AAWSAP, George Knapp, James Lacatski, Skinwalker Ranch, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon

“Skinwalkers” Transcript: Oct. 25th – That UFO Podcast – Knapp & Kelleher: “Intermeshing Of Human Effects With The Nuts-And-Bolts Direction Was The Right” Decision

30 Nov , 2021  

“You have to follow the evidence where it leads. That’s what these guys did and no other program in history has done it. If it had been allowed to continue now and it was still underway, ten, eleven, twelve years later, my gosh, we might have figured this stuff out by now. But it wasn’t, it was killed..”

~George Knapp


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Andy McGrillen (AM): We’re going to go straight in with Mr. George Knapp and Dr. Colm Kelleher. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us on the podcast.

Colm Kelleher (CK): Good to be here.

George Knapp (GK): Good to see you again.

AM: Yeah, no, thank you very much, George, it’s good to have you back on anytime, of course, as well. And listen, congratulations, both of you and obviously, James Lacatski as well, on the wonderful book. I’ve got a copy of it right here. “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: Am Insiders’ Account of the Secret Government UFO Program.” Quite a title. It’s quite eye catching. It’s caused a huge amount of discussion. George, let me direct the first question to you. Why was now the right time to release this book?

GK: Well, we’ve been wanting to release it for a while. I think Colm and I started working on it with Jim about two and a half years ago and we certainly wanted it out a lot sooner. But there’s a DOPSR process, a review process by the Pentagon, that took fourteen months to complete. So, there was a lot of time in between that we were just sort of waiting around for them to get things on and get it done. It’s always a good time to have more information about these programs. I’ve been speaking in public for the last couple of years and even though I was not part of the program, I was allowed to know a little bit about what was going on in it. Not all of it, but a lot of it. And I would dribble bits and pieces out. In a sense, to deflect some of the bad information that’s been out there. There’s been a lot of confusion about what AATIP was, what AATIP wasn’t. Some speculation about AAWSAP. But, of course, most of the focus has been on AATIP, which was a much smaller effort than AAWSAP. AAWSAP is maybe the biggest UFO study, ever, given how many personnel were working on it [and] how much money they had to work on it.


From: https://www.8newsnow.com




GK: They could have always used more, it could have been bigger and accomplished more. That’s certainly true if it had been allowed to continue. But with the world now really interested in focusing on UFOs and UAPs, and related phenomenon, it seemed like a good time to go ahead and get it out as quickly as we could.

AM: You’ve prompted my next question, George. You’ve done this before. Now, there’s been some confusion over AAWSAP, AATIP and funding, which you’ve just addressed. Was there crossover between AATIP DoD and AAWSAP DIA, or was it a conscious decision to carry on AAWSAP in a much more focused manner, as AATIP, due to a drop in resources from a lack of funding?

GK: A lot of truth in what you said there. It’s kind of a mix and match and it’s probably better for Colm to answer that. I’ll give you some of that AAWSAP was the mother program. It’s the one that got the $22 million. That $22 million that was secured by Harry Reid and some of his colleagues in the Senate, went to this program. DIA initiated it, DIA oversaw it, the contract was awarded to BAASS. $22 million was given to BAASS over two plus years. And they hired more than fifty people, as many as seventy-five, I think, but Colm can address that. They did the work, they did the boots on the ground work, they built a gigantic database, they did that work. At the same time, there was sort of a parallel effort inside the Pentagon, a much smaller effort. From what we know, it did not have an office, it did not have a budget, although I think Lue has indicated they did have some funding from somewhere. And [AATIP] was a smaller, focused effort that looked at military encounters with UFOs [and] AAWSAP was looking at a much broader picture: UFOs and related phenomena that took the investigators into some very strange areas. There was interaction, on occasion, between those two groups and Colm can probably fill in that.

CK: Yeah, George, I think you’ve pretty well summarized it very well. The main thing that AAWSAP was focused on was, at the very, very start of this, we had a lot of, I suppose, intellectual firepower that came together in designing the AAWSAP program. People like Jacques Vallée, Hal Puthoff, Robert Bigelow, John Schuessler, and other people. And the decision was made very early on to include both the standard UFO investigation framework, which is the nuts and bolts sensor-driven framework, but also, secondly, and in parallel, the human effects, which is much more complicated, much more messy, much more expensive.

“[Lacatski] used Congressional interest from bipartisan Senate leadership and the assistance of two DIA Directors to obtain multiple years of funding directed to the DIA Directorate of Analysis, specifically DWO.”

~Excerpt from “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon


CK: And we were very, very lucky that Dr. Lacatski, at the Defense Intelligence Agency, also had a team with him who were also very willing to open the doors to beyond sensor-driven research. And sensor-driven research, obviously, is the nuts and bolts of the entire field of ufology. But the human effects…I mean, UFOs do effect humans. So, the AAWSAP people and the DIA people came together and agreed, at the very beginning of this program, to essentially run both in parallel.

So the design of the AAWSAP program, even the people we hired, and also the actual projects that were tasked out to people on a daily basis, not to mention the design of the architecture of the UFO data warehouse, as we call it, all of this was designed from that original cause, which was: We’re going to study both the nuts and bolts aspects of UFOs, as well as the human effects. Now, obviously, human effects go all the way from the initial sort of, what John Mack used to call ontological shock, the change in worldview, all the way through physiological effects, pathological effects, medical injury cases, psychological effects. And then, further on, as you get into deeply investigating the same group of eyewitnesses over time, they start spilling out these secrets that weird things are starting to happen in their surroundings. And that leads into, dreams are being affected, psychology is being affected. So, human effects is very complex, but also very necessary. So, the AAWSAP program, I believe, is pretty unique in the annals of U.S. government programs, in both focusing on the nuts and bolts, as well as the human effects.

AM: Colm, I’d love to follow up with that. What obstacles did you encounter from the U.S. government when AAWSAP was operational? And did the nickname AATIP keep you off the radar in some cases?

CK: The last part of your question, certainly that was the case, because within less than a year of the program running, it became obvious that we were [running a UFO program]. The program was actually running below the radar for quite some time, but it was decided, because of the amount of progress that was being made in certain areas, that Senator Reid decided to go ahead and pen a letter and begin the process of initiating a Special Access Program. In order to do that, he sent a letter, and for security purposes, he used a nickname. It wasn’t AAWSAP, it was AATIP. That’s the genesis of the AATIP moniker. So AATIP, later on, was used, as George mentioned, in a separate Pentagon program that was focused mostly on the threat analysis to what was going on both on east and west coasts of United States. But the AAWSAP attempt at Special Access Program designation ran into some bureaucratic hurdles, as we talked [about] in the book. But again, there was a distinction between AAWSAP and AATIP, even from that perspective. AATIP was a nickname that was used for AAWSAP in Senator Harry Reid’s letter to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

AM: Now, both of you, I’d like to mention that the experiences mentioned in the book sometimes are nothing short of harrowing. George when I interviewed you earlier in the year, you mentioned the hitchhiker effect was something that you had, potentially, experienced yourself, or at least had followed, potentially, part of the family, too. Given your knowledge of what others have experienced and have subsequently suffered medical effects, what goes through your mind in moments like you’ve talked about in the book?

GK: Well, we’re talking about the hitchhiker effect. And the NIDS team that had been on Skinwalker Ranch had experienced some of that during their first study. It became more harrowing, to use your word, during the AAWSAP study. Things would follow you home. In essence, what happens on the ranch, doesn’t stay on the ranch. And it’s hard to get your head around that, it’s harder still to believe that it’s true. But it is. I had, over the last couple of years before the book came out, had described some of those experiences, some of them, inartfully, I had described them, in public presentations. And I think people probably thought I was making it up or was completely exaggerating.


“You know, Mr. Bigelow has had some experiences that stem from Skinwalker Ranch, as have many people who have visited. It was an intelligence person assigned to a military outfit that was on the property, I think in 2010, who had an experience along with two other intelligence folks, and it followed them home. It followed all three of them home. It followed multiple people home. And it basically was an explosion of poltergeist trickster-type activity at their homes, thousands of miles away from the ranch. That phenomena was was dubbed hitchhikers. It sort of attaches itself to people who visit the property. Not everyone, but if you go there enough, it happens. It has happened to me. Now, I haven’t seen anything on the ranch. I haven’t seen anything at my house. But it spreads to loved ones. So my wife has experienced it. Bob Bigelow’s wife, who just passed away a couple months ago, experienced it multiple times. Colm Kelleher’s wife experienced it in the early days of NIDS. And these other people who were there during the BAASS era, same thing. It’s scary. And it messes with you. And so I think Bob wanted it off his plate both for business reasons and to protect his family. He just didn’t want to go there. Colm Kelleher probably won’t go there again. I’m not sure I want to go there again. Because it’s like you’re rolling dice.”

~George Knapp to Lee Spiegel – April 2020


GK: Now with book out, you can see that I wasn’t exaggerating. The people to whom this happened…I mean, it happens to a lot of folks who went onto the ranch property and no one could really explain why. The term hitchhiker, I think, was described by one of the intelligence operatives who visited the ranch during the AAWSAP study. And the stories that we’ve told are of these big, tough experienced battle-hardened agents and operatives, intelligence officers, who would visit the property, they’re ready to take on anything, they’re not afraid of what it is, and then they encounter very strange things. The one story that Colm puts in the book is about these three operatives who were on the property one night, walking through the middle homestead.


Homestead Two at Skinwalker Ranch – Photography by Chris Bartel


GK: And they run into, in effect, a cold front, this really chilly area where the temperature drops about twenty degrees, right in the middle homestead. They back off for a while, and then they walk forward again and through infrared, they see this gigantic oval of black. I mean, blacker than the sky, blacker than anything [that] could be seen, and they got a feeling of menace out of there. And in essence, they froze for a while. They backed off, they were frightened way out of proportion to what they should have been, given their experience and bravery in the first place, and then all three of them carried it home with them. They get home and this thing starts spreading, sort of like a virus, which is Colm’s specialty. But it goes from the people who were on the ranch, to their family, to their family’s friends…strange apparitions, crypto creatures, poltergeist-type activity. We’re not making this stuff up. It happened to a lot of the people who went on the ranch and it happened to me and also to Mr. Bigelow. And I don’t know if Colm wants to share his experiences or not. And again, I never saw anything on the ranch that I would consider to be anomalistic or paranormal or supernatural, but I tried. I went there are a couple of dozen times, and I would bring little things home. I’d bring bits of rock and wreckage from the homesteads and tried to engage with it, but I still never saw anything. My wife, however, did. And I don’t want to go into a lot of details, but it started with these blue orbs that were over our house, and then something that came into our bedroom, and it was a very harrowing experience. But we can’t exactly explain the mechanism of how that happens, or what it is that attaches to people, but it happens. Colm has some better stories than I do about it.

CK: (laughs) Well, I can certainly attest to going back all the way to 1996. We did, occasionally, when we first joined National Institute for Discovery Science in June of 1996. That was around the same time that Robert Bigelow had purchased the Skinwalker Ranch. And so we were deployed as scientific personnel to sort of co-locate with sensors up there, to see what we could see in terms of both validating the sensors and the sensors would validate us. But quickly, it became obvious, when I would come home after five days or a couple of weeks on the ranch, that some stuff would be noticeable in the house. My wife would describe some stuff in the house, but it never reached the same level of sort of what you guys have called harrowing experiences. My experience of it was was fairly low key. But as George also mentioned, every single military intelligence officer who was on that ranch brought something home with them, having experienced something on the property. So, normally my experience having spent maybe three-hundred plus days on Skinwalker Ranch, is that it’s the exception rather than the rule to experience anything. But, it was really noteworthy that all five of these military intelligence people from the Navy, from the Army, from different organizations, all five of them experienced stuff on the ranch. And secondly, all five of them brought a hitchhiker, or whatever that is, home. In that, three thousand miles away on the East Coast, their homes became the equivalent of a paranormal Disneyland. And where dark shadows were sort of appearing in their bedroom, orbs of various colors would be floating around the house, black cubes would suddenly appear, heavy footsteps would be heard on the stairs. People would rush out to see what was going on, and nobody was there. That became commonplace in the homes of all five people. And notably, it was the families who experienced it.

AM: Something that I struggle to get my head around, Colm, as with so much of this phenomenon being experienced in those ways you’re talking about – and you’re talking about intelligence officials seeing black portals, for lack of a better word, opening up – why is the U.S. government happy to give up control of such a place, to the point it’s now on TV on the History Channel under the ownership of Brandon Fugal?

CK: Well, to be honest, I think it would take a very hardened, sort of open minded person in the U.S .government to be able to talk and brief the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers and senators on what essentially was a litany of Halloween kind of weirdness. It would be a very difficult thing to do, to be taken seriously. So, I have a certain amount of sympathy with the softly, softly approach, which is, essentially, stick to the nuts and bolts part of this. And that’s exactly what the UAP Task Force has been sort of moving through the various Senate Intelligence Committees, etc., in order to establish a beachhead in the United States government. I have a lot of sympathy with that whole approach because we were very, very lucky at AAWSAP to be given the green light to essentially approach this from an umbrella perspective. That was very rare. I mean, if you go back in history, you look at Project Sign, Project Grudge, Project Blue Book, none of these programs really had the terms of reference that the AAWSAP program had, and none of them became quite as large or quite as all embracing as the AAWSAP program. So, in our opinion, the AAWSAP program is probably a unique template upon which maybe a future program could be structured. But as I said, one step at a time and I do have a lot of sympathy with that concept of one step at a time.

GK: Let me add, Andy, this is the brilliance of the AAWSAP approach. Is that they were gonna follow the evidence wherever it led, however weird it might seem. It was highly unlikely DIA would ever assign its own personnel, other than Jim Lacatski, to investigate something so weird. It would be cut off in a minute. That was part of the challenge for BAASS, is keeping this in a stovepipe so that the rest of the Pentagon didn’t find out exactly what they were [doing] because there would be hell to pay. People would say it’s ridiculous, even though they don’t know what the focus of the study was. In order to understand this mystery, you have to follow the evidence where it leads. And all previous UFO studies around the world would only look at, as Colm mentions, the nuts and bolts of UFOs. Do we have radar visuals? Do we have metamaterials from crashes? That kind of thing. Which is strange enough in itself to the general public. To suggest that a government-funded program should investigate poltergeist-type activity, the sighting of bipedal wolves…you couldn’t have a Senate hearing about that, they’d laugh you out of the Senate hearing room.

I asked Lue Elizondo in the spring of 2018, after I had released some details about the AAWSAP in some new stories – I asked him about AAWSAP – and I’ll dig up those clips and share them with you sometime – but can you solve this mystery by only looking at military encounters, radar sightings, things of that sort? And he said, “No.” But you have to do what is possible to do, and AATIP, in part, carried on the study in a very limited scope because that what was doable, that’s what they could get away with, that’s what the UAP Task Force, or whatever its successor is going to be, could do. No politician is going to fund poltergeist research or looking into werewolves, they would be willing to look at the national security implications of unknown craft entering our airspace. So, it was both the brilliance of AAWSAP, to be willing to follow the evidence where it leads, and also its biggest challenge.

AM: It’s almost seems like AAWSAP was ahead of its time and it should have been the follow-on investigation as opposed to taking the step back, almost, that AATIP became. George, you’re just released a brilliant interview with Jacques Vallee on the Trinity crash, and on the follow up conversation, Jacques mentioned how the third phase of what became AAWSAP would have been the implementation of artificial intelligence to truly analyze and make sense of the data that was gathered. Now Colm and George, how would AI have helped them or helped you and your investigations on the ranch?


By the beginning of the second year of operations, the AAWSAP BAASS Data Warehouse contained tens of thousands of sighting and investigative reports on UAP events, including the National Institute for Discovery Science database, a Pilot Database amassed from hundreds of separate military and civilian pilots, the USAF Project Sign/Grudge/Blue Book Database, the Project Colares Database, the Canadian Release Database, the United Kingdom Release Database, and other databases.

~Excerpt from “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon


CK: Well, the beauty of the AAWSAP data warehouse was…number one, it was modular, so there was eleven separate databases tucked under the general AAWSAP data warehouse. Some of those were actually the 1600 to 1700 cases that the National Institute for Discovery Science had discovered. That was one separate database that was part of the AAWSAP data warehouse. There were others in terms of the current boots on the ground, investigations that AAWSAP itself was discovering. There was another database that pertained to all of the events that had happened both on Skinwalker Ranch and in a ten-mile radius. So the way the AAWSAP data warehouse was designed was to to keep it extremely simple so that some kind of interrogatory layer could be easily layered on top of the actual data itself. And we have reason to believe that that’s actually what has happened, that somebody has taken that extra step of layering the interrogatory layer, which is the AI layer, on top of the data warehouse. Now, the interesting part of this is, as you know with any database, it is always garbage in, garbage out. So AAWSAP went to immense trouble to try to scrub every single case, that actually passed quality control, so to speak, and entered into these databases. We could do some of that more than others, in terms of the databases. But we had a system, and it was based on Jacques Vallee’s system, where we would assign a numerical index of credibility to every single case, and every single case was discussed in roundtable sessions, where there were arguments back and forth, where…this is a credible case, this is assigned this number, or not. So we were trying to eliminate the garbage in, garbage out, because once you layer an AI interrogatory layer on top of a data warehouse, it is completely automated and therefore, it is completely, by definition, garbage in, garbage out. So a database is only as strong as its weakest point.

GK: You have to wonder, Andy, where we would be, as a civilization, as a world, if that program had been allowed to continue. They made so much progress in a little over two years, in building the database, in trying to figure out what to make sense of, what was worth pursuing and what wasn’t and understanding the totality of the phenomena, not just things that fly around in the sky. You have to follow the evidence where it leads. That’s what these guys did and no other program in history has done it. If it had been allowed to continue now and it was still underway, ten, eleven, twelve years later, my gosh, we might have figured this stuff out by now. But it wasn’t, it was killed. I think we’re all collectively grateful that AATIP carried on and was able to study things in that particular venue of UFO nuts and bolts. But gosh, if AATIP and AAWSAP had been allowed to continue on corollary paths, we might be able to figure this stuff out by now. But that’s not what happened.

AM: Did you think, George, the best way forward for this investigation would be that it emerges again that we have whatever comes of these Senate bills going through, they start to look at places like Skinwalker Ranch again, or do you think that’s too far down the line?

GK: I think that that’s not going to happen, not in the current political environment. It’s great that we now have bipartisan agreement, so far, that this research should be allowed to continue, and that some kind of program is going to come out of this legislation that’s being considered now. That’s terrific. Politics is the art of the possible and that’s probably what’s possible. And since the New York Times story came out in December 2017, it’s politically viable for elected officials to come forward and say, “I support this kind of research.” But that’s for researching things in the sky that might be a threat to national security, or the aviation safety. It’s another matter for a politician to say, “I agree with spending money to investigate places like Skinwalker Ranch, with spooky stories of boogeyman, and werewolves.” They’d be crucified. So, I don’t see that it’s likely that whatever this new program is going to be, that it will be allowed to pursue that. It’s not politically viable. I guess we have to be happy with just the slice of the phenomena that they will be able to investigate. But if you’re ever going to figure this out, you got to look at the big picture. Ufologists, they have no restraints, political restraints, on what they can investigate. But ufologists, for years, they’re not comfortable with a story of a spaceship that’s landed on the ground and Bigfoot standing next to it. They hate that (Kelleher laughs). They discard those kind of stories. They don’t like having poltergeist activity at the homes of UFO witnesses. Nobody’s comfortable with that. The poltergeist people hate the ufologists, ufologists hate the Bigfoot people, and that whole situation is a mess. But the fact is, it happens, it’s always happened. Those kinds of things have always been associated with each other, whether anybody wants to admit it or not. You have to look at the big picture, and I think it’s unlikely that the big picture is ever going to be investigated in the way that AAWSAP did.

AM: Speaking of those various factions and how they interact or don’t interact with each other…the data warehouse that you’ve both mentioned is currently used by the U.S. government: Are other countries using this, too? For example, would the UK, who is our five-eyes partner, have access to the same data?

CK: Well, I would certainly hope that that is the case in the future, as things evolve. But as George is saying, we’re in a very politically fractious time, and I think that the UAP Task Force is doing a great job in moving things forward slowly. But I would see, hopefully in the future, that there would be some reaching out to different countries because different countries have a wealth of different information, AAWSAP actually began to tap into some of those different countries, what they have released publicly. We interacted with Brazil, we interacted with the UK, we got some of the MOD files that the UK had downloaded for the public. So all of that has…once you put everything into a single database, you have a global viewpoint, so I think the more sharing, the better.

AM: And George, do you have any colleagues across the pond here, from a journalist point of view, who have an interest in what’s going on?

GK: Well, everybody’s interested. I think they’re interested to different levels of interest. They want the quick score of a story that makes headlines in tabloids or in a paranormal sense, but I’m not sure that there’s anyone, journalistically, who’s digging in with the same depth and breadth into the topic as what AAWSAP did, or what Colm and I and Jim Lacatski have been doing since the book came out. No.

AM: We’ve got a few journalists, through UAP Media UK, who have tried to set up with various different stories or things they could go after, and they all tend to put the same content into our stories where the phrase “Alien Hunters” tends to come up regularly (Kelleher laughs). So it always ends up…I think you said the phrase earlier, Colm, garbage in, garbage out was the phrase so that’s what tends to happened here in the UK. I want to go back to something that you had mentioned earlier, though, and that was the biological studies. Is there DNA data in that data warehouse and are there any common markers that have been noticed between experiences?

CK: Well, that’s a very sort of…I’d say, in order to answer that question, we would definitely have to back up because the actual twenty-four to twenty-seven-month period that AAWSAP was in existence, it was a very compressed program in that we had to actually create the security infrastructure. We had to hire fifty people, multidisciplinary teams, including physician scientists and scientists. So, we also had to contract out analytical chemistry, elemental chemistry, organic chemistry labs for getting sample analysis done. We had to hire a whole bunch of retired law enforcement officers in order to be able to create the chain of custody of evidence that was collected at these scenes. So, some of the samples that were obtained, were things like hair samples that were found in unusual places, objects that were picked up at alleged UFO crash sites, etc, around the world. So I guess the short answer to your question is, “Yes, there were some DNA analysis done.” We did not find a smoking gun, and with the short amount of time that we had, the twenty-seven-month period that we had, we had all of the DNA labs contracted, and we did have some preliminary DNA analysis. But there’s no way I would stand behind that as saying that this was a smoking gun. But the key here was that we had the procedures in place, we had the templates in place, and we had the analytical labs, right across the spectrum, in place.

DM: Sure, no, that’s that’s fine. I was going to follow up and just ask about something that’s been mentioned recently by Luis Elizondo on his interview with Curt Jaimungal. He stated that there is evidence of occupants inside of craft. Do either of you have an idea of what sort of footage Luis Elizondo may be referring to? And have you seen a photograph or video deemed legitimate that would appear to show occupants inside of craft, whether that was part of Skinwalker Ranch and AAWSAP or not?

GK: I haven’t.

CK: I would refer that question to Lue Elizondo, but I have not seen the evidence that he’s seen. I have not conversed with him about it, either.

AM: Was there ever any footage obtained through the study over the twenty-four months that you would deem as being of high fidelity, high-quality footage that maybe we don’t see in official releases.

CK: I think if you combined both the AAWSAP and the AATIP operations, I think there was a synergism between all of what was happening with military pilots and what was happening on the carrier strike groups on both the east and west coasts. A lot of footage was obtained. There was some footage obtained during the AAWSAP program, but again, I would hesitate to call that smoking gun. I believe that the AAWSAP program should have run for five to ten years, at least. It was designed, actually, to expand beyond that first two years, however, because of congressional issues, because of politics, because of a whole variety of things, essentially coalesced to shut the program down. I would say AAWSAP did not discover a smoking gun but it did have a lot of very interesting, compelling data.

GK: I should remind you, Andy, Tic Tac, maybe the most significant case, the most significant UFO footage, given how it was used by the New York Times and others since it came out, that was AAWSAP, that wasn’t AATIP. That was pursued by AAWSAP. It came walking in the door in the form of a guy named Doug Kurth, who was the first employee hired by Colm Kelleher and I guess Colm could tell the story of how they found out about Tic Tac but Tic Tac came out of AAWSAP. AATIP ran with it later, but it was an AAWSAP baby. Colm, you could tell that story, maybe?

CK: Yeah, I mean…as I mentioned, we were going through this process of rapidly hiring a team, and one of the first things we needed to do was hire some really good program managers. So this colonel from the Marine Corps, walked in, a pilot, and within ten minutes of the interview, I knew I was going to hire this guy because he had all of the experience and he also had a really good demeanor. But at the end of the conversation, he essentially dropped a bombshell that he had been part of a carrier strike group off the coast of San Diego in 2004. And this interview happened in December, 2008, so it was four years after the actual event had happened. And he went through the whole process of…he had been targeted to this area, and that other F-18s had been targeted from the the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, and they had visual observations of this forty-six foot long Tic Tac-shaped object that was doing impossible maneuvers. But it was Colonel Kurth who actually told me about this case, and it was not as a prerequisite of hiring him. I had already hired him when he actually dropped this bombshell. So obviously, the first thing I did was get him to write up a summary of this Tic Tac case. He wrote up a summary, he even named a set of primary eyewitnesses, all of the pilots who had been involved in that. Many of the radar operators on the USS Princeton were also named. So, we got immediately in touch with Dr. Lacatski at Defense Intelligence Agency, relayed this conversation to him with the list of these primary observers, and then Jonathan Axelrod – we’re calling him Jonathan Axelrod in the book – took the bit in his mouth and essentially, by July of 2009, had conducted the full scope research, had interrogated all of the pilots, interviewed all of the pilots, all of the people on the USS Princeton, who had been involved in the Tic Tac case. And actually, probably by September of 2009, a full report of the Tic Tac incident had been submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency as one of about 105 different deliverables that were submitted to DIA. But sort of eight years before the New York Times got its hand on this story, Defense Intelligence Agency had a very thorough report of the Tic Tac incident.

GK: It’s a perfect example, Andy, of how AAWSAP, and what became AATIP, interacted in those days. AAWSAP was the official program, it had a group of people, call them confederates, they were not yet AATIP, but people inside the Pentagon and these agencies who were supportive of the AAWSAP effort. And when AAWSAP got the information, those people in the Pentagon went to work and produced a report that ended up with DIA and AAWSAP, and that was the example of how they worked, at the time. There were supportive people, they had authorization to be working on this stuff, but they kept it really quiet because they didn’t want to attract attention, even within the Pentagon, because attention meant trouble.

AM: We’ve had from various people like Lue Elizondo, Christopher Mellon, that there are those within the Pentagon who are supportive, like you say, and who remain anonymous. Do you think people like Axelrod, who, like you’ve said, it’s a pseudonym, will come forward in the future?

CK: I really…I don’t know. I mean, obviously, coming forward in the future carries a lot of baggage, so my guess is probably no. This guy is a very sort of…he’s a well credentialed person and I would doubt if he would have any motivation to come forward. Most of what he has done, or at least, I would say, over half of what he has done is in the book, but there are there is a lot of what he has done that’s not in the book. So I would say, I would doubt if he comes forward, but who knows.

AM: Can you speak to the possible relationship between cattle mutilations, and the food chain, if there was anything that was uncovered during your time?

CK: In 2004, I wrote a book called Brain Trust that had to do with the possibility that there was a lot of misdiagnosis going on between what then was termed mad cow disease, and obviously the UK had more than its own fair share of experience of mad cow disease, also known as CJD. That overlapped with diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Bottom line is that in the United States, at least, there was not a great motivator for doing a lot of testing by the USDA because the more you tested, the more cases you would find. So, there was a case…there was a situation in the United States where a private company offered to do a whole bunch of BSE, mad cow disease, prion testing for the United States government, and they were essentially shut down because the USDA did not want to open the testing to everybody. Bottom line is that, fifteen years later, here we are in 2021, we’ve got a massive epidemic of dementia, and there’s multiple aspects of dementia that include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal lobe dementia, all the way across through the various prion diseases. And it is very, very difficult to pin down, exactly, the origin of these. But given that the UK cases of variant CJD that occurred in the UK were basically the smoking gun for the hypothesis that what you eat, will affect what you manifest in terms of pathology, there is no doubt about that there is a relationship between the food chain and the the genesis of dementia.

GK: Just to put it in a different sense, Colm’s book concluded that it does appear that someone is monitoring the spread of these diseases through our food chain and what we see as evidence of that is mutilations. And the exotic possibility is that it may be more than one someone, that some human outfits or organizations are carving out cows, hiding under the umbrella of the weirdness surrounding cattle mutilations to begin with, but that someone else above that is also doing these things. and that’s where the origin of the phenomena [allegedly originates]: Testing for what’s in our food chain, and what might create really bigger problems down the road.

AM: George, are you aware of any experimentation on the ranch with remote viewing? And I would also ask Colm to follow up with that as well, if there was an experimentation with the same thing?

GK: Well, I don’t know if it was conducted, I don’t believe it was conducted actually on the ranch, but yeah, there was some remote viewing exercises that were directed at the ranch. The book tells the story of Joe McMoneagle, maybe the best known and most experienced remote viewer in the world, who was tasked with taking a look at the ranch. The diagrams that he drew during this exercise, not knowing what he was looking at, other than just some random coordinates, proved eerily accurate. To take a look at [the ranch].


From “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon


GK: And there were some other remote viewing exercises that we undertook when Colm and I were working on the first book, “Hunt for the Skinwalker.” We tasked a Nevada group of remote viewers to take a look at it. They came up with some pretty interesting ideas. There was a military presence, some sort of a surveillance operation by military personnel around the ranch, taking a look at what’s there. And that’s a door that remains open for me. I think that’s still possible, that’s a possible, true outcome. Colm probably has more details about the remote viewing. Other than McMoneagle, Colm, did anybody else take a look at the ranch for BAASS?

CK: The remote viewing program was part of the initial proposal that we made to the Defense Intelligence Agency, and at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency did tell us that they did not want a full-fledged program to go because it would be way too time consuming, way too expensive. But they did give us authorization to conduct pilot experiments, one of which was the Joe Mcmoneagle experiment on Skinwalker Ranch, which actually turned out to be very spectacular in terms of what he came up with. Over the years, there have been several initiatives that have been aimed at Skinwalker Ranch from the remote viewing perspective.

AM: Let’s get into listener questions to make the most of the last part of the show. And again, thank you both very much for your time. The first one comes from my own cohost, Dan. And Dan wants to know, has Colm been back to the ranch since Brandon Fugal took over and any strange experiences since he finished work with BAASS or AAWSAP.

CK: Short answer to that is, the last time I was on the ranch was that photograph that was taken, that’s in the book, of myself and George walking on the ranch, probably less than a week before Brandon Fugal took it over.


Knapp & Kelleher at Skinwalker Ranch – “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon


CK: So the answer to that is, “No.” And I’ve had a totally separate career since the AAWSAP program, so I’ve been immersed in aerospace, at a pretty intense level of detail. So I haven’t noticed any anomalous experiences, actually, since the end of that AAWSAP program.

AM: I’m sure you’re grateful for that as well.

CK: (laughs) Yeah, very much.

AM: George, this one’s for you from Barry. Could you confirm if the metamaterial known as the bar was found on the site? And what could you tell us about it?

GK: Yeah, this is back to the NIDS era. I think there were two of these strange, black metallic-looking objects that were found on the property. And I know there’s been a lot of speculation that they must be alien metamaterials, or something, maybe something left behind where the aliens had a shootout with security guards on the property. There is nothing to that. I believe the NIDS guys identified those bars as old batteries? Is that right, Colm?

CK: Yeah, they were 1950s-era batteries that were associated with some kind of photography way back in the day. They were pretty narrow diameter, black cylinders, and we located the actual battery that they went into. So, there was nothing mysterious, or, you know, there was nothing interesting about them.

GK: We wish it had been alien metamaterials, a little sample of unobtainium, but that’s not the case.

AM: I’ll tell Barry to get in touch with Duracell at Energizer to follow up on that one then (Knapp and Kelleher laugh). The next question is for both of you. How have your views on the phenomenon changed since your days investigating Skinwalker Ranch under AAWSAP?

GK: Well, I know mine have changed drastically. When I entered the UFO field in the late 80s, the prevailing paradigm at the time [was] these things that we’re seeing in the sky are craft from another world. These are ET visitors coming here to check us out, to take samples, to carve up some cows and that’s the explanation. And maybe that’s still part of the explanation. But after getting to know Colm and being allowed by Mr. Bigelow to be on the ranch, and to hear from witnesses, to investigate that stuff, it flipped everything upside down. We have to be open to the possibility that whatever is happening there might be extraterrestrial, but it’s not consistent with what we think we know about extraterrestrials around the world. This is something else. All this weird stuff, strange phenomena, seemingly unrelated…poltergeists, crypto creatures, crop circles, all that stuff, all happening in the same place, and Colm and I concluded in the first book that it sure seems like this is different versions of the same thing and it’s trying to tell us that reality is far different from what we thought it was. Reality isn’t the same anymore, that this is telling us that the Universe is a much more mystical, magical, complicated place than what we thought of, and that extraterrestrials visiting Earth, once in a while, just isn’t an explanation that works for all the strange stuff we are seeing at Skinwalker Ranch and around the world. So yeah, it’s directly challenged by my previous views. The idea that this is a an intelligence that is not from somewhere else, but it lives here, and it’s always been here, interacting with humanity since the beginning and maybe it was here before us.

CK: Yeah, my take on this for the BAASS program, the AAWSAP program was that I think the take home after all of the data was accumulated and analyzed was that the intermeshing of human effects with the nuts-and-bolts direction, was the right one to take. And I’ve become more and more convinced that the human effects part of the UFO phenomenon is what needs to be explored. Going back to Kenneth Arnold’s book that he wrote regarding his original June 1947 experience, and then listening to what his daughters said about Ken Arnold’s experience, the sort of nuts and bolts craft that he saw, the nine objects going down near the Cascade Mountains in Washington, I think in retrospect, Kenneth Arnold had a much more sophisticated, not nuts and bolts explanation of these craft. So, I would put myself in the same category. I came from sort of the initial [theory, that UFOs are] extraterrestrial, nuts and bolts [craft] here to do research, but right now, I have no idea what UFOs are. I have no idea. I have no idea what they are here to do. And the original scope of the DIA program was threat analysis. However, threat has two components. One is capability and the other is intent. We have gobs of data on the capability aspect, we know that they outclass all of our F-18s and our best technology and we’ve known that for 75 years, but we have no idea if there’s any intent or agenda. So therefore, we can’t make the statement that UAPs or UFOs are a threat.

AM: Thank you both for that answer. Dan has a question. If the claims of having hundreds of reports as true, then the DIA seemingly lied to Senator John McCain by only giving him the thirty-eight DIRDs. Are they willing to go on record with that statement or do you think they would correct this?

GK: I think at the time that DIA made those comments to the senator, they might not have known what they have. It’s not entirely clear that they’ve been able to find all this stuff. Someone knows where it is, but I’m not sure…I don’t want to go a step too far beyond what I should say. But I’m not sure that they know all that they have.

AM: Sure, I think that’s fair and that’s something I’ve mentioned on the podcast that sometimes people almost give factions of the government too much credit that they would know everything and have access to everything as well. So, mistakes can happen and maybe what they said, that was correct at the time, according to them. A couple more questions to finish off, gentleman. Karen has a question. She says, it seems that so much of what happens at Skinwalker Ranch is quite negative, deliberately frightening and harmful. Were there any positive experiences recorded by AAWSAP at the ranch, and that goes to either of you.

CK: Well, I know that everybody that has been on the ranch has remarked on what a beautiful place it is. So ninety-five plus percent of the time, it’s a it’s a pristine environment, it makes you feel good, it is beautiful. And I think all of the people that we knew from military intelligence said the same thing. Except for that two percent, which happens, that is not particularly pleasant. But I would say, in total, my experiences on Skinwalker Ranch were, in general, positive.


Skinwalker Ranch, Mesa Sunset – Photograph by Chris Bartel


GK: Mine, too. I mean, I’ve said it before in public that I always felt good there, not just reacting to the remarkable beauty of the place but something extra. Sort of energized. Remember, the first, second or third time I met the caretakers, who spent all those years on the property 24/7, they said the same thing. I think it was my second or third visit. I said, “God, I really feel good here .” I was afraid that it would seem like I’m going against the grain, given all the weird things that had happened on the property. But then they told me, they get the same thing. The old caretaker, who was an elderly man, was up at the crack of dawn and working until night and couldn’t get enough. He had the same feeling that it kind of energized him. The property seems to size you up. Different people have different reactions and people who come in with a negative, haughty attitude, who are trying to convince themselves that they’re not afraid, they’re going to take it on, they’re strapping guns…they seem to have often the most intense and negative experiences. In general, the ranch seems to be benign, or at least indifferent to people. But sometimes it singles people out, to give them a little show and to send something home with them. And it often is the people who are toughest and want to deny that there’s anything to it. Those are the people that get hurt the most.

AM: Sounds like a little bit of karma in some instances (Kelleher laughs) that comes into effect. Two more questions. You touched on this a little bit before but I’d like to get your opinions on it properly. This is from Charlie. He wants to know, do you think that the phenomenon experienced by the Navy, such as the Tic Tac. is related to the same phenomenon being experienced at Skinwalker Ranch.

CK: Well, I can tell you that the Tic Tac was a hard object, it was caught through multiple sensors, and so it was not a phantom, it was definitely a hard object. On Skinwalker Ranch, we reported in, “Hunt for the Skinwalker,” that the Gorman (Sherman) family had routine interactions with these so-called, nuts and bolts craft. I know that I personally had an encounter or saw what looked like a low-flying, jet fighter that came in over Skinwalker Ridge, did a perfect hairpin turn above me, completely silently. This was at night, but I could see the structure behind the light. And then it went north back over Skinwalker Ridge. That, to me, looked like an object. Jonathan Axelrod, when he was on the ranch, also took a photograph of what looked like a metallic, cylindrical object in the sky. And Brandon Fugal himself, the owner of Skinwalker Ranch, had a daylight sighting of a metallic object. So, I would say that there’s a central core of nuts and bolts craft that have been visually seen on the Skinwalker Ranch, but layered on top of that there is the paranormal Disneyland, there’s all of the different objects [that] seem to co-locate with paranormal phenomena, at the same time. So, if you go into any other so-called hotspot in the United States, for example, Dulce, New Mexico, or Yakima, Washington, Crestone, Colorado, or any of the places out east. Even Perm in Russia, they have the same sort of phenomenon. You’ve got these nuts and bolts objects that seem to colocate at the same time with unusual phenomena. And these are all those categories that I was talking about earlier, which we label human effects.

GK: I mean, you can make an obvious comparison, Tic Tac and the other craft that have been investigated by AATIP. Yeah, they’re similar to craft that have been seen over the ranch, but you don’t know if that’s a distraction or not. I developed the idea that maybe the UFOs are like tinsel on a Christmas tree or shiny objects to get our attention and distract us from the real big mystery. If AAWSAP had been allowed to continue, we might have some answers by now. But we don’t. We can guess, but we don’t know.

AM: Final question from Logan. Thank you both for your unbelievably hard and relentless work all these years. For both of you: What is the number one most important reason for getting the truth out? And that’s to George first?

GK: Well, I mean, we want to know our place in the Universe, we want to know our place on the food chain. What is this intelligence that’s been interacting with us throughout history? Does it affect human affairs on a macro scale? We can see on a micro scale where it zips around and scares the bejesus out of pilots and military facilities and nuclear plant managers and things of that. We know that it interacts with humans in very frightening ways, what we’d call abduction and missing time experiences. There have been significant physical effects, health effects, as documented in this book. I mean, it’s interacted with us for a long time, but at what level does it interact with us and how much does it shape human affairs on a global scale? Colm has had some interesting thoughts on this over the years, but there’s a suspicion that maybe, whatever is going on, it’s in their interest, not necessarily in our interest and they might be manipulating us in ways that we cannot imagine and they’re not good for us. So, I think it’s essential to our survival to figure this out.”

CK: Yeah, I think just from the very narrow perspective of the book, I think the main reason that we decided to move this book out into the public was that we’d had, between December 2017, when the New York Times article had reported on all of what AATIP was doing, and the subsequent four years, I mean, that really focused on somewhere between 2% and 5% of what AAWSAP was doing. So one of the reasons for getting the information in the book out was that we wanted to correct the record and show that also AAWSAP was probably the broadest scope, largest UFO program ever conducted by the United States government. And certainly, if you compare it against Project Sign, Grudge and Blue Book, that’s probably accurate. So the main motivation for doing that was to show people that AAWSAP was a very successful program, but it had massive scope.

AM: Thank you both for your time, very much.


In my opinion, “Skinwalkers at the Pentagon” is one of the most important UFO-related books in a very long time. It shows us the direction we need to head if we want to have any chance of understanding the phenomenon.

Alternative cover by Uplifting Tweets


© Joe Murgia and www.ufojoe.net, 2018-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Joe Murgia and www.ufojoe.net with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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