congressional staffers with some limited briefing material based on my experience of handling this issue for the MoD, and have supplied a number of documents, on the basis that the UK government has already declassified and released most of the files relating to my old MoD job.’

Continuing on the Congressional front…

Alejandro Rojas of Open Minds UFO Radio, interviewed Chase Kloetzke, Director of Investigations for MUFON, in late September. Kloetzke shared some exciting news. H/T to Paul Scott Anderson and Danny Silva:

Chase Kloetzke: “What I’ve done is really work this. MUFON has a great case…we’ve got this great package of evidence and today’s type of a threat. And I’ve been promised ten minutes…with a threat assessment subcommittee from intelligence. This is exactly who could start the process. So I have ten minutes to convince them to give me thirty minutes or an hour. And I’m pretty sure I could do this.

Alejandro Rojas: “We’ve learned, at least if you’ve been reading, especially some of the articles that Luis Elizondo has written lately…he’s kind of outlined why the group that you’re speaking to is the right group to talk to, That they’re the ones who are paying the most attention because…as we all know…it make sense. If we’ve got these incursions in our air space of these unknown aircraft, that needs to be a concern.

Chase Kloetzke: “And we have to be careful how we present to them because they don’t care about Roswell. They don’t care about Rendlesham. They don’t have any concern whatsoever to even waste thirty seconds on any of our past, great cases. And the reason is, that happened in the 80s. How does that turn into a threat today? That’s what they care about. What’s going on today. And this case that we’re working on…I’ll be able to walk in and actually present something, extremely recent, well documented…This case is going to be a door opener. I have no doubt. But presenting it well and presenting it with the science. They don’t wanna hear UFO. They don’t wanna hear aliens…motherships. They wanna hear…this unknown technology. What do you think this is? It’s most likely not the Russians because this is what our data shows. How could that come in and you know, what is this?

“And we have to follow the money. $22 million dollars. It didn’t go beyond me or past me that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had a meltdown over that money. Oh, that might be an in. See, this is how it works, right? So I see him have a fit. So you call his office and say, ‘Yeah, $22 million dollars. How come you guys didn’t know that? Shouldn’t you approve that?’ Well, if AATIP and that program is still around. ‘Well, how’s it funded now? How much money is going into that? And when you find out, can you let me know?’ You’re working on their interests. So something like that…that’s how you play it in DC. It’s a chess match and we’re finally getting some checks on that board.”

It’s not clear exactly who Kloetzke will be presenting to but researcher Keith Basterfield has an idea:

So, if Chase is presenting to the “threats assessments subcommittee” this is likely to be the US Congress’ Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities (or a staffer for this subcommittee.)

It should be noted that while the US Congress House of Representatives also has an Armed Services Committee, subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities it would appear that the Senate subcommittee of the same name, is in the lead at the moment.

I’d love to know more details about the case Kloetzke will be presenting. And hopefully, she’ll be able to impress these committee member quickly and they’ll want to hear more. Ten minutes isn’t a lot of time. And if anybody reading this does reach out to their representative about funding more UFO research, tell them you support it 100%.

I’ll leave you with this quote Luis Elizondo quote, from his keynote presentation at the 2018 MUFON Symposium on July 29th. The next several months can’t get here soon enough!

“I am confident and I am cautiously optimistic, that in the next year we’re gonna have a fundamentally different conversation than we’re having today. I think there’s gonna be additional fidelity to a lot of the things that have come out recently that are gonna help us have a better understanding of what it is we’re actually seeing here.” ~Luis Elizondo

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