Is It Too Late for Disclosure?

The Internet and the UFO community in particular are abuzz with the news that the Senate has given a requirement for the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to submit a report on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) within 180 days of enactment of the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding bill signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020.

Is there such a countdown? There is indeed a section in the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2021 Report (June 17, 2021) from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee asking for such a report. The text of the relevant section of that report follows:

What will this mean for the UFO phenomenon? Will it finally result in Disclosure? And will it matter? The report’s requests are non-binding, so nothing of significance may come of this after all. Furthermore, the much-sought-for information may only be included in the classified annex a.nd not be released to the public.

Advanced Aerial Threats    

The Committee supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations. However, the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat. The Committee understands that the relevant intelligence may be sensitive; nevertheless, the Committee* finds that the information sharing and coordination across the Intelligence Community has been inconsistent, and this issue has lacked attention from senior leaders.    

Therefore, the Committee directs the DNI, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of such other agencies as the Director and Secretary jointly consider relevant, to submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as “anomalous aerial vehicles”), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified.     The Committee further directs the report to include:          

1. A detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting collected or held by the Office of Naval Intelligence, including data and intelligence reporting held by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force;          

2. A detailed analysis of unidentified phenomena data collected by:            

a. geospatial intelligence;            
b. signals intelligence;            
c. human intelligence; and            
d. measurement and signals intelligence;          
3. A detailed analysis of data of the FBI, which was derived from investigations of intrusions of unidentified aerial phenomena data over restricted United States airspace;          

4. A detailed description of an interagency process for ensuring timely data collection and centralized analysis of all unidentified aerial phenomena reporting for the Federal Government, regardless of which service or agency acquired the information;

5. Identification of an official accountable for the process described in paragraph 4;          

6. Identification of potential aerospace or other threats posed by the unidentified aerial phenomena to national security, and an assessment of whether this unidentified aerial phenomena activity may be attributed to one or more foreign adversaries;          

7. Identification of any incidents or patterns that indicate a potential adversary may have achieved breakthrough aerospace capabilities that could put United States strategic or conventional forces at risk; and         

  8. Recommendations regarding increased collection of data, enhanced research and development, and additional funding and other resources.    

The report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

Still, it’s that latter question which bothers me the most: Will it matter?

A lot of UFO enthusiasts are dedicated to the idea of a global government (because it’s not just the U.S. they believe is hiding the truth) conspiracy to suppress the truth about UFO, and almost none of the major UFO investigators and commentators demanding Disclosure suppose the alleged conspiracy is hiding anything mundane, like secret military projects that do not involve extraterrestrial or interdimensional beings. We’re in a strange position where the most likely answer to the UFO phenomenon is really mundane but the UFO community will never accept that!

Even suggesting that the UFO phenomenon is anything but an extraordinary conspiracy (contrasted here with an ordinary conspiracy to keep military secrets which, while perhaps advanced, involve nothing more than human agency) results in rancorous ad hominem. Surely, the one suggesting such a crime against the tradition of the extraordinary conspiracy must not be fully informed or isn’t taking all of the facts into account! Never mind the body of facts the UFO community conveniently turns a blind eye to: It is undeniable that hoaxers, yarn spinners, cult founders and opportunists of all stripes have interwoven their stories and wildest theories into the UFO narrative with minimal scrutiny. Let’s face it: Fraudsters and storytellers like Gray Barker and his ilk weren’t all that clever; they simply took advantage of a certain willingness within UFO enthusiasts to entertain the idea of an extraordinary explanation – an open-mindedness that, sadly, often borders on the credulous.

I mention Barker in particular because John Keel suggested that this notorious West Virginia hoaxers was heavily involved in the creation and propagation of several popular extraordinary conspiracy theories within the UFO community. IN The 1991 IllumiNet edition of The Mothman Prophecies, John Keel included an Afterword that did not appear in the original 1975 edition and vanished in the subsequent 2002 Tor edition that tied in with the Richard Gere movie adaptation. The IllumiNet edition (also known as the Frank Frazetta edition due to the cover art) includes the following quote from Keel:

Barker left behind a rich heritage of practical jokes and UFO hoaxes (including his 1970 novel about Mothman, The Silver Bridge) which… are now an integral part of flying saucer literature. He paved the way for the myriad of hoaxes of the 1980s. His Lost Creek, West Virginia saucer photos were the forerunners to the Gulf Breeze Florida fakes. His Hangar 18 fraud and his Edwards Air Force Base fairy tale (in which he names several of his personal friends as witnesses, along with President Eisenhower), served as a framework for the MJ12/Roswell, New Mexico “crashed saucer” hoaxes that absorbed the attention of many UFO buffs throughout the 1980s. The flying saucer cults owe him much.”

Of course, we can add the Men in Black to that notorious list, since they find their chief origin in Barker’s 1956 book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.

My point is not that the UFO phenomenon is a fraud but that we’ve uncritically allowed frauds to muddy the picture, and that we as a community would prefer an extraordinary lie to a mundane truth.

So where does that really leave us when it comes to UFO Disclosure? If the truth isn’t “out there,” are we willing to accept it? In essence, is it too late for Disclosure?

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