Thursday, August 9, 2018

A search for Congressional AAWSA/AATIP documents


The 'New York Times' article dated 16 December 2018, which broke the story about the Pentagon's, then secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), mentions the support from three former US Senators. These were Senators Harry Reid (now retired); Ted Stevens (deceased 2010), and Daniel K Inouye (deceased 2012.)

So, one of my research projects has been following up the possibility that we may be able to obtain some AAWSA/AATIP documents, outside the FOIA.

Senator Reid's papers

I first focused on the Congressional records of former Senator Harry Reid. I found that his Congressional papers had been sent to the University of Nevada -Reno for preservation there, in the Special Collections and University Archives in the Matheson-IGT Knowledge Center. Over a period of time in July, I communicated with the Harry Reid Archivist, Ian M McGlory. McGlory was very helpful and advised me that '...the Senator's collection is very large - over 1000 boxes of material. Typically, when we receive collections of that size we often have a poor idea of its contents - which happened to be the case with the Senator's papers. While work on processing his paper has been moving forward, we currently wouldn't be able to find something as specific as what you are looking for.'

In addition, McGlory advised me that under the terms of the donation of papers, hard copy documents will not be available for 10 years after the date of the document, and that electronic communications will remain unavailable for 20 years.

So, all in all, an unsuccessful search.

Senator Inouye's papers

I found that the Congressional papers for former Senator Daniel K Inouye are now archived at the University of Hawaii.  As he unfortunately passed away in 2012, the University has had more time to process his papers than the University of Nevada has to process Senator Reid's papers. Thus my hopes were higher that I might find some AAWSA/AATIP papers at the University of Hawaii.

The University's Congressional papers archivist is Rachael Bussert. I communicated with Rachael a few days ago. As with my request re Senator Reid's papers, I described the AAWSAP/AATIP and provided her with key names and key organisations involved. Bussert was most efficient, however her final response was:

'I've completed my review of the Senator Inouye Papers in regards to your research topic. Unfortunately, I'm not coming up with anything in my search that fits your topic. I looked through the appropriation records from 2004-2012 that we have in our Staff Files series and our Defense Department records in the Subject File series (1993-2012 sub series) without any luck. My guess is that the records that you are looking for would reside in United States Senate Official committee records. It is also possible that there are records that reference the program in the Senator Harry Reid papers, but I don't think those papers are yet open to the public.'

So, again, an unsuccessful search.

Senator Ted Stevens' papers

I found that the Congressional papers for former Senator Ted Stevens are located with The Ted Stevens Foundation in Alaska. An email from their archivist, told me that the collection is currently closed, ' we are working on the finer processing and description of the many boxes in this collection. Our intent is to eventually open the collection for research...'

So, my third unsuccessful search.


  1. Nice investigation Keith. No success but you never know until you try. I know that was a lot of work.

  2. Re: Senator Ted Stevens. We also contacted the archivist concerning his UFO sighting while he was in the service. No Joy. I am thinking, however, that he might have made mention of it during his career at one time or another, and it got into an Alaskan newspaper. A pretty slim lead.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for the comment. The archivist says that when they get sorted out they will open the archives to the public. However, they gave no time line for this action.


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