The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that provides disclosure of prior documents not submitted to the public by agencies of the U.S. government, such as, the Departments of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), among others. Consequently, declassification of UFO documents has been made public in the United States. Over the past decade, many other countries have also established organizations dedicated to collecting and declassifying UFO reports and official communications on the subject like the United Kingdom, Russia, Ecuador, France, Denmark, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, and others.
Over the past decade, many ufologists have focused on “exopolitics” as an approach to the study of the UFO phenomenon. According to M. Salla, a researcher in this area, exopolitics is a concept “implicit in terms such as the “Flying Saucer Conspiracy,” “UFO Cover Up,” and “Cosmic Watergate,” that have been a standard part of UFO literature for over five decades.” Salla wrote:
Those explicitly supporting exopolitics as a distinct disciplinary approach to the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH), contrast it to the empirical study of UFO sightings focusing on improved investigative techniques and analysis of the best available evidence substantiating the reality of the UFO phenomenon and the ETH. While UFO studies has been dominated by physical scientists with an affinity for quantitative analysis of empirical UFO data, exopolitical researchers tend to have social science backgrounds where qualitative analysis of the UFO data and the ETH occurs more often.
Declassified UFO Documents
Among the websites below, of particular interest is the information on the CIA’s website (www.foia.cia.gov/collection/ufos-fact-or-fiction) which provides over 200 documents of first-hand accounts from personnel and press related coverage of UFO incidents. A few of the most significant UFO documents from the U.S. government obtained under the FOIA include: 1) A UFO incident at the US/UK air base near Rendlesham forest led to an investigation by base personnel, 2) Belgian airspace was frequently visited by large triangular objects, observed visually, and by ground and airborne radar, and 3) The attempted intercept of a UFO by Iranian aircraft, who disabled their instruments and weapon systems, among others. Many ufologists consider these documents as objective, strong supporting evidence that physical craft operated by alien beings have visited Earth, and that world governments have conspired to cover up such visitations.
Declassified UFO documents may be found in the following websites:
In July 2012, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Great Britain released over 6,500 pages of UFO-related documents, policies on UFOs, and public sightings and drawings of UFOs from 1965 to 2008, many of which may be found at: http://www.nationalarchieves.gov.uk/ufos/. One document includes the Prime Minister Tony Blair briefings on UFO sightings in 1998, and the MoD concern about military jets crashing after reported UFO encounters. Further, the Condign Report (2000), a secret UFO study by the British Government’s Defense Intelligence Staff in the late 1990s called, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the U.K. Air Defense Region, concluded that while “no definitive conclusions could be drawn, it couldn’t rule out the possibility that some unexplained losses of military aircraft may have been caused by unidentified objects and that military and civilian air crews should not attempt to out-maneuver a UFO.”
Obtained via the FOIA in 2006, a report by officials from the UK during the 1950s included their perspective on UFOs:
That UFOs exist is indisputable. Credited with the ability to hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish, they can reportedly alter their direction of flight suddenly and clearly can exhibit aerodynamic characteristics well beyond those of any known aircraft or missile-either manned or unmanned. No artifacts of unknown or unexplained origin have been reported or handed to the UK authorities, despite thousands of UAP reports.
Emphasizing the importance for government disclosure of UFOs is leading UFO researcher Robert Hastings, who wrote:
As I see it, the ongoing UFO intervention in U.S. strategic affairs is now a tale that needs to be told, in unflinching terms, to our legislative assemblies, if possible, but from the rooftops if necessary. All bold endeavors bear both planned-for and unintended consequences. The inevitable admission by U.S. government officials that our nuclear weapons have long been monitored, and at times compromised, by those of unknown origin and objectives, is not without its perils. But the facts will—and should—become known, sooner or later, by one means or another, in a society such as ours. And that’s a good thing. After all, isn’t that how a democracy is supposed to operate?
The Conspiracy Theory
The conspiracy theory implies that conclusive evidence, which demonstrate that UFOs are under intelligent control is being suppressed by many governments, especially the U.S. Researchers have found some evidence of suppression of UFO incidents by governments but have found no compelling proof of a “conspiracy.” Similarly, the recent UFO “disclosure” initiative, which has transitioned into “exopolitics,” assumes that UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin, and that the government will officially reveal their presence. Many ufologists also maintain, on the basis of key witness testimony by retired military and government personnel, and official declassified government/military UFO documents, that certain departments within one or more government agencies, such as, the CIA, FBI, and NSA, know what the phenomenon is, have remains of physical craft and their occupants, and have back-engineered technology from recovered UFOs. Interestingly, according to a 2002 Roper poll, 72% of Americans believe the federal government is suppressing information about UFOs. Consequently, the conspiracy theory persists despite the official U.S government and NASA position on UFOs:
Ufologists continue with “disclosure” led campaigns, with the most recent by The Citizens Hearing on Disclosure in April-May 2013. According to Dr. Steven Greer, founder of the Disclosure Project, there are over “500 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses” with “personal, first-hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret.” Similarly, Stephen Bassett, who led the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, alleges the government has been tracking extraterrestrial crafts for decades and the evidence is “overwhelming — beyond any reasonable doubt there’s an extraterrestrial presence (and) almost certainly from another planet.”
Declassified documents clearly indicate that the UFO phenomenon was an issue of considerable concern to the U.S. government and military since the 1940s. They even considered the possibility that UFOs were physical craft from another planet. There is even some indication that an on-going secret UFO research agenda exists under the Unacknowledged Special Access Program, which is a designation for “security protocols that provides highly classified information with safeguards and access restrictions known only to authorized persons.” These issues serve as a foundation for those involved in the UFO-exopolitical movement, many of whom believe in the cover-up by the government of their knowledge about UFOs and the existence of an active research program studying the phenomenon.
The Disclosure Project and The Citizens Hearing on Disclosure
Testimony presented to former members of the United States Congress of personal UFO experiences through the Disclosure Project, and The Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, has served to heighten awareness of the importance of the phenomenon and the attempt to reveal an alleged conspiracy of the UFO cover-up. The Disclosure Project, founded by Dr. Steven Greer, is a “research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems.” “Disclosure” initiatives, predicated on the premise that governments know “the truth of UFOs,” however, may continue to find limited, if any, success meeting their objectives if governments simply don’t know more than what has already been disclosed through the FOIA, among other routes. The alternative notion is that the government will continue withholding UFO evidence (if it exists) despite persistent attempts to force “disclosure.” Regardless of this well intentioned initiative, different approaches, which have greater potential to develop organized governance and research initiatives to better understand the phenomenon, must compliment on-going exopolitical initiatives to help find the “truth behind UFOs”.
Evidence from the UFO-nuclear missile connection, pilot UFO sightings, compelling testimony from researchers and key witnesses from military and government agencies, astronauts, air traffic controllers, and pilots, among others, have clearly documented that UFOs exist. To better understand what governs and regulates UFOs, scientists will need to consider appropriate research methods to study the various phenomena associated with alleged UFO encounters and related issues in ufology. This endeavor, while uniquely challenging, will likely contribute more towards our knowledge of the phenomenon than current qualitative, retrospective approaches used in exopolitical research, that primarily focus on disclosing and analyzing government UFO documents, studying what U.S. Presidents know of UFOs, assessing the validity of alleged government disinformation and cover-up campaigns, and the authenticity of several UFO incidents like Roswell, NM, 1947; the Phoenix Lights, 1997; Hudson Valley, N.Y, 1980s; and Rendlesham Forest, UK, 1980, etc. These approaches, while satisfying one’s curiosity and advancing some informative and useful knowledge, have failed to provide sufficient information that contribute meaningfully towards our primary goal, i.e., to define the phenomenon. Certainly the same criticism can be made for many scientific based investigations of the phenomenon. Consequently, we should complement on-going qualitative investigations (e.g., exopolitcs) with multidisciplinary based scientific research approaches, governed by an overarching administrative structure, to better understand the nature and origin of the UFO phenomenon.
A fundamental question related to the issue of “exopolitics” is “why government agencies have been engaged in alleged systematic cover-up and disinformation campaigns since the debated “flying saucer” crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947? Would the purpose be to prevent the possibility of panic and confrontations in a society thought to be unable to adequately cope and adjust to the knowledge of an extraterrestrial presence? If this rationale serves as the basis for the alleged cover-up, the government should be aware that general public reaction to the revelation of the alien presence, while initially astonished, will likely not result in uncontrolled panic since millions of people are already convinced that beings have and continue to visit Earth. It is also important to keep in mind that: 1) no evidence provides irrefutable proof the conspiracy theory is valid, and 2) extraterrestrials have visited our planet, among others, presented in this and other chapters. A government led UFO conspiracy would be an astounding achievement to pull off successfully, especially knowing that many people “in the know” would have been required to cover-up the alleged evidence for decades. Allegations of government “cover-up” campaigns, which are circumstantial and lack verification, tend to create disillusion in those whose support must be gained, and to also further alienate (no pun intended) the scientific community from engaging in UFO research.