Tag Archives: By Jack Brewer

UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data

The NSA Releases a Formerly Secret Document Via FOIA Request

UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data - NSA (pg 1)

     The NSA has released in full the document UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise or Deceptive Data, following an FOIA request to review redacted sections for further declassification. In a letter dated July 17, 2017, the Agency responded that the previously partially published document was processed as a Mandatory Declassification Review and subsequently released. The letter and accompanying file may be viewed and downloaded at the link above.

We first explored the doc, composed at some point prior to 1979 by an unnamed author, here at The UFO Trail in the January blog post,

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
8-10-17

NSA UFO Docs. Two redacted sections of the seven-page file were noted. The first section provided an example of how human response to perceived unusual phenomena can be detrimental, particularly from a military perspective. Images below show previously redacted pages on the left, with the now fully disclosed pages on the right.

UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data (Redacted) - NSA (pg 2)
UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data - NSA (pg 2)

Offering an example of detrimental responses, the author explained how a USAF technician “was engaged in first level traffic analysis and intercept processing against Soviet Bloc countries,” when one of the countries began to report an unusual radar track. It was described as “a high flying fast moving object with an erratic flight pattern.” Although identified as occasionally moving against the wind, the Bloc “began reporting the object as a balloon.”

“The next Bloc nation picked up the object and continued the designation of balloon despite the erratic flight pattern, high speed, and against the wind maneuvers,” the author continued.

It was further explained that the airman noted a variety of emotional reactions taking place among personnel within the American processing facility. Such reactions included “everyone was more edgy and silent than usual,” as well as “aggressive and distracted responses” to requests for clarification of some of the data.

The author concluded human flaws leave us blinded to unusual or surprising material. Some people, however, it was suggested, “are less affected by strange phenomena than others, though still frightened by it, they remain capable of reporting it with a fair degree of objectivity.”

UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data (redacted) - NSA (pg 5)
UFOs and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot To Surpise or Deceptive Data - NSA (pg 5)

The second redacted section was the author’s recommendations to effectively address such challenges, which included training intelligence analysts “to be able to deal with unusual phenomena.” It was also suggested:

Select a group of analysts and evaluators who have the natural capability to see unusual phenomena and be able to process it. Form these analysts into a special surprise alert team responsible directly to the JCS and the highest levels of the intelligence community and intensively train them further in the art of processing surprise material.

Further recommendations included providing intensive training to high level military officers responsible for strategic decisions. Such training included “the objective handling and analysis of surprise material.”

The document offers some intriguing points for consideration. Among them is the author’s interest in Air Force personnel reactions to surprise data. Also noteworthy, in my opinion, is the author’s seemingly at times uncritical interpretations of reported UFO phenomena and ways to conduct investigation.

For instance, an event can be “so shockingly unusual,” the author reports, it “is buried in the unconscious of the person where it is only accessible to hypnosis” or other carefully conducted modes of communication. Such views show how deeper, more accurate understandings of the unreliability of hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool have evolved in the scientific community and presumably among NSA assets. We periodically see similar outdated views reflected in IC Cold War era docs concerning other UFO and paranormal topics, as well.

Related dynamics and NSA historic willingness to explore the fringe were considered in a March blog post titled, NSA Interest in the Paranormal. In a manner of speaking, the Gulf Breeze Six episode – whatever it may have ultimately involved – was not an anomaly as much a part of the natural progression of topics explored and activities regularly conducted by the Agency. That doesn’t necessarily make it any less interesting, but should be clearly understood as the context is relevant: NSA and other agencies, such as DARPA and CIA, are as historically involved in exploring the fringe as debunking it, if not more so. That creates many potential options for the IC from one era and project to the next, as well as lines of research for those of us following along.

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Crashed UFO Misinformation

Flying Saucers a Myth - Airgram (pg 6) 3-22-1968

Crashed Saucer Misinformation

     Time recently spent in Roswell gave me the opportunity to talk UFOs with some people quite knowledgeable on the topic. Among them was Nick Redfern. Aware of my interest in the overlapping of the UFO and intelligence communities, Nick shared his thoughts on several such cases. This included an alleged saucer crash supposedly occurring in 1952 on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen.

Nick blogged about the Spitsbergen case in 2012, explaining how it consisted of a few different tellings, depending on which intel agency or news publication one chose to consult. Basically, a story was passed around that a flying saucer (with no occupants) was retrieved

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
7-11-17

from the island. As late as 1985 researchers were still trying to substantiate the story, which had grown to include comparisons to flying disks allegedly seen by military personnel around the Arctic. The origin of the alleged Spitsbergen saucer was suggested to be both Russian and outer space at different times, and the case was called both a hoax and a matter of utmost importance, depending on the agency and era.

The part of the story Nick found most intriguing involves a file at the NSA. It’s titled, Department of State AIRGRAM – Subject: Flying Saucers Are a Myth.

The file contains a 1968 airgram message from the American embassy in Moscow to the U.S. Department of State. The purpose of the message is to provide the State Department with an English version of a then-recently published article debunking UFOs and authored by Villen Lyustiberg, Science Editor of the Novosti Press Agency.

Lyustiberg’s piece contains a paragraph addressing the Spitsbergen case. The paragraph has been circled and identified as a “plant,” presumably by someone employed at an American intelligence agency at some point in time.

Flying Saucers a Myth - Airgram (Snippet)  (pg 6) 3-22-1968

Author David Clarke addressed the alleged Spitsbergen saucer in his nonfiction
book, How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth. He described the above document as shared with him by Nick Redfern, and went on to explain the work of Bill Spaulding of the U.S. group Ground Saucer Watch.

Following intensive FOIA work, Spaulding apparently came to believe that crashed saucer lore was actually promoted and in some cases deliberately fabricated by the U.S. government. Clarke reported that Spaulding found no evidence the CIA had any knowledge of such crashed saucers, but the Agency indeed considered advantageous uses of spreading belief in UFOs for psychological warfare purposes. As Clarke wrote, “One [CIA] memo put it this way: ‘A fair proportion of our population is mentally conditioned to the acceptance of the incredible. In this fact lies the potential for touching-off of mass hysteria and panic.'”

In 1990 Clarke obtained comment from Spaulding on such documents, to which Spaulding explained in part, “There are some good official UFO documents. But they do not show the existence of saucers as spaceships. Rather, they show a deliberate trail of misinformation about saucers, a ruse to cover-up high tech testing.”

We might give such circumstances deeper consideration when contemplating stories of alleged downed alien spacecraft. We might also consider the perspective promoted by Science Editor Lyustiberg, some 50 years ago, was to discourage belief in flying saucers among the Russian public. It does not go unnoticed by this writer that the author of the above referenced airgram pointed out to the State Department that Lyustiberg’s position was in contradiction to other Russian publications; the embassy employee briefly summarized Russian stances on UFOs for the recipient at State before attaching Lyustiberg’s article.

It should be a forgone conclusion at this point that the UFO topic was exploited by the global intelligence community for a variety of purposes from one operation and era to the next. The consequences might indeed be significant and far-reaching.

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UFOs, Alien Accounts Manipulated By Intelligence Agencies?

UFOs, Alien Accounts Manipulated By Intelligence Agencies?

Boyd Bushman, the FBI and Counterespionage

      “[T]here didn’t seem to be an official reason for the CIA to pay any attention to UFO research. Then, in 1990, Ron [Pandolfi] told me the official reason: the possibility of espionage. He said that in the 1970’s, the CIA had obtained ‘firm evidence’ that the KGB had devised a plan to use US citizens, including UFOlogists, to penetrate the US defense program.”

– Bruce Maccabee, PhD, The FBI-CIA-UFO Connection: The Hidden UFO Activities of USA Intelligence Agencies (p. 354)

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
5-8-17

Boyd Bushman

The late Boyd Bushman and a photo of suspect origin
In 2014 a video featuring an interview with the now deceased scientist Boyd Bushman made a bit of an internet splash. While the original vid has come and gone for whatever reasons, the gist of it is currently available on YouTube.
Bushman can be seen sharing fantastic stories of alleged extraterrestrials, including photographs. The images were soon shown to be strikingly similar to plastic figurines available at Walmart, as documented at several websites.
The then-elderly Bushman stated that during his career at Lockheed Martin he developed a network of contacts who exchanged stories (and obviously photos) about alleged activities at Area 51. The video contained Bushman’s disjointed remarks about Chinese and Russian scientists collaborating with Americans, as well as statements about research conducted into anti-gravity technology.

Bushman also stated, “The intelligent ones… and me believe that a great deal of information should be lifted up from those dark recesses of Area 51 and moved over so people can see it.”

National Security Implications

Please understand when people holding security clearances start whispering around water coolers about classified information they think should be published, it tends to attract attention. More on that shortly, but first let’s take a look courtesy of The Black Vault at an investigation launched by the FBI into the activities of Boyd Bushman.

A 1999 FBI memo established Bushman was indeed employed at Lockheed Martin (LM). The man’s claims of holding Top Secret clearance while working as a Senior Specialist were also verified. Please note, however, LM expressed concerns to the Bureau of what “may be an ongoing attempt to elicit LM proprietary or USG classified information” surrounding Bushman:

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Alleged Alien-Human Hybrid, Intelligence Agenicies, The FBI and a FOIA Appeal

Jack Brewers Response for Appeal Re Lash Case

DoJ Responds to FOIA Appeal,
Directs FBI to Search Further for Lash Files

     A May 10 email (see above) from the Department of Justice stated my appeal for files on Jeffrey Alan Lash “has been processed with the following final disposition: completely reversed/remanded.” The email was from the DoJ Office of Information Policy and addressed an appeal filed due to the FBI previously reporting requested records were unable to be identified.

Readers will recall my post on the Lash case summarized the 2015 story of a man found dead in a vehicle in the Los Angeles upscale community of Pacific Palisades. The bizarre saga involved a stash of millions of dollars in weapons and ammo, about a quarter of a million

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
5-11-17

dollars in cash, and testimonies that the deceased had claimed to be an ET-human hybrid working with U.S. intelligence agencies, among other odd plot twists. The post went on to become my most viewed by far, and continues to consistently be among the most viewed per week in spite of having been posted two years ago.

Outside Pacific Palisades condo where Lash reportedly lived

My initial FOIA request to the FBI for records on the Lash case was filed in 2016. I was subsequently informed by the Bureau in a letter dated Dec. 15, 2016, that records were unable to be identified, but it was added that the “response neither confirms nor denies the existence of your subject’s name on any watch lists.” It was also clarified to be a standard notification “and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.”

The letter further stated, “If you have additional information pertaining to the subject that you believe was of investigative interest to the Bureau, please provide us the details and we will conduct an additional search.”

I subsequently wrote, in part, in an appeal dated Feb. 1, 2017:

I therefore point out ‘The Guardian’, in an article dated July 23, 2015, reported the late Mr. Lash believed he “was a secret government operative under constant surveillance by the CIA, the FBI or both.” The article may be viewed here.

Similarly, ‘The Washington Times’ reported Lash identified himself to neighbors as “Bob Smith” and “claimed to have worked for either the FBI or CIA.” The July 23, 2015, article may be viewed here.

‘The Los Angeles Times’ and many other media outlets reported similar circumstances. Files available for release are therefore requested on any investigations the Bureau may have conducted of Jeffrey Alan Lash, as well as any interest in or relationships with Lash.

Let’s hope a further search for responsive records at the FBI turns up something interesting and available for release. For those of you following the political sword rattling taking place between the White House and FBI, it might be worth noting that the letter received in the May 10 email was actually contained in a pdf, and was dated March 23. For whatever reasons, the March letter was not emailed until the day after former Director James Comey was fired. I mention this because it might or might not indicate ripples of the political turbulence reach throughout the FOIA staff and process in some manner.

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Questioning Alien Abduction Research Methodology

Questioning Alien Abduction Research Methodology

     Dr. Ellen Tarr recently posted some thoughts on UFO-related survey results as conducted and presented by FREE (Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters). Tarr holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Immunology, is an Associate Professor at Midwestern University, and graciously offers analysis from time to time on such topics as Project Core and alleged Sasquatch DNA.

She interpreted survey results as reported by FREE to be unclear on details like numbers of respondents and exactly how FREE arrived at some of its figures. Tarr’s pointed observations included “the myriad problems with the survey itself and the analysis,” as well as “the lack

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
4-16-17

of controlling which respondents answer follow-up questions.” As she explained:

There are numerous cases within the survey where more people responded to follow-up questions about a specific type of experience than had claimed to have had the experience. For example, 211 respondents reported having sex with an ET and 236 gave answers regarding what type of ET they had sex with. The likelihood that many items include responses from people who did not have the experience calls many results into question.

Tarr also noted survey results were represented by FREE as specifically including people who reported UFO-related contact experiences with a non-human intelligence, yet it is unclear if all who responded actually interpreted that to be the case. For instance, fewer people reported a craft or ship associated with their experiences than participated in the survey.

Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs at a
2004 Intruders Foundation Seminar

Hopkins, Jacobs and Westrum

Such challenges with surveys and their interpretations have long plagued the UFO community. The design of a 1991 Roper Poll funded by Robert Bigelow and conducted by Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs and Ron Westrum was competently called into question by qualified professionals. The trio arrived at the stunning conclusion 3.7 million Americans had been abducted by aliens through a survey of less than 6,000 people who were never even asked. Instead, those surveyed were subjected to a series of questions of which Hopkins and Jacobs felt themselves qualified to interpret if the responses indicated abductions had occurred. To directly ask respondents if they’d ever been abducted, it was rather incredibly rationalized, would give false results because many people were unaware of their abductions until after hypnosis.

Of a total of 5,947 people interviewed, 119, or two percent, were identified as likely alien abductees. It was from there the conclusion was drawn that about two percent of the American population, which at the time equated to 3.7 million people, had been abducted by aliens.

Critical review was provided by parapsychologist Susan Blackmore and sociologist Ted Goertzel, among others. The work of the late psychologist Robyn M. Dawes and political scientist Matthew Mulford, the latter of which became an expert in research methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, showed how questions on the survey were poorly constructed in ways known to produce flawed results. Goertzel wrote:

This conclusion is also strongly supported by Dawes and Mulford’s (1993) innovative study at the University of Oregon which demonstrated that the dual nature of Hopkins, Jacobs and Westrum’s first item, which asked about waking up paralyzed and about sensing a strange person in the room in the same item, actually led to an increased recollection of unusual phenomena as compared to a properly constructed single-issue survey item. Textbooks on questionnaire writing universally warn against “double-barreled” questions of this sort because they are known to give bad results. Dawes and Mulford confirm this and further offer the explanation that the combination of the two issues in one item causes a conjunction effect in memory which increases the likelihood of false recollection.

While the Hopkins, Jacobs and Westrum scale is not a valid measure of UFO abduction, they have inadvertently constructed a useful measure of another phenomenon: the tendency to have false memories.

The poll and its questionably interpreted conclusions continue to be cited in UFO circles in spite of its flawed construction. The problematic aspects of its methodologies are typically not addressed when claims are made of some 4 million Americans being abducted by aliens. The objectivity of Budd Hopkins was further questioned due to such circumstances as his claims surrounding alleged alien symbols purported to have been seen by abductees while aboard alien craft. His questionable interpretations and desire to “stack the deck,” as he put it, were documented in the 13-minute video clip below shot by Carol Rainey.

Standards of Evidence

An important point, in my opinion, is that Dr. Tarr and other qualified experts demonstrate a willingness to address the UFO phenomenon and offer review of research produced by ufology. The scientific community is often criticized for dismissing the topic out of hand, and the complaint may be justified at times, but there are clearly exceptions.

Furthermore, it should be noted that such critical review is part and parcel of the path to establishing fact-based evidence. The critiques of qualified professionals should be embraced and addressed, not discarded with aversion. It is when standards of evidence are recognized, and professional research protocols are collectively respected and implemented, that the UFO community will mature and begin to gain the credibility it has long claimed to seek.

Please join me this summer in Roswell at a conference themed 70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. I’ll be discussing exploitation in ufology, the intersection of the UFO and intelligence communities, and related topics.

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NSA Interest in the Paranormal



NSA Interest in the Paranormal

     A declassified NSA draft titled Parapsychology: The COMSEC Threat and SIGINT Capability recently caught my attention when an excerpt was shared by researcher Michael Best. COMSEC stands for communications security, while SIGINT refers to signals intelligence. The six-page document, apparently composed in approximately 1981 and approved for release in 2011, may be viewed in full on the CIA website.

The unnamed author of the draft wrote that dealing with such issues as the manipulation of personnel behavior by psychic means could not be avoided within the work force, including at the NSA. The author continued that psychic warfare was inevitable and that “practitioners” within the Agency were already “functioning.”

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
3-2-17

Whatever we are to make of such declassified documents, their very existence may offer us some insight into an era in which the intelligence and UFO communities alike pushed the envelope edges. Let’s take a look at some topics previously explored on The UFO Trail and how they might relate to one another. We might consider how such cases as the Gulf Breeze Six may possibly have been more a result of a fringe-friendly NSA and intelligence culture than it was the bizarre, isolated incident it’s often thought to have been. Reviewing such circumstances might help us more clearly understand the evolution of belief systems surrounding UFOs, as well as assist us in ultimately forming more relevant questions.

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The Gulf Breeze Six, UFOs, The NSA, Military Intelligence and The Mission To Save The World

Revisiting the Gulf Breeze Six

GIs' Mysterious Appearance Sparks Rumors About UFOs (Header)- The Morning News Tribune 7-19-1990

     I recently made a decision to add inquiring about the Gulf Breeze Six to my ongoing FOIA requests. I initially emailed James Carrion to get his input on most effectively composing the requests. In his response, James mentioned he would take a look around for some material he might have on the case and send it along in the event I’d find it useful. He soon emailed copies of dozens of relevant newspaper clippings, messages posted on listservs, interviews, and similar documents I very much appreciate and find of historic value. With James’ permission I am sharing a 117-page pdf file he provided. In the post below I’ll explore the case, discuss some of the many interesting points in the material James offered, and describe the resulting FOIA requests filed.
Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
2-12-17

The Gulf Breeze Six

“Disembodied Voice: I’m the Virgin Mary, how many personnel are currently occupying your NSA listening station in Germany?”

– Kandinsky, commenting on Gulf Breeze Six case, Above Top Secret

A long time ago in a UFO community far, far away, some interesting things actually happened. It might be hard for some to imagine, but events went down in ufology other than self-described disclosure activists frantically building urgency around what chronically amounts to nothing and a podcaster persistently trying to extract cash from email lists like third world con men hacking Yahoo.

The 1980’s gave ufology a series of eyebrow-raising evolving into jaw-dropping events, compliments of the intelligence community, that included Airman Simone Mendez and her run in with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and FBI; Paul Bennewitz and Linda Moulton Howe targeted for deception by OSI Special Agent Richard Doty; and in 1989, writer and researcher Bill Moore took the opportunity as keynote speaker at the annual MUFON symposium to declare he’d been collaborating with Doty and other members of the IC to distribute disinformation.

While that was happening, the Florida community of Gulf Breeze gained global attention due to reported dramatic UFO sightings and, in particular, the controversial case of Ed Walters. As a result, Gulf Breeze was the site of the 1990 annual MUFON symposium, at which time – just a year since Moore cannonballed into the last gig – a crew of a half dozen AWOL intelligence analysts partial to using a Ouija board arrived at the home of a local psychic as the conference came to a close down the street. The group became known as the Gulf Breeze Six.

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Alleged ET-Human Hybrid, Jeffrey Alan Lash and Latest FOIA Requests



Jeffrey Alan Lash

Lash Files Remain Elusive

     My latest efforts to obtain official files on the case of Jeffrey Alan Lash included FOIA requests submitted to the FBI and CIA. In December I received a response from Section Chief David M. Hardy of the Department of Justice Office of Government Information Services. It was regarding the request to the FBI.

Section Chief Hardy explained records responsive to my request were unable to be identified, adding that his “response neither confirms nor denies the existence of your subject’s name on any watch lists.” He further stated it was a standard notification “and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.”

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
2-1-17

Hey, thanks!

In Hardy’s defense, the FBI may very well have no files on Jeffrey Alan Lash. Hardy clarified that if I had additional information “pertaining to the subject that you believe was of investigative interest to the Bureau, please provide us the details and we will conduct an additional search.” That’s apparently above and beyond Lash’s name and a summary of key aspects of the case as initially provided.

I therefore offered in response an article published by The Guardian reporting the deceased Lash had claimed to believe he “was a secret government operative under constant surveillance by the CIA, the FBI or both.” I also provided a Washington Times article indicating Lash identified himself to neighbors as “Bob Smith” and “claimed to have worked for either the FBI or CIA.” Both articles were published July 23, 2015. Many similar sources could easily be cited.

That being the case, I reiterated my request for files available for release on any investigations the Bureau may have conducted on Jeffrey Alan Lash. I also requested records reflecting any interest in or relationships with Lash. We’ll see what happens next.

Oh, That Jeffrey Alan Lash

The CIA was more rigid while sending me nothing. A January letter from Information and Privacy Coordinator Michael Lavergne explained, “Although you have provided some of the identifying information required before we can effectively search our files on an individual, we still need additional data before we can begin processing your request.” Lavergne further stated the Agency requires some evidence of Lash’s death. Also required is Lash’s date and place of birth, as well as date and place of death, which, by the way, some of actually was provided in the initial request.

“Without this data,” Lavergne wrote, “we may be unable to distinguish between individuals with the same or similar names.”

My bad. There’s probably a truckload of files on Jeffrey Alan Lashes who claimed they were ET-human hybrids on the CIA payroll before they died and were left by women to decompose in cars in Pacific Palisades. I’ll try to be more specific in my follow-up.

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NSA UFO Docs



NSA UFO Docs

     Documents declassified by the NSA paint an intriguing picture of interest and activities in the UFO community. Please follow along as we cross reference files that explore UFO-related deception and establish the existence of a report on a UFO symposium authored by an NSA assignee in attendance. I’ll also explain my efforts to learn more via the Freedom of Information Act.

“Surprise or Deceptive Data”

The January, 1997, Volume 43 of The Skeptics UFO Newsletter is available at The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website. Its author, the late Philip

Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
1-24-17

J. Klass, described a batch of docs released by the NSA due to various efforts, including a lawsuit launched by Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS). I point out the work of Klass because not only did he discuss the docs we’re going to explore, but primarily because he speculated about the possible author of some of the NSA material. Klass suspected Tom Deuley, a long time MUFON director and former NSA employee, was “almost certainly” involved in compiling a portion of the information held by the NSA. I bring this up not to be overly conspiratorial, but because I find the chain of events interesting, and I suspect some of you will agree. To try to be clear, please allow me to emphasize it is not news that Deuley was employed by the NSA or that he discussed the UFO community with his employer, but it warrants mention in relation to the following material.

A declassified doc available on the NSA site is a draft titled, UFO’s and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise or Deceptive Data. Its author is not disclosed, as is standard policy, and it is undated. However, we know it was obviously composed prior to the info release as described by Klass because he discussed it in the 1997 newsletter, and it is referenced in another NSA doc from the same era. More on that shortly, but let’s consider the draft a bit.

“The implications of the UFO phenomena go far beyond the particular phenomena itself,” the 7-page doc begins. It goes on to explain that “surprise attack is such a basic ingredient of military success” because “it is able to rely on a most dependable human blind spot: The inability of most men to objectively process and evaluate highly unusual data and to react to the data in a meaningful way.”

The author then cites celebrated ufologist Dr. Jacques Vallee while establishing the human response to observations of unusual phenomena “is predictable and graphically depictable.” The assault of a person’s psychological structure is considered, with the emotional impact of the strangeness of a UFO sighting compared to witnessing a brutal murder, and identified as “the same.”

Conditions attributed to trauma are reviewed, including amnesia, and a chart with a “strangeness index” (see right) estimates the likelihood a person will discuss experiences with others in proportion to the perceived extent of peculiarity. It suggests the stranger the incident, the less people the witness will tell, which could also easily be interpreted as the more traumatized and mentally paralyzed they stand to become.

The first of two redacted sections is apparently an example of how human response to perceived unusual phenomena can be detrimental, particularly from a military perspective, as the author concludes, “It is apparent that we cannot allow such a human flaw to leave us blinded to unusual or surprising material. The example indicates that some people are less affected by strange phenomena than others, though still frightened by it, they remain capable of reporting it with a fair degree of objectivity.”

It might be interesting to know more about the details of that redacted example. The second redacted section is the author’s recommendations to solve the challenge.

Seeking more information about the two redacted sections brings us to another document you’ve probably heard about or seen around. It’s an affidavit of NSA man Eugene F. Yeates in the case of Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy v. National Security Agency – and there are two affidavits, one public, the other originally classified but later released. Nothing’s ever simple in UFO Land.

Fork in the Road

Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, once said about UFOs, “Well, it turns out that the government does have something to hide, but it has nothing to do with extraterrestrials.” He may very well be right, and he’s certainly correct in at least most cases, yet many of us, Mr. Aftergood included, might find the circumstances quite interesting.

CAUS sued the NSA in the early 1980's

CAUS sued the NSA in the early 1980’s to release its UFO files. This resulted in a chain of events which included the affidavit of Eugene F. Yeates. The long and short of his statements suggest the reasons the NSA desired to selectively withhold information had nothing to do with the UFO community’s popular suspicions and collective definition of UFOs. The concerns, Yeates stated, were about national security involving matters of communications intelligence (COMINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT).

Did you notice that fork in the road? Some people always chase aliens, and if there aren’t any around, they’re not interested. Others always debunk aliens, and if they’re convinced they’ve established there aren’t any around, they’re not interested anymore either. If, however, you’re interested in how the intelligence and UFO communities bump into each other in dark alleys, then thanks for sticking with me and we’re well on our way.

There is a public Yeates affidavit and a formerly classified, now available affidavit. The NSA hosts a copy of the public doc, and The Black Vault provides a copy of the declassified doc.

The formerly classified affidavit contains statements from Yeates on the “Blind Spot” document explored above, including comments on the two sections remaining redacted. Yeates explained:

This document was discussed in paragraph 20b of my public affidavit. It is entitled UFO’s and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise or Deceptive Data. In this document, the author discusses what he considers to be a serious shortcoming in the Agency’s COMINT interception and reporting procedures — the inability to respond correctly to surprising information or deliberately deceptive data. He uses the UFO phenomena to illustrate his belief that the inability of the U.S. intelligence community to process this type of unusual data adversely affects U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities. Deletions in this document were made as follows:

[…]

(2) Paragraph three of this document uses a signals intelligence operation against [redacted] to illustrate the author’s point. This paragraph contains information about SIGINT activities that is currently and properly classified… The material in this paragraph also concerns the organization and operational activities and functions of NSA directed against [redacted]…

(3) Paragraph four of the memorandum states the conclusions and recommendations of the author. While it talks of the ability of the Agency employees to deal with unusual phenomena it is not responsive to the plaintiff’s request regarding UFO or UFO phenomena. In any event, as I stated in my public affidavit (paragraph 20b), the subject matter of that paragraph is exempt from disclosure because it contains the employee’s specific recommendations for addressing the problem of responding to surprise material… One specific recommendation suggests an operational approach to solving the problem which reveals NSA activities and is, therefore, exempt from disclosure..

That sounds pretty interesting and potentially relevant to me. I’d like to know more.

The formerly classified Yeates affidavit went on to address a document withheld, once again on the grounds it had nothing to do with actual UFO phenomena, but was instead an “account by a person assigned to NSA of his attendance at a UFO symposium”:

In processing the plaintiff’s FOIA request, a total of two hundred and thirty-nine documents were located in NSA files. Seventy-nine of these documents originated with other government agencies and have been referred by NSA to those agencies for their direct response to the plaintiff. One document, which I addressed in paragraph 20c of my public affidavit, was erroneously treated as part of the subject matter of plaintiff’s FOIA request. It is an account by a person assigned to NSA of his attendance at a UFO symposium and it cannot fairly be said to be a record of the kind sought by the plaintiff.

The same circumstances described by Yeates, yet this time as he stated in the public affidavit:

The third non-COMINT document is a memorandum for the record by an NSA assignee that was originally withheld in its entirety… In my review today I have ascertained, however, that this memorandum is neither in whole nor in part responsive to the plaintiff’s request. It does not deal with UFOs or the UFO phenomena. Rather, it is a document voluntarily prepared by the assignee to report an incident that occurred during his attendance at a UFO symposium. It is the assignee’s personal account of his activities and does not include reference to any UFO sighting or phenomena.

FOIA

It is apparently the statements about the UFO symposium that led Philip Klass to be most confident Yeates was referring to Tom Deuley, at least in that particular instance. As Klass explained in his 1997 newsletter, Deuley spoke publicly of discussing his attendance at a UFO conference with his employer, the NSA. Regardless, I identify a number of things of potential interest about the documents. I therefore filed a couple of FOIA requests.

In the first, I requested that the declassified draft, UFO’s and the Intelligence Community Blind Spot to Surprise or Deceptive Data, once again be reviewed with consideration given to releasing the two currently redacted paragraphs. If possible, it might be interesting to know more about the operations, examples and recommendations contained therein and offered by the author.

The second FOIA request was to review the feasibility of now releasing the previously withheld report on the UFO symposium. It could be interesting to read, whether or not composed by Deuley, and it is of potential historic value. I’ve got a few more requests pending to other agencies on different cases and will be sure and pass along any relevant info as it develops.

Last but not least, I do not consider myself experienced at wading through declassified docs, identifying the latest declassified version (sometimes a doc will be declassified and “more” declassified repeatedly over time) and similar relevant tricks to know of the FOIA trade. If you’re aware of docs and material relevant to the above cases or other topics I write about, a heads up is always welcome.

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Branching Out: Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

Branching Out - Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

     Our research interests may change as our horizons widen. This may ironically come about through honing in on specific aspects of reported UFOs and related phenomena such as alleged alien abduction. Focusing on finer points can result in studying potentially important yet often overlooked subject matter. In my experience, a working knowledge of some of the following topics is essential to understanding various theories and explanations offered. Whether or not we choose to pursue such theories, we simply will not understand them if we remain uninformed.
Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
12-14-16
Psychological Trauma

This is square one. It may very well be among the most significant and least understood aspects of the UFO community. In my admittedly professionally unqualified opinion, symptoms of psychological trauma and the related emotional distress account for the vast majority of reports of alien abduction, high strangeness, military abductees (MILABS), targeted individuals (TIs) and similar titles applied. I have come to the conclusion we must accept that to be the case in order to proceed rationally and credibly.

That stated, I do not consider myself entitled to tell people what did or did not happen to them. People may interpret experiences as they choose and discuss them as they see fit. Psychological and physiological conditions, relevant as they may be, do not account for all reports. As researchers, we are best served to proceed cautiously, professionally, and respectfully.

 Barbara Lamb
Hypnotist Barbara Lamb, who “helps” people learn they are ET-human hybrids and presents them at conferences
Challenges arise when self-described investigators put forth witness testimonies as supportive of a preferred hypothesis, such as alleged alien abduction and/or military abduction, while refusing to entertain alternative, more likely possibilities. Similar challenges arise when organizations, such as the Mutual UFO Network and the International UFO Congress, offer such researchers (or the human subjects of their research) platforms to promote their interpretations while claiming to be dedicated to scientific study. Doing so tends to take the witness narration more into public scrutiny, as it arguably should at that point. At the least, the professional research process requires questioning the methodologies of the “researchers” involved once they play the science card. That bleeds into issues of ethics and integrity as have been explored on this blog at length, and I’m sure we will consider them more in the future.

My current point, please, is that if we do not make intentional efforts to adequately understand such inherently human conditions as emotional trauma and false memories, and how they pertain to ufology, we are left with substantially incomplete renderings of the very topic we claim to pursue. It is a given that many reports involve incorrect interpretations, so it is only reasonable to acknowledge that to be the case while taking the responsibility to learn more about how they manifest and encouraging others to do the same.

Additional reading:

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Trauma, helpguide.org

How childhood trauma could affect your life expectancy, relationships and mental health, Independent

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part One: Sharon Weinberger and Nigel Watson on Responsible Reporting, The UFO Trail

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part Two: Mark Pilkington on Deception Operations, Witness Claims and More, The UFO Trail

False Memories

I recently browsed some UFO discussion forums and discovered participants who remain terribly under informed about topics such as memory functions and dynamics surrounding hypnosis. If you’re considering reasons ufology gains no traction, this is a huge one.

Witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence. I’m more than willing to reiterate it’s not my place to accept and reject claims of personal experiences, but if we want to present testimonies as indicative of a preferred hypothesis, collaborating evidence is extremely helpful.

The work of such experts as Loftus, Shaw, Morgan, and what has now become the accepted paradigm of the entire scientific community demonstrates memories are riddled with inaccuracies. It’s a characteristic of human memory. It’s also been demonstrated again and again how easily people can be led to form memories of events that never happened.

Point for emphasis: A hypnosis subject does not have to be intentionally led in order to produce false memories. It can occur during a biased, ill advised hypnotic search for memories of aliens. Actually, it’s extremely likely. That’s a big part of the point. The same can be said for (non-hypnosis) interviews conducted by overeager “investigators.”

Additional reading:

Memory Distortion and False Memory Creation, Elizabeth Loftus, PhD

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened, Association for Psychological Science

Most of us recall events that never happened, Unexplained Mysteries

Classified Flying Objects

We’ve heard UFO witnesses explain, “It wasn’t any kind of craft like I’ve ever seen. It couldn’t have been one of ours.”

The Lockheed Martin P-791
The Lockheed Martin P-791 is an experimental aerostatic/aerodynamic hybrid airship

It should be apparent that unless a person is up on classified aircraft and related advancements, they’re not in a position to offer such an assessment. There have been fascinating developments in manned and unmanned aerial vehicles over the years, and our eyes might play tricks on us when we see things we’re not used to seeing, such as planes refueling during flight. Did you know, for instance, NOVA reported reported in 2013 about an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies?

At the risk of sounding cynical, this point has long perplexed me. I find it difficult to identify anything other than cultural conditioning (scifi, movies, questionable talk radio, etc.) as a primary reason one would suspect a flying object not to be made by humans.

To try to offer some context, isn’t it kind of like not knowing the make and model of an automobile that drives past and then jumping to the conclusion it must have been manufactured by non-human beings? What would lead a person to think such a thing about aircraft? The answer to that question would be movies like Star Wars and stories like Lonnie Zamora, but I think my point is valid: If it’s flying around and it’s a physical craft, one should suppose it’s made by humans until substantial reasons arise to think differently.

Additional reading:

One Nation Under Drones, The UFO Trail

Thought Drones Were New to the Skies? Think Again, The UFO Trail

One of Those Posts About Validated Conspiracy Theories, The UFO Trail

Intelligence Community

The problem with discussing the influence of the intelligence community in ufology is that many people who would challenge its significance do not have a working knowledge of its history and circumstances. While it is admittedly difficult to identify cause and effect in the often nebulous and confusing intersections of the intel and UFO communities, that doesn’t change the fact many interested in the latter know nearly nothing about the former, and it doesn’t change the fact those intersections are indeed easy to demonstrate.

What’s more, the lack of knowledge of or interest in the IC is found throughout both demographics of what we might term believers and skeptics. It’s okay if they’re not interested, but it’s unbecoming to attempt to argue about topics that they are obviously unequipped to meaningfully discuss in the first place.

In order to add constructively to such discussions, one should not only make efforts to understand specific points presented by others, but activities and context of the applicable era as well. Recent developments in the U.S. intelligence community serve as excellent examples of ways volatile and dramatic situations may arise, as well as the importance of understanding their significance when exploring events that surround them.

Additional reading:

Influence of the Intelligence Community in Ufology, The UFO Trail

Psy Ops and Mind Control: Then, Now and the UFO Community, The UFO Trail

In closing, I’d like to add that the same dynamics could be applied virtually across the board to UFO research: If it’s not something you’re interested in, and you haven’t spent time researching it, perhaps you shouldn’t try to explain it to others.

For example, my interest in UFOs – literal reports of unidentified flying objects – has admittedly decreased significantly in recent years. I have come to be much more intrigued by cultural aspects of ufology. You therefore won’t find me going on at length about something I choose not to pursue and I recognize as an area in which others develop a substantial knowledge base.

I identify the differences between things I suspect and things which can be demonstrated to be factual. I’m willing to change my mind when facts dictate. I most respect the work and actions of others who show abilities to do the same, and those are the people I’m most willing to learn from and with. Partisan arguing is unbecoming and unproductive on either side of the aisle. Most importantly, it’s not on the path to truth.

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