Ex-official who exposed UFO project accuses Pentagon of “disinformation” campaign
“What he is saying is that there are certain people in the Defense Ministry who in fact attacked him and lied about him publicly, using the semblance of authority of their offices to denigrate him and discrediting and interfering with his ability to seek and obtain gainful employment in the world, “said Daniel Sheehan, Elizondo’s attorney.” And also threatening his security clearance. “
Sheehan, public interest lawyer and activist, has a long history confront the federal government on behalf of high profile clients, including defending the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers affair as well as one of the Watergate burglars.
He is also widely regarded as a provocateur who has a constant interest in UFOs and spoke publicly on extraterrestrial visits. He was also the lawyer for the Disclosure Project, led by ufologist Steven Greer, which sought to force more government transparency on UFOs.
When asked to comment, Elizondo referred questions to Sheehan.
Sheehan maintains that the purpose of Elizondo’s complaint to the IG is far more important than clearing his name: he wants to force the Pentagon to dispel any ambiguity about what it knows about UFOs.
âNo one seemed to take this thing seriously,â Sheehan said of Elizondo’s concerns when he left the Pentagon in 2017. âThe different units and groups that are tasked with responding to this particular phenomenonâ¦ they don’t inform each other about it. “
âThe old dodge,â Sheehan said, âit’s ‘well, the real problem was one store wasn’t communicating with the other store.’ This is the classic bureaucratic dodge.I am trying to get the MoD to clarify for the public and the media what exactly is the mapping within the MoD to deal with this particular phenomenon.
A spokesperson for the IG Defense Ministry’s office declined to comment on the status of Elizondo’s complaint. âI cannot speculate or deliberate on any complaints our office may have received,â said Dwrena Allen. “I certainly cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the same.”
But a day after Elizondo filed his complaint, the IG announced an investigation into the Pentagon’s “actions” on UFOs, which is being undertaken by the Deputy Inspector General for assessments on space, intelligence, engineering and monitoring.
“We may revise the target as the assessment progresses, and we will consider management’s suggestions for additional or revised targets,” the IG memo announcing the survey said.
It is not yet clear whether Elizondo’s allegations will merit an official investigation, but his legal team says he is expected to meet with IG investigators again next month.
Elizondo has become a minor celebrity since he retired from the Pentagon in October 2017 and publicized the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, a secret Pentagon effort that was launched in 2008 by the Senator of the time. Harry Reid. POLITICO and The New York Times revealed the existence of the office and Elizondo’s role in it in December 2017.
Elizondo complained at the time that his Pentagon bosses did not take the numerous intrusions into military airspace by high performance aircraft of unknown origin seriously.
âIt was around this time that I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of resources and interest on the part of senior management,â he said in the IG’s complaint. âReports from the PSU to our office were increasing, but our resources were minimal and management involvement was almost non-existent.
âAfter increased frustration,â he added, âI was alarmed by the frequency and duration of UAP activities in and around controlled US airspace.
After retiring from government service, Elizondo also shared with the media a trio of Navy videos he was declassified before leaving the public service.
He claims he has since endured a coordinated effort to damage his reputation, including Pentagon press statements claiming he had no official role in UFO research, even after his role was officially confirmed. He also alleges a personal vendetta from a Pentagon rival who he says has repeatedly sought to damage his career, including trying to get him investigated for posting the video. after being cleared of any wrongdoing.
Elizondo charges “malicious activity, coordinated disinformation, professional misconduct, retaliation from whistleblowers and explicit threats by some senior Pentagon officials,” according to the complaint, which includes dozens of supporting documents.
POLITICO refuses to release the names of Pentagon officials cited in the IG complaint because it is unclear whether they are under investigation.
But Elizondo told the IG he had evidence, in the form of emails, documents and public records, “that suggest a coordinated effort to obscure the truth to the American people while attacking my reputation as a former Pentagon intelligence officer “.
“These negative actions against me have resulted in great personal and professional challenges for me and my family,” he adds in the complaint.
Recounting an episode in the days following his departure from public service, Elizondo claims that a senior official warned him that he “would tell people that you are crazy, and that could have an impact on your entitlement to. security”.
“I respondedâ¦ telling him that he could take whatever action he prudently deemed necessary, but that I was not mentally disabled and that I had never violated my safety oath,” Elizondo wrote. in the complaint, saying he had not met the official again “after our discussion because I was concerned he would retaliate against me.”
The IG complaint also accuses the Pentagon press service of engaging in a disinformation campaign to discredit him by suggesting he was lying about his UFO work.
He cites multiple public statements claiming the department had no record of his involvement in UFOs even after saying he did it work for AATIP.
“Several internet bloggers have been informed (…) that I have no assignment regarding AATIP and that AATIP does not involve the study of UAPs,” Elizondo told the IG. “As a result, bloggers began to broadcast reports, accusing me of being a forger.”
When asked why the Pentagon changed its official story on AATIP, he said someone directly involved told him he “was not happy with the way this was handled internally with the ministry “. The official also said he “was aware that I was running AATIP, but the forces inside the building were telling him not to admit it,” according to Elizondo.
The Pentagon’s public affairs office declined to comment for this story.
The Ministry of Defense this month publicly recognized in a statement that the AATIP program was involved in UFO research, but it did not correct the record on Elizondo’s involvement, he said.
âIt goes beyond simple ambiguity,â Sheehan said. “The [are] real discordant narratives unfolding. They profess great confusion.
Elizondo maintains that efforts to punish him for coming forward continue. The IG’s complaint points out that its publication of the three unclassified UFO videos was investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and “there was no finding that I made any unauthorized disclosure. “
But he says he was contacted in April by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency advising him to undergo a new interview to maintain his clearance even though it was renewed in January 2021. And he maintains that he was told that they were concerns over whether he had broken the rules when he released the UFO videos to the public.
“Despite a previous favorable investigation by AFOSI, I am accused of having disseminated the videos in an unauthorized manner,” he wrote in the IG’s complaint.
Elizondo has continued to state publicly that he believes the government is covering up what it knows about UFO sightings. And Sheehan also claims that Elizondo’s experience in the Pentagon bureaucracy signifies a much deeper resistance to doing the truth.
He said there was “this extraordinarily bizarre process going on in the heart of the national security state bureaucracy where general officers, defense secretaries are not informed of something that falls within their purview. transparent manner “.
âIt’s a deep and fundamental issue that they see as being above their pay grade,â Sheehan added. “They know something is going on and they don’t dare to go.”