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Coast to Coast – July, 19 2020
George Knapp (GK): Two of the people most directly responsible for making all of this happen, are my guests in the first half tonight, Chris Mellon and Lue Elizondo. And since I only have Lue and Chris for one hour each, we’re going to get right to it.
Chris Mellon was my guest on this program, four years ago, actually four years and three weeks ago, to be exact. His first time on Coast, one of the first big interviews he did, which was before he joined up with his current colleagues at To the Stars Academy and of course, long before the History Channel had even thought of “Unidentified.” That’s a TV show documenting the efforts of TTSA to get to the bottom of this government investigation of UFOs, now known as UAPs.
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(In a recent episode of the TTSA Talks podcast. Luis Elizondo explained how Christopher Mellon made his way into AATIP. ~Joe)
Luis Elizondo: I remember being at the Pentagon and someone saying, “Hey, a former very senior level DoD official is here to talk to you.” And I remember you (Mellon) coming in and saying, “Hey listen. I would really would like to know (laughs) about this particular portfolio you guys are doing here called AATIP.” And first of all, I was astonished that you even knew that we were a part of this effort. We weren’t prepared to tell you anything. And, of course, I remember, very quickly, looking over my shoulder, kind of laughing at one of my guys there that’s with me. And I looked at you and I said, “Okay, well if you want a briefing, that’s fine, but you’re gonna need these tickets.” And it was long laundry list: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and so forth. And I remember you were diligently writing notes and you said, “Okay, no sweat.” And I know from the inside, it takes over a year, sometimes, to even get nominated for some of these tickets. So as you left, I kind a looked back and snickered to my colleagues and said, “We’ll never see him again, right? That problem is solved. We don’t have to worry about that!” And I’ll be damned if the very next week you came back to my office and they said, “Hey, he’s out here again.” And I said, “Well, what does he want? We can’t let him in unless he’s even got the tickets.” And I remember one of my guys saying, “Mr. Elizondo, he’s got the tickets.” And I could not believe that within a week’s time, you had somehow managed…and I verified and validated it. You did it! So, at that point, I realized, okay, this guy’s for real and he’s got the connections.
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Back to Coast to Coast…
GK: Man, have things changed since then, in just under four years. Mr. Mellon had a distinguished career as an intelligence expert. He worked for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, then inside the Pentagon, under two presidents. His insider’s knowledge of how the federal government works has been invaluable in helping to navigate a path that’s already changed the history of this entire subject. Chris Mellon joins me right after this. I’m George Knapp. This is Coast to Coast AM.
Welcome back. Chris Mellon spent twenty-years working inside the Pentagon. He rose to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for intelligence, which meant he got to poke around on all kinds of dark corners, places like Area 51 and look into all matter of secret projects and efforts underway at the Pentagon. He also spent years as minority staff director at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees a lot of those programs. He is on the advisory board for To the Stars Academy and is chairman of the Science Committee at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, among other things. And a very distinguished career. Chris, great to have you here. I know you’re not a night owl but thanks for staying up to join us.
Christopher Mellon (CM): George, it’s a pleasure to be with you.
GK: You know, I’ve talked about it before and you’ve had to deal with it now. The UFO people. The UAP people, I should say, out here in UFO world, complain about pretty much everything. You know, when is there going to be new videos released? When do we get to see the crashed saucers? Why is it taking so long? The pace of change in the last three years, to me, just seems absolutely astonishing. Your work in government, where progress is measured like tree rings or glaciers…are you surprised how fast things have turned around? And what do you say to the public folks grousing that it’s too slow?
CM: Well, thanks, George. I would say look at the history of this issue. Really, we were stuck in neutral from 1969, 1970, when Project Blue Book came to an end, and the present, in terms of any engagement by our federal government, or any comments. So things have really, suddenly taken a new turn, a turn for the better, clearly. A great deal of information has already been produced. And now we have a written request from the Senate Intelligence Committee, for our government to pull together all of the information it has from all of the different agencies and intelligence sources, intelligence disciplines, to produce an unclassified assessment for the committee for Congress and for the American people. So, there may be resistance to that, you know, it remains to be seen.
(The UAP Task Force (UAPTF) was officially created on August 4th by Deputy Defense Secretary, David Norquist. ~Joe)
But that, to my mind, and as you say, the pace of government is typically glacial. It’s very challenging to get things done in DC and in the executive branch as well. There are typically many, many, many people who can say no, and stop a project and only by achieving a tremendous amount of consensus, can you get something over the top and get something done. So I would ask people to please bear in mind that we’ve only been at this for a few years from TTSA. Things have changed directions in that relatively short period of time. Things are moving and please be patient. We’re trying to do whatever we can to get as much information out there.
GK: Well, it’s astonishing what’s happened. I mean, Senator Marco Rubio, who’s now chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, making public statements, giving interviews, answering questions about the subject and admitting, hey, these things are unidentified, they’re flying over our military bases, we need to find out. Not only that, I think he said to one interviewer, he said, he hopes they’re from somewhere else, because if it’s Russian or Chinese, it’s really bad for us. That’s amazing!
CM: You’re right, George, it is amazing. I hope people appreciate that and the public appreciate that. One of the reasons so little has happened for so many years is because members of Congress were afraid to touch this subject because of the stigma that surrounds it, and fear that they would be mocked by the public, by their constituents. And this was a case where national security was on the line. And we had Navy personnel, Navy pilots, who weren’t getting any support from the intelligence community, their reports were being ignored. They were very concerned. On “Unidentified” last season, our first season, I think we made history as far as I know. That was the first time that active-duty military personnel had ever been permitted to discuss UAP sightings publicly. And we presented that and if you saw the episodes, you may recall, one of them said, you know, “We’ve got to do something about this.”
And that was the perspective of all these young guys associated with those squadrons and that carrier battle group. And one can imagine flying out there and seeing these potential threats on your radar screen, in your area, moving in mysterious ways. And they’re totally unidentified. They’re not squawking, there’s no transponder. Nobody knows what their capabilities are. They seem to be very interested in your carrier. They seem to be interested in our planes, they kind of often appear after the guys are out there and all of a sudden, they’re up in the air behind them. And obviously, that’s uncomfortable, inappropriate (ETs have a long history of being inappropriate. 😀 ~Joe) And yet it continued for weeks and months and even years, without anyone taking action.
So, you know, that was one of the things that lit a fire under me and Lue, my colleague, Lue Elizondo, as well. And Congress didn’t know about it, of course, because no reports were being written or issued or disseminated. That includes, either within the executive branch, much less Congress. So they had no information to act on. But one of the reasons that I really applaud Senator Rubio and his colleague, Senator Warner, and I’m really, really impressed by the fact that they were willing to set aside this potential for criticism in the interest of national security.
CM: And they’re the first members of Congress to do so, as far as I know, in many decades. Gerald Ford, in his day, made an issue because of some incidents they were having in Michigan. And there were lots of witnesses and lots of concerns and the Air Force tried to blow it off, the famous, swamp gas explanation. And his constituents weren’t having any of it and he wasn’t going to settle for that, either.
But since then, it’s been kind of a desert, notwithstanding the fact that incidents continue to happen in many locations, including many sensitive locations. So, I really applaud these senators for not doing the easy thing, which is the risk-free thing, which is what bureaucrats most often do, which is nothing. The safe path would be to do nothing and they didn’t do that. They were willing to stick their necks out a little bit for our military personnel. And that’s unusual and I hope they’re getting support for that, rather than ridicule.
GK: I want to ask about your role in how things have unfolded. In the UFO world, where I live, most of the time, everything’s a conspiracy. So people are looking for connections between you and Lue and TTSA. and either the New York Times or members of Congress. So I saw an article by Alejandro Rojas who addressed it a little bit: “Did the History Channel’s ‘Unidentified,’ the TV series, influence Congress into looking at UFOs?” He asked that question. I don’t know if the TV show did it but TTSA certainly did manage to influence Congress by first going to the media. That story, you guys talked the New York Times into doing, changed everything. It changed the media environment, which meant other media could cover this, which got the attention of members of Congress. Harry Reid had blazed that trail a little bit by getting the funding for a then, secret program. So, could you address sort of the your role in in getting this on and whether or not it was coordinated somehow with members of Congress and the New York Times? I can’t imagine either of those institutions going along with this in order to promote the TV series.
CM: Well, there was certainly no advanced coordination or anything of that kind. I don’t think Lue will mind me commenting on this, but it became very clear when Lue was still in the Pentagon that this issue could not be adequately addressed from within the building and from within the system. And Lue, at that point, faced a very, very difficult choice whether to depart a career that he enjoyed, that was very gratifying, that also was safe and secure…had a lot of benefits. He had a great life with his family and his wife in the DC area. But he was also burning with frustration over the lack of support for our Navy fighter pilots and others and the bureaucracy and the impediments to getting anything done.
And I had had the experience in the past, many years ago, on several different occasions, both within the Pentagon and from Capitol Hill from the Senate Armed Services Committee side, to being involved in policy changes with DoD. Reforming the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the Goldwater-Nichols Act as it’s known, legislation that established U.S. Special Operations Command being another example. And the fact is, that it’s difficult to impossible many times to undertake new initiatives from within the department. More than a handful. The Secretary of Defense can come in and identify a few top priorities and get a lot of people on those, and he’s lucky if he gets a handful of things like that done. And lots of people have lots of ideas. Very few of them are translated into reality. And Lue and I knew that really, the only way we had a chance of changing the picture was to take the issue public and to the Hill and get them to engage the department and executive branch from that standpoint.
So we knew what had to be done. I’d been around Washington quite a while and we knew we had to raise public awareness, get the attention of people on the Hill, help them understand the truth. This is not manipulating anybody. This is letting the sunlight in, if you will. This is helping them to understand what our pilots are being confronted with. We felt if they could get the information, they’d be likely to act on it and do the right thing. And lo and behold, they did. But we had to begin to change the perception around this issue and educate people, help them understand that this is not people with tinfoil hats. There may be some of those people but there are also really, serious incidents happening that are extremely well-documented. Not only by military personnel who are highly reliable, but independently by sensor systems, the same systems that we would use to protect this country from, in some cases, nuclear attack by Russia or China. Things that we have purchased and developed and paid for to protect this nation from some of the most potentially severe threats we face.
So when you have information like that in hand, to not act on it, in our view, is just unacceptable. So, we felt confident that if we could get the information out in the public, treated in a serious way, and help the members of Congress to understand what was really going on, then some serious action might occur. And when it did, once we established there’s a national security issue and requirement, a legitimate one, then there’s the opportunity to bring to bear the most extensive and sophisticated sensor network on the planet, which is the U.S. intelligence community. And they have many capabilities which the public is not aware of and does not appreciate. And it’s often not even because of classification. I mean, even at the unclassified level, there are incredible things that the public just typically doesn’t have any knowledge of, because they don’t look into it, it doesn’t get any press.
But with that apparatus that extends from geospatial orbit at 22,500 miles above us, to the deepest parts of the ocean and many places in between on air and on land, when you get that system beginning to focus on this problem, then you have a real prospect of having some success and making some progress. When we started this at the beginning, one of my thoughts was, “Okay, if you really wanted to get to the bottom of this, what would be the best way to do that?” And I can’t think of a better way to do it, than getting our intelligence community and Defense Department to recognize this as a legitimate issue and then begin to use the resources they have to focus on the problem and try to understand it. So we had a plan, we knew what needed to be done and we followed that steadily. And it’s taken a few years, but it’s been very gratifying to see the progress and again, at the end of the day, in this case, it was the senators who made the decision and deserve the credit. They’re the ones who ultimately made this happen in this instance with this committee language. So a real round of applause for the members of the committee and their staff. The staff played a key role.
I worked on that committee for ten years, that has this language. So, I had the ability to get in touch with people, get some private audiences, explain that this wasn’t some National Enquirer-type issue, this was a serious issue. And then it was possible to get active duty and retired pilots in and the staff would meet with them and they started to realize there was something really to this. And then the process, got some traction and got us to where we are.
GK: We’re gonna go to a break in about a minute and a half. I remember, I looked up the bio that I had for you from 2016, when you appeared on this program when we chatted the first time. And at that time, it had said that you’d run into some information about a UFO incident that really got your attention while you were still working inside. When you came outside, you were willing to talk about it. And were you aware that AATIP existed while you were still in? Because you’ve said, when you came out, you didn’t see any evidence of a cover up? So would you say that your view has changed since then or were you kind of being vague on purpose so you didn’t give something away that you weren’t supposed to talk about?
CM: My views have changed considerably because I have a great deal more information now than I did then. And AATIP was established after I left the department, so I couldn’t have been aware of it when I was still serving in the Pentagon.
GK: Well, I’m trying to think of what year I remember it being set up it. Reid got legislation for AAWSAP in 2007 or got the funding for it then. Well, I tell you what, we’re going to be going to a break here, it’s too much to get into. I do want to come back Chris and ask you to share what you can about what happened on Capitol Hill when you started bringing witnesses forward, what they told the senators that really grabbed their attention as much as you can. And then get into the legislation of what it might mean. Talking with Chris Mellon of To the Stars Academy about UAP investigations and programs. [Break]
GK: Talking with Chris Mellon of To the Stars Academy about “Unidentified,” Season Two of “Unidentified” is now underway. I think the second episode aired this weekend on the History Channel and that episode is looking at these mystery triangles that have been seen for a number of years all around the world. Who’s flying them? Who do they belong to? And have any of them crashed anywhere? Have we recovered any of that material? And if so, where is it stashed? We’re going to get into that issue, and then return to talking about what might happen with the Senate Intelligence Committee bill, what it would mean for future revelations about UFOs/UAPs.
GK: Chris Mellon, I wanted to mention about “Unidentified.” Season Two is now underway. Season One is in the can but it reminded me about the content from Season One where it shows TTSA helping to escort witnesses up to Capitol Hill to tell them some stories, things of what they had seen. And I think it’s likely that you played a direct role in helping to coordinate that. Has it been difficult, or maybe, how difficult has it been to get these witnesses to come forward? I know Season Two, Lue Elizondo had told me that a lot of people saw it and were convinced that it was safe to come forward to talk to you guys, that they wouldn’t get jacked around or their story distorted. Can you discuss how difficult it’s been to get them to speak to you and then to Congress?
CM: Sure, and this is a good opportunity to tip my hat to the United States Navy. They were very responsive, open and helpful in facilitating briefings to interested members of Congress on different committees who became aware of this situation, aware of the videos and some of the public accounts in order to follow up on this. And they not only posed no obstacles, but they facilitated meetings and briefings. And so they deserve some credit for that. It was good to see that there wasn’t any effort to restrict the flow of information or that kind of thing. There’s still a tremendous tendency in the bureaucracy writ large to do exactly that, even on other less sensitive matters than this. And that’s still happening. One of the other services is still holding on tight and not being as cooperative as the Navy has been, or as forward leaning. But they did a great job.
So I think we were able to facilitate some of that, but it took on a life of its own once the members became aware of the facts and the staff. And I think what probably, you asked earlier, most influenced them, it wasn’t some jaw-dropping, top-secret thingamajigy. I mean, it could have been [as] I’m not in the room anymore when the senators are being briefed. But I think it was really the meeting firsthand with some of the pilots and hearing their experiences and being able to look them in the eye and ask questions about this. And when you see these really impressive aviators…some of whom…one of the F-18 aviators in one of these instances is also an aeronautical engineer.
From “Unidentified” – S1 E2:
Luis Elizondo: “Ryan Graves is an aerospace engineer when he’s not a pilot. So, when Ryan is telling you that there is something up there that he doesn’t know how it works and it is not one of our aircraft, you need to listen.”
CM: And when you’ve got people like that, who have no plausible motive to be making anything up like this, they’re taking risks by getting involved. And the fact that they’re willing to do that and take those risks, tells you how seriously they feel about it, and how concerned they are. And thankfully, when these individuals did have a chance to talk to members of Congress, on the Hill, the members took it on board and have taken some action to try to move things forward.
GK: You know, there’s so many conflicting stories from Pentagon spokespeople over the years on the subject, and even it continues to this day. Did AATIP ever study UFOs or UAPs, did Lue ever work for ’em, those kind of things. And they go back and forth. But the Navy has been pretty forthright. I mean, not only that they help in allowing witnesses to come forward and talk to Congress but they changed their policy or announced a change in policy to make it easier for their pilots to report. They don’t want anybody to worry what’s going to happen to their career if they see one of these things and tell somebody about it.
CM: You’re absolutely right. George and one of the reasons they should be applauded is because there’s so many parts of bureaucracy that don’t do that. And by and large, there’s a failure to recognize on the part of intelligence community officials how important it is not only to protect information that needs to be protected, but to get out information that is vital for the public to know about. And here’s a case where getting the information out is going to help establish the consensus you need to take action to find out what’s going on around these carrier battle groups and make headway and progress on that issue. And yet the reaction still on the part of many people in the bureaucracy is, “Oh, you know, we can’t do that, we can’t talk to the Hill. We can’t share information. We certainly couldn’t do anything at an unclassified level.” And the people that say that are not the more sophisticated members of the intelligence community or the more senior ones.
I used to remind the staff sometimes, the counterintelligence people I worked with that, we didn’t defeat the Soviet Union because we were better at protecting secrets. The Soviet Union was largely this massive black box, this sort of opaque, often impenetrable, you know, mystery inside a riddle wrapped in a secret. And they were generally quite good at protecting sensitive information. We didn’t have spies in their nuclear weapons program like they had in ours, for example. But, we prevailed. Why? In part because we’re better at moving and sharing information. So we make better decisions because our government and our people are better informed. And in the marketplace, people reacting to prices and all kinds of information, it moves very quickly, and helps provide efficiency and change on a rapid basis.
So I think it’s very positive what the Navy’s been doing. I hope some of the other players and actors in this arena will do that – which is a bit of an unnatural act for them – and also really be supportive.
GK: The Navy pilots are the best pilots in the world, best trained, best trained observers, highly credible individuals. They’re flying the best planes with the most advanced radar and we have an array of the best and most accurate sensors in the world. So all that information gets, or at least some of it, gets shown to Congress. The conclusion is, for example, those three videos that came out, these are unidentified. We don’t know what they are. Based on the best available evidence, we don’t know what they are, where they’re from, why they’re here. Unidentified. Not birds, not jets, not balloons. I mean, the idea that some people still float out there, amateur analysts online, who say these are clearly easily explained. That’s just not the case, right?
CM: (Laughs) No, they’re not. Absolutely not. No way. And while we’re on that point, I continue to see a lot of people putting forward the idea that, “Oh, well, it’s probably some secret Air Force program. And a special access program or something.” And people that say that, I think typically don’t understand how the system works, And no reason they should, necessarily, but they don’t. The Navy, first of all, would never come out with a public statement without checking first to make sure it wasn’t ours, regardless of service. And there’s an easy mechanism to do that. And, of course, that’s the first thing the Navy thought of: “Oh, maybe it’s DARPA or maybe it’s the Air Force or something. And there is a system that keeps track of all of these programs. And, of course, the first thing they did is turn to that system and turn with Air Force representatives, and received, at a classified level, I’m sure, absolute assurances that it was not anything belonging to any component of the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government, at least to the best of their knowledge.
So secondly, those programs are all paid for by Congress and reported to Congress. People generally don’t realize that. They think that the military is out creating all these these secret black programs and running around and, you know, nobody knows about it outside the Air Force or something. Even the most highly classified, waived Special Access Programs (SAPs), which are only shared with a limited handful of members of Congress…but they are shared. And so the committees wouldn’t be getting briefings on some American program, special access program, that was out there. They would know and the Navy would know. So I want to sort of address that because that’s a that’s a recurring, I think, misunderstanding that it’s somehow this might just be some Air Force secret program or something.
(As noted in my Mega-Blog, there are SAPs which those members of Congress and other officials with oversight, would not know about. I’m confident that Mellon is aware of that. ~Joe)
From my blog:
GK: So who is flying the mystery triangles for example, that “Unidentified” looked at it in Episode Two, Season Two? Who is it? Are you open to the possibility that it’s something exotic, meaning not from here?
CM: I think you have to be. I don’t know how you can avoid that, given the performance and characteristics of these vehicles. In my experience, to the best of my knowledge, we do not possess anything remotely capable of performing in the manner that these vehicles are evidently performing, according to multiple witnesses, all over the world and in many instances involve military sensors and military personnel. And we’ve been trying to present those and share those with the public and we’ve been, you know, bringing forward military individuals who are telling stories for the first time on “Unidentified” from Afghanistan, Vietnam, Kosovo. And I know this is still going on, I know that it’s been happening in the Middle East, over Syria and other places.
So, we would love to know…the exotic scenario that you spoke of…it turns out, if one looks at all of the different aspects of this, that the way these vehicles seem to perform, which is the incredible, instantaneous acceleration, the incredible speeds, the seeming obliviousness to altitude. The Tic Tac in the famous Nimitz case, for example, anything that we know of that we could have constructed, would have been ripped apart under the stress and the forces of acceleration that that vehicle endured. But, it turns out that, when you look, hmm, is it possible that someone could get here from a distant solar system? There is a theory now that is consistent with general relativity and one of the things that’s really curious and interesting about it is it explains all of those things. It’s almost a perfect match. There’s something called an Alcubierre Drive, named after the physicist who demonstrated this mathematically.
And it’s theoretically possible to modify space-time in the local vicinity of an object so those in the object, and the equipment or the people, whatever, they would not feel as though they were accelerating, they would not be experiencing acceleration. And there wouldn’t be friction, there wouldn’t be noise. All the things…very consistent with what is being observed. If we think about it more broadly, and what our chances are of identifying life out there, we have NASA spending $20 billion a year and they’re hoping to maybe find some microbes under the soil of Mars, hoping to maybe detect evidence of life in atmospheres of distant planets. They’ve now said that they’re going to start…they’ve approved looking for techno-signatures, signs of actually intelligent civilizations out there, artifacts that might be consistent with that. But meanwhile, we’ve got these things here in our own atmosphere that our own defense department says are real and nobody’s been looking at that, even though they appear to be consistent with what we might expect. Secondly, we have the the SETI program which is listening for signals out there but they face a lot of challenges. It’s a good experiment to perform but there’s a very limited range from which they can detect signals on a cosmic scale. The technologies that are used for communication out there might be entirely different from anything we use and not recognizable. If they employ any kind of encryption, security, spread spectrum, communications, that kind of thing, you wouldn’t detect any communications or see the signal. So there there are lots of reasons why their odds of success may be limited, not to mention the fact that some other civilization is broadcasting in the clear, it’s revealing its location and that might be a potentially dangerous thing to do.
GK: Let me ask you this, Chris. We have about two minutes left so I want to make sure. Your colleague, Dr. Hal Puthoff, on this program and then in a public presentation in June of 2018, here in Las Vegas, said that some materials are being analyzed, we don’t exactly know where they came from. The implication being from crashes or pieces from something that was struck by lightning. Are you aware of any kind of material that appears that it was made by somebody other than us? And if so, where it might be stashed?
CM: Well, a couple things on that. We have some materials at TTSA that are exotic at the first level of analysis and the claims behind one of these samples is that indeed it was from from a crashed vehicle. We don’t have a way of independently verifying those claims. We do have the opportunity, however, to conduct very deep technical analysis of this material. And so that is being done. It’s expensive and time consuming, so not a quick or easy thing to do. But it is very curious, this material. So what we’re looking for, ultimately, would be different ratios of isotopes, in known elements that are contained in the sample, because that would then imply that either somebody manipulated atoms at the atomic level with some very expensive, difficult and extraordinarily capable process. Or, the materials came from another solar system, were produced by the birth of a different star whose elements produce isotopic ratios in different levels in different amounts. So that’s one of the issues in terms of materials.
There are a lot of rumors, of course, about the U.S. government and what they may have. In that regard, there’s nothing I can say about that that anyone would believe or take seriously, regarding what the answer I provided (laughs).
GK: I’ll believe ya.
CM: (laughs) Well thank you for the invitation to destroy my meager reputation.
CM: But, you know, eventually we, you know, hopefully there’s a process beginning now to take hold that will bring information forward and lead to answers around all of these questions.
GK: All right, Chris Mellon. Thanks for joining us, I guess we should all be rooting for that intelligence bill to pass, as is, because it creates sort of a regular reporting mechanism where Congress could be informed, at least about the unclassified information that comes into the Pentagon. Thanks so much for joining us. Hope you can come back and talk to us again at an appropriate time and best of luck with Season Two of “Unidentified.”
CM: Always a pleasure, George, thank you so much.
GK: Thanks, Chris. We’ll be joined momentarily by Chris Mellon’s colleague, Lue Elizondo, former program director of AATIP, here to share with us insights on what’s going on
GK: We’ve got the man, the man of the hour, here, on the program right now. His name is Lue Elizondo. He’s a career intelligence officer for the U.S. military. He had worked for the Army, for the Director of National Intelligence, he was a program director for a lot of counterterrorism espionage programs all over the world, put his life on the line numerous times. He was also a program manager for a little outfit called AATIP: The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was studying UFOs, now called UAPs. Currently, he is the director of government services and programs for To the Stars Academy and the breakout TV star of History Channel’s “Unidentified” series, Season Two now underway. In a moment we jump into Lue Elizondo’s conversation, ask him about current events, up to the minute stuff. We’ll be right back.
Welcome back to the program, Lue Elizondo, thanks for being here.
Luis (Lue) Elizondo (LE): Hi, George. Thanks for having me.
GK: So I promised History Channel, we’d talk about the show “Unidentified,”
and I want to jump into that now. I imagine by now, you being the breakout star, you’re getting stopped in the grocery store, assuming you can go to the grocery store at all. And you’ve probably got groupies and fans, right?
LE: Oh, gosh, I think you’re far too kind, George. You know, when I first decided that myself and our colleagues at To the Stars, to do the show, we made an agreement internally that the show would be completely authentic, otherwise, none of us would do it. So a lot of people will come up and say, “Oh, I’d like to show,” which, of course, is very flattering because we’re really doing it for America, we’re not really doing it for us. But to say I’m a star, I’m not sure I’m a star necessarily, I uhh… (laughs).
GK: I’m messing with ya (laughs).
LE: I spend my life in the shadows and it’s definitely a bizarre sensation. But I’d have to politely disagree. I don’t think I’m quite a star.
GK: Well, let me ask you about this. I know in private conversations, you and I have had since Season One of “Unidentified” ended, you had said, “Boy, as soon as that was over, people started coming forward. Military witnesses, credible people from the Vietnam area through Afghanistan and every conflict in between, with these incredible stories.” Can you give me broad strokes of what kind of caliber of witnesses have come forward that we’re going to be seeing and hearing from?
LE: Yeah, George, it’s really the best of the best. These are individuals who have served their country honorably. These are individuals, who from last season, were all military. This season, we have military personnel, we also have intelligence officers, and some of them [are] still active, and law enforcement officers. We also have civilian pilots, which is something that when I was in AATIP, we really weren’t allowed to engage the civilian side, the civilian sector. And the one thing I came to learn very quickly is that a lot of the individuals who are now flying civilian aircraft for commercial airlines, etc., actually have a lot of military experience. It’s probably not a surprise to a lot of people. I think what I was surprised, was just the sheer volume. And you’re going to see this season, a whole host of individuals that have decided to bravely come out of the shadows, and have a conversation with the rest of America, despite the stigma, despite the taboo and despite the potential risks to their jobs and their security clearances.
GK: You know, when you stepped out of the shadows, you took a lot of crap and some of its continued to this day. I mean, the people in UAP world who say you’re making it up, you’re a disinfo. guy, there was no UFO program, or the Pentagon saying AATIP existed, but it didn’t find anything, it had nothing to do with UFOs and that you didn’t work for it. It’s an intelligence operation. You’ve heard it all. You know, we still get conflicting stories from the Pentagon, it’s like a soap opera. Could you bring me up to date on where things stand, what they have now acknowledged and where it’s still fuzzy?
LE: Yeah, sure. You know, honestly, in the last two and a half years, I think collectively, we’ve come a long way. But I can’t take credit for that and I don’t think any of us in To the Stars can take all of the credit for that. That credit has to be shared with everybody. When I say everybody, I mean everybody, to include folks like you who doggedly continue to push hard on the Pentagon whenever they they make a conflicting statement. And, of course, even now, the world of social media. You see a lot of folks getting engaged in the topic and putting a lot of pressure on our government, whereas a couple years ago, that wasn’t the case. But let’s do just a very quick rundown of, I think, some of the recent accomplishments over the last two and a half years on this topic.
First of all, the Pentagon said there was no UFO program, and they said AATIP stood for Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program. Of course, they finally were forced to correct the record that AATIP was Advanced Aerospace and it actually did study UFOs. Then they said, there’s nothing to see here, folks, there was no products that came out of result of that. Of course, you had a hand in getting a lot of those DIRDs released. And, of course, the videos that now the whole world has seen. And let’s let’s not forget here in today’s day and age of technology, anybody puts out a fake video, within about 24 hours, someone around the world has the tools and capability to prove it’s fake. That didn’t happen, yet. These videos not only are authentic and real, you had the Navy and the Department of Defense reversing their original position saying, “Actually, these are real videos. Those are our videos, and they actually do show UFOs.” That’s a big deal.
And then, of course, you have both admitting that what you see in the videos aren’t just grainy, fuzzy, unidentified aircraft, they actually say Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, not unidentified foreign vehicles, not unidentified foreign aircraft, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. So you fill in the blanks on that. We also now have Congress and the executive branch at the highest levels, being briefed on not just the work of AATIP, but now actually a continuation of the very program I was part of. And now you see it as referred to a UAP Task Force. So I think we’ve come a tremendously long way, in just two and a half years.
And you’re right. You know what? Change is hard for a lot of people, especially in the U.S. government. It’s a huge bureaucracy. Sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and it was a very nuanced program. Fortunately, I had Senator Reid, come out and correct the record. He did inform the world that yes, indeed, I was very much part of the program and I ran the program. Of course, you have other individuals who, on the Hill, who, I won’t mention who, but I’ve had to brief myself and they know I was part of the program. I still have my security clearance. Obviously, if this was a fake program, or I wasn’t part of this effort, I don’t think…it’d be ridiculous to think we’d be this far in just two and a half years. I mean, the bottom line, the program was real, the program is real, I was part of it. But that doesn’t mean a whole lot, because the success of the program depends on all the people inside of it. So I was just one person in a program that had some extremely talented individuals working there. And thank God, some of those individuals are now part of the new effort that is now being referred to as the UAP Task Force.
GK: I mean, in any other year, the existence of and confirmation from the Pentagon, through their spokesperson, that there is something called the UAP Task Force, that’s working very quietly, but diligently, that would be a blaring headline, but it seems like they kind of just mentioned it out the side of their mouth and it got buried in all the other UAP-related news. But that’s a pretty big development. Without violating any kind of confidentiality that you’re still under, what can you say about that that operation? Or is there anything you can say?
LE: Well, it’s a huge deal and also, in fairness, let’s not forget that this is a very pivotal moment for our country. We are at a strategic crossroads from multiple different challenges. We have a medical crisis that we’re dealing with, we have a social crisis right now. We have a financial crisis in the markets and a lot of political, one might call a crisis or political instability as well. So one of these issues is, it would be a headline for months and months and months, and yet America is forced to deal with all of these issues, all at once. So, am I disappointed that this topic hasn’t become placed at the top of the list, so to speak, and in all media outlets? Yeah, but I’m also not surprised, either because we’ve got a lot to chew on and certainly this is just one of many issues that we’re going to have to face in the near term and try to figure out.
GK: For this task force, is it better that they operate kind of quietly and in the shadows and do their work without a lot of intense scrutiny right now? Or does it help them to have all this other stuff churning outside the Pentagon?
LE: Well, I mean, obviously, whenever you have an intelligence activity, and let’s make no mistake, that’s exactly what this is. When you look at what organization this new task force falls under, this is clearly an intelligence effort. And that’s important because most intelligence efforts, you don’t want to broadcast to the world, all the specific details on how you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re talking with and whatnot. So I think people should recognize the fact that, as an intelligence organization, there’s going to be some information that’s not necessarily going to be made public. Now, with that said, it doesn’t mean the whole thing is just going to be squirreled away and locked in some closet, and no one’s ever gonna find out because that’s not the way it works.
We do have intelligence assessments that are very classified and that information gets, if you will, whittled down and then sources and methods are removed from that information and that data, and can be presented in an unclassified manner to the American people. And we do that all the time. These national level intelligence assessments that we read about, are oftentimes declassified and you will see portions of that document will be, if you will, censored, right? They’ll redacted it so it doesn’t compromise ongoing intelligence missions, and then you have a consumable product that the American people can look at. And I’m hopeful that will be the ultimate intent here.
Senator Marco Rubio just recently stated, for the record, I think he was asked actually, if there would be some sort of unclassified product that would be made public and I think that’s everyone’s hope. Ultimately, it’s gonna depend on the classification level of information that we’re dealing with. I know when I was in AATIP, a lot of it was very, very classified. But then again, as you can see, three videos got released and that started the conversation. So it can be done. It’s not impossible.
GK: Senator Rubio, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, makes a statement that I also thought deserved a lot more attention. He says, “You know, I sure hope it’s not Russian or Chinese. I’m hoping it’s from somewhere else. Because if the Russian and Chinese have this technology, I think the implication is, we’re in big trouble.
LE: Yeah, I think you’re right, George. If you ask me personally, do I hope this is Russian or Chinese technology? Hell no. That means we’ve been been hoodwinked for a really long time and that in itself is an indicator of a huge intelligent failure on our part. At the end of the day, we still don’t have a definitive answer but I tend to agree with Senator Rubio, I think he’s absolutely right. I would much rather this be some thing from somewhere else – and we’re finally at the point now, from a science and technology perspective, we can begin to understand, perhaps, what this is and some of the physics involved – than this being a seventy-year old mystery that somehow, one of our foreign adversaries was able to to accomplish, completely under the radar. I think we’re in big trouble if that’s the case.
GK: It’s not Russian or Chinese, is it? Can you say that? Are you? Would you say [you’re] about 95% sure it’s not theirs?
LE: Well, I’ve said for the record before, you know, I’m very careful not to talk about what I think because what I’ve learned in the world of intelligence, there’s a definitive difference between what someone might think and what they believe, and what they know. And what I don’t want to do is confuse what I think or what I believe with what I know. And so I’m very careful not to offer my opinions too much, but I will offer this: We know…it’s a 99.999 chance that it is not our own technology and we are pretty confident this is not some foreign adversarial technology. So, you tell me. It’s pretty clear that we’re dealing with something else.
Now, what that something else is, you know, people want to jump all of a sudden to conclusions that it’s aliens or it’s from outer space. There’s a whole range of possibilities. Once you understand the world of quantum physics, you realize…the universe in which we live in right now, we live in a three-dimensional world of space and time being a function of the fourth dimension. But quantum physics isn’t necessarily relegated to those same parameters. And once you realize that, that is a reality. You know, there’s there’s three fundamental physics models, we use: There’s classic Newtonian physics, of course, and then there’s Einstein’s theory of relativity and now we have quantum physics. And somehow all three of those, that seem to be completely opposite in terms of understanding how nature works, actually, are all correct. And so we have to reconcile that. So what are we dealing with? Are we dealing with something that’s from outer space or inner space or, frankly, the space in between which we’ve never been able to explore? You know, there’s a whole bunch of possibilities and so I’m very careful because…we just don’t have enough facts, yet to make any type of determination?
GK: Have you ever had a hint that there’s someone, somewhere in government, in defense contractors in some secret agency somewhere, who has the answers, who’s figured it out? You ever knock on a door and get it slammed in your face and “Don’t ask again” kind of a thing?
LE: George, I’m gonna share something with you, and frankly, the rest of America, I’ve never shared before. I’m not going to go into specifics. But not too long ago, I was brought up into a meeting on the Hill and some individuals, and I won’t say who I was speaking with, but, I sat in a room and there was an older gentleman sitting in the corner, and he didn’t introduce himself. And I certainly wasn’t gonna ask who he was because I was being invited by some individuals to have a conversation at the classified level. So, I answered their questions. And then the individual came up and he introduced himself to me and he said, “Look, I had your job.” And I said, “Oh, really? From what perspective?” Because I had a lot of jobs in the government [and] I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. He said, “No, I had your job, and I had your job with a particular service.” I’m not going to mention what service it was. And he said, “And I had your job back in the 80s.”
And that struck me. At that point, and he said it in front of other people, and those individuals somehow recognized or acknowledged and knew that…I mean, this guy was obviously very legitimate. He was having a classified discussion right now with myself and many other people and they knew who he was. I didn’t know who he was. So, that tells me that there is at least some
sense of legacy that this issue has percolated before and been on somebody’s radar at very high levels. Now, I don’t want to hypothesize any further than that because I don’t know. I wasn’t going to ask him any more details. I wasn’t there to ask him questions,, I was there for them to ask me questions. But it was very clear to me that AATIP was not the first of its kind effort. There was an organized effort back in the 80s to do exactly this as well. Now how far they got, I don’t know because what was told to me, verbatim, was, “We didn’t get as far as you guys.” Now, I don’t know necessarily what he meant by that. I don’t know if he meant from a personnel perspective or having political support, like we did with Harry Reid and Stevens and Inouye. Or if he meant from a budgetary perspective, or if he meant from a findings perspective, I really don’t know, George. But that was true. And there were witnesses to that meeting. So that tells me that there has been an interest by at least some folks in the government about this topic, at least going back to the 80s that I can say I know for a fact because I met somebody who apparently was doing it.
GK: I want to ask you about the stories on crash retrieval. Chris Mellon, I didn’t get to ask him earlier, but he published on social media, he passed along an article that talked about crash retrievals. Your colleague, Hal Puthoff, on this program two years ago and then in an event, two years ago, last month here in Las Vegas, talked about some materials that have been recovered, that are being analyzed, suggesting it might be from some crashed vehicle from an unknown origin. And I want to get into the idea of whether or not somebody could stash that away and keep it secret from the rest of the government, from the rest of the military, from people like you at AATIP. Whether that’s even possible and if it is possible, whether somebody might be out there as keepers of the secrets that no one basically knows about, not even you. We’re going to go to a break though in a moment and when we come back I want to get into that and then I want to get into an analysis of those three videos and whether or not there are more videos and whether or not we’re going to see them anymore. Talking with Lue Elizondo, former director of AATIP and a lot of other secretive programs for the U.S. government. Now with TTSA.
We’re talking with Lue Elizondo. And of course, the hot subject of the moment is crash retrievals. We’ve been hearing about this for weeks now, that the New York Times is working on a story, a follow up to the blockbuster report from December of 2017 that kind of kicked things into high gear on the UFO subject. They might be pursuing a possible crash retrieval information. I know of four people who have been contacted by reporters from the Times asking about this general subject. But whether or not they get that story printed, what it will eventually cover? None of us know for sure because we don’t work for the New York Times. But, my guest, Lue Elizondo, should have some insight into whether or not these crash retrieval reports that have been all the buzz, all the rage of late, have any substance behind them. We’re gonna get that and more, right after this on Coast to Coast AM.
Lue Elizondo, I imagine there are limits on what you can say about this, assuming you couldn’t say anything at all. But we’ve been hearing about this New York Times story in the works about crash retrievals, mystery metals, metamaterials, bits and pieces, maybe entire craft from somewhere else that are stashed, either deep in the bowels of a secret program or maybe in the hands of defense contractors, big aerospace companies. Can you shed any light on what you think of that general topic, whether you know of anything solid about it, and whether something like that could in fact be kept secret, in a silo in a stovepipe, in the Pentagon?
LE: Well, George, put it simply the answer is yes, it’s possible. But I also have to caveat saying it’s also very, very unlikely. The way that the Department of Defense works, you do have these silos set up. But at the top of all the silos, sits, basically, if you will, a clearing house. And that clearing house, in theory, has access to all the silos from an oversight perspective. In fact, my colleague and dear friend, Chris Mellon, was one of those individuals at the time, many years ago, where he was sitting on top of all those silos. And there’s also, of course, certain individuals, like myself, when I was in the Pentagon, I had a very unique position. I straddled both the Title 50 and Title 10 world, which means I was read on to many, many, many, many programs in the U.S. government. And the reason is because, we had to make sure we de-conflicted operations and activities with other elements in the U.S. government. And as you can imagine, if you are doing something super, super duper secret, and all of a sudden, someone else is doing something super duper secret, and you both wind up doing the same thing, at the same time. It could wind up being…the consequences could be disastrous. So you have to deconflict and there’s also rules in place for oversight and regulation of SAPs, Special Access Programs. But you also have CAPS, Controlled Access Programs, and you have ACCMs and there’s this whole tangled woods, if you will, of controlled programs in the government, most people have no idea even exist. So is it possible somebody could be clever? Well, yeah, because we hid AATIP for a really long time. There were very few people that even knew what we were doing, other than a select few. And if you see that original memo from 2009 from Senator Harry Reid, you’ll see just how small of a scope, the people who were read onto that program, were. It’s really just a handful. So it’s possible but because of where I was sitting, it’s also very unlikely because by necessity, I was read on to the vast majority of programs in order that I would be able to deconflict our operations accordingly.
So, you know, I guess I don’t want to be insincere or evasive by simply saying, you know, “I don’t know,” because it is possible, but it would also be at this point…I think whoever did that would have to really worry right now that they could be in jeopardy of going to jail because there are requirements, regulatory requirements, and oversight requirements. The inspector general IG, and OGC Office of General Counsel, specifically have jobs to make sure that people don’t run rogue operations and they don’t run operations, if you will, without somebody in the chain of command, being aware. So, I don’t know if that answers your question regarding that.
Now, as far as crash retrievals, as you mentioned them, and what the New York Times may or may not be doing, unfortunately, I cannot comment at this time about any potential article coming forward from the New York Times.
GK: Okay. All right. Let me ask you this: We’ve had multiple reports, I’ve reported on it, Dave Fravor has made public comments about these incidents off the East Coast. I think 2015 when two of the videos that you allowed to get released, since then, I don’t know if that’s when it started, or how long it continued, but there were 60 or 70 pilots, from what I had been told, who saw these beach balls with cubes inside, off the coast of Virginia and elsewhere, almost sitting out there where they knew fighter planes were flying every day, almost as if they were wanted to be seen. People have tried to explain that away. They’re just balloons. they’re some kind of a drone, they’re there temporarily. But there they were, unexplained, pilots have seen them, photographed them. What can you say about those incidents, if anything, whether or not they’re continuing and what those things were? Were they too, unidentified?
LE: George, they’re absolutely continuing. I think when people watch this season of “Unidentified,” they’re going to see that these aren’t isolated incidents. These are occurring as of several weeks ago (laughs). This is still ongoing now! So, I think when we look at this anecdotally, we say, “Well, you have the Nimitz, and the Roosevelt incidents, you know, one in 2004, one in 2014-2015 timeframe.” What people don’t realize, those are just very small samples, at the unclassified level, of many events that are occurring and continue to occur to this day. Unfortunately, because I am not officially involved with AATIP anymore, I am not privy to some of the specifics of those incidents. But I am aware that they are occurring. That’s a fact! And I think people are going to be stunned, they’re going to be shocked when they realize how frequent these things are occurring. And I think maybe that’s why Congress is finally taking this seriously because they realize this isn’t, “Hey, I just saw some balloons ten years ago or five years ago, off the coast of San Diego or Virginia.” These things are occurring now, by our pilots, our brave men and women in uniform, who are flying over controlled airspace. These incursions are still occurring today. So, I think that is why you see the sense of urgency now. Let’s not forget the United States President has now been briefed on this. You have an active, sitting president admitting to the world, recently, just weeks ago, that he has been briefed on this and it’s a very interesting topic.
You know, if that doesn’t resonate with anybody in the audience, then I can’t help you. I don’t know what to say, because you now have the the senior most elected official in our country, and one of the most powerful men in the world to include now the Congress, the Senate, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also being briefed, and all of them are now saying, “Hey, you know what, this isn’t a joke. This is real. We need to figure out what the hell this is.” Anyways, that’s my perspective.
GK: On the subject of videos, you’re the guy. You’ve made it possible, you set it into motion for the release of the three videos where the world now knows, Go Fast and Gimbal and Tic Tac. And you hinted to me or intimated, the first time we had a conversation, that there were others in the pipeline. Whether or not they’re going to be released, I kind of doubt it now that you’re not there. But maybe. We can you say about the release of the videos and the Pentagon’s flip flops on whether or not they were released officially by the book? The recent re-release, that’s the double, secret probation, official release (both laugh), unlike the other ones, the first time it came out.
LE: Well, the beauty about the truth, George, is that, time is always on your side. The truth always comes out, eventually. And I think the Department of Defense is now recognizing that obfuscation is not helpful anymore at this point. Too many people have been briefed on it, too many people know the facts and the reality of what’s going on. So I think that’s why you see them kind of going silent right now. They were put in a corner where they had to basically acknowledge either the reality of these or get sued out of their minds. So they probably said, “You know, we better probably do the right thing here and just acknowledge it.” And they did that and I think that that’s a great step forward.
You know, the Navy has always been about five or six steps ahead of the greater OSD. I don’t know why but the Navy is much more proactive regarding this topic and I commend them for it. I think the Navy is going to be remembered as extremely courageous, and proactive and I think, you know, they should be commended for it. That’s exactly the type of posture we need to take, they’re taking it seriously. And I think to some degree, they probably force greater DoD to take this seriously as well.
Now, as far as the videos being released? Let’s be fair here. I didn’t actually release the videos. My office had a part in facilitating and requesting that process, but at the end of the day, it was DoD who agreed to release them, thankfully. Now, as far as other videos? Unfortunately, I’m unable to discuss that. What I don’t want to do, inadvertently, is say anything or do anything that jeopardizes any ongoing efforts by the current task force. I respect them and what they’re doing, just like when I was in AATIP, I wouldn’t want anybody doing anything outside disruptive that could compromise my mission. So, our hope here is that we can give this new effort enough, if you will, breadth and depth that they can maneuver and do what’s necessary, and hopefully continue to inform decision makers. And then hopefully, as a result of that, then more videos and more evidence can be provided to the American people. Ultimately, I think, that’s one of the end goals, right? So everybody can sit down and have a conversation and say, “Okay, yeah, you’re right. That’s pretty compelling. Let’s, have a conversation on what this means to us as a country.”
GK: The three videos that did come out, you did start that process, they were made public. They were very important to the New York Times story ever seeing print. I imagine they’re pretty persuasive to members of Congress who’ve seen them and hopefully members of Congress have seen other ones that we can’t talk about. The three videos that are out? There are still elements out in the UFO/UAP public who say, “Oh yeah, those are explained. They’re not unidentified, they’re easily identified. Gimbal is rotating glare. Tic Tac is a distant plane. Go Fast is just a slow moving balloon.” You can respond to each one of them if you want, but the general idea..
LE: Yeah. I mean, George, if that’s the case, then you need to fire the entire department of defense and the intelligence community, because they came out for the record and they said they remained unidentified. Keep in mind that we we spend billions of dollars each year developing technology that determines what something is. When you’re flying in an airplane, it’s not just the camera. You’ve got radar, you’ve got other other sensor equipment – that probably I really can’t go into a lot of detail – that tells you exactly what you’re looking at. In some cases, you know, what airbase it took off from? So they’ll say, “Oh, well that’s IR glare or a seagull” or whatever nonsense that they want to put out. Then that person should be, in my opinion, probably the new Secretary of Defense because the entire department of defense with all its resources and analytic capabilities and oh, by the way, the intelligence community on top of that, they couldn’t figure it out. And this is the same organization that we are paying to identify, should North Korea launch an ICBM against Los Angeles, and the same type of organization that we are entrusting to protect our national borders and to protect our citizens in our country during the Global War on Terror.
So, if you think that, you know, we have the ability to – forgive me here, but I get a little passionate about this – I mean, we have the ability to track somebody and surveil somebody for months and months and months, and then conduct a lethal strike, as you saw here recently with with an individual in Iran. He was a senior general and obviously we took him out. I think, if we have that capability and we can’t even identify a fuzzy glare on a gun camera,
we’ve got huge problems. So I think people who say that, are talking out of ignorance, they don’t realize the resources and the assets we have available to us to make a determination. Let’s not forget, the last thing I want to do when I’m in AATIP is go to a guy who’s named Mad Dog Mattis and tell them, “Hey, sir, there’s this fuzzy glare thing on the camera, we don’t know what it is.” I mean, he’d kick you out of the office, right? Your job is to figure it out, you know? Don’t come in there with problems, come in with solutions. You’re getting paid to tell him what that is, not the other way around. So
that would be my perspective anyways.
GK: Also, the last thing you’d want to do is go into Mad Dog Mattis and tell him, “By the way, this is unidentified,” and he goes to somebody else and they say, “Oh, that’s a bird or a balloon.”
LE: Right, exactly. So, what people don’t know is that, you know, people know him as Mad Dog Mattis but had another call sign inside of the circles of the Pentagon and military, we used to call him “Chaos.” And you know, you don’t get those names for no reason. So the last thing you want to do is right, go in there with a definitive answer saying this is a bird, or this is not a bird. And then some analysts in the back row, you know, the peanut gallery stands up and says, “Actually, sir, it’s this.” You want consensus, you want everybody to agree, so you make sure everybody gets a chance to look at it. And everybody gets a chance to apply all their skills and tools and resources to try to figure out what something is.
GK: We broke a story a while back, two years ago ,about that Harry Reid letter that you mentioned, which had a small list of recipients in which he was asking to turn AATIP or AAWSAP, the successor to AAWSAP, into a special access program. Senator Reid had explained the reason that he wanted to do it, at least one reason, So he could…that program could gain access to other information and materials in other SAPs. It sort of hints that maybe there are other outfits that have been studying this as well. Do you? Is there another interpretation of what Senator Reid was saying to us?
LE: Well, I mean, I can’t speak for the good senator, but I suspect he may have been privy to something that I only became aware of when I was in that meeting, earlier in the hour, I was discussing with you. I suspect he already knew that. Being the senior guy on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence, he’s gonna have access to be privy to a lot of that information. So what I learned by some person being introduced to me as being, you know, if you will, the AATIP Director 1.0., back in the 80s, I suspect that maybe Senator Reid had that knowledge already. Again, I can’t speak for him. I want to be very careful and very clear that I don’t know his full intentions. I think it was a good idea. I think he was right on the money for trying to do that. I suspect that he probably had really good reasons for trying to gain access to legacy information because that’s what you should do. If you are starting a program or a project, you know, why reinvent the wheel? If somebody has already done some of that legwork for you, you want to get as much of that information as possible.
GK: I think we got about forty seconds left. Let me ask you this: Does the possibility occur to you that maybe this problem is unsolvable, that even after all the stovepipes are torn down, after all the information is collected, you put it all together and it’s still unidentified, you still don’t know where it came from, who’s flying them, what their intentions are?
LE: That is certainly a possibility and it’s an uncomfortable thing to think about, George. But I tend to be a little bit more optimistic, I have a little bit more faith in mankind. I think if we apply our resources and our talent appropriately, there’s very little we can’t accomplish. We can put a person on the moon in ten years at a time where our technology was, you know, we were just coming into the jet age and and ten years later, we’re putting people on the Moon. I give a little bit more credit to humanity. I think we should have the conversation and we should continue to pursue the data and let the data speak for itself. And finally let America make up its own mind. We should not be determining what America should or should not know. That’s up for Americans to decide, not governments.
GK: Lue Elizondo, great to talk to you. Best of luck with Season Two of “Unidentified” and hope you can come back and join us again real soon.
LE: Yes, sir. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
GK: Thanks very much.