Saturday, December 29, 2018

How the US Department of Defense acknowledged the existence of AATIP

Background

As regular blog readers will be aware, I have been posting a series of articles about various aspects of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) /Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP.) This blog post will take a closer look at how the Department of Defense acknowledged the existence of the program (whatever name you call it.)

The story breaks

The story was broken to the world, by almost simultaneous articles in the New York Times and Politico magazine. So I started off my research with these publications.

New York Times

The New York Times, dated 16 December 2017, in an article by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean, included the following quotes:

"In response to questions from The Times, Pentagon officials this month acknowledged the existence of the program...It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change, Pentagon spokesman Thomas Crosson, said in email, referring to the Department of Defense..."

In a New York Times article, two days later, on 18 December 2017, Ralph Blumenthal wrote:

"Helene met with a Pentagon spokesman on Dec 8 for a response to the information we had gathered. The answer came swiftly. There had been a program to investigate U.F.O.s, but it ended in 2012, after five years the Defense Department insisted."

A search of Linkedin, found a profile for Thomas Crosson. In December 2017 he was a Spokesperson & Press Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomcrosson/

Politico Magazine

Reporter Bryan Bender wrote of the program, in the 16 December 2017 issue Included in the article were the words:

"The origins of the program, the existence of which the Pentagon confirmed on Friday...According to a Pentagon official, the AATIP program was ended "in the 2012 time frame"...Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed to Politico that the program existed and was run by Elizondo. But she could not say how long he was in charge of it and declined to answer detailed questions about the office or its work citing concerns about the closely held nature of the program..."The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 time frame," White said. "It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change."...White added "The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed." "

Dana White has a profile on LinkedIn,  which shows that in December 2017, she was the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, in Washington.

Source: https://dod.defense.gov/About/Biographies/Biography-View/Article/1170857/dana-w-white/
White also has an extensive official DoD biography.

SAMAA.TV

SAMAA.TV digital, in an article posted on 18 December 2017,  wrote:

"The Pentagon openly acknowledged the fate of the programme. "The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme ended in the 2012 time frame," Laura Ochoa, a spokeswoman said, "It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the Department of Defense to make a change." The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed," Ms Ochoa said." 

LinkedIn provided the information, that in December 2017, Laura Ochoa was a Spokesperson for Personnel and Readiness Policy, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lcochoa/
John Greenwald

US researcher John Greenwald communicated with the DoD in April 2018. On 3 April 2018 he received an email from an Audricia M Harris, MAJ US ARMY which stated in part:

"Here are some facts about the AATIP Program...AATIP was funded in the July 2008 Supplemental Appropriation Bill ( a Sen Harry Reid add). Its mandate, as outlined in a 2009 letter from Reid to DSD, was to assess "far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats to the United States. The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in 2012. It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change." The email showed that Harris was a DoD Spokesperson. Portfolio: Special Operations & Defense Intelligence.

A search of LinkedIn found a profile for Harris which stated that she was the "Principal spokesperson for the Under Secretary for Defense Intelligence and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defence Cyber Policy."

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/audricia-harris-1a9761a1/

Roger Glassel

Swedish researcher Roger Glassel, like Greenwald, communicated with Audricia Harris. On 3 May 2018 Harris' email to Glassel, read as follows:

"AATIP was funded in the July 2008 Supplemental Appropriation Bill (a Sen Harry Reid add). Its mandate as outlined in a 2009 letter from Reid to DSD, was to assess "far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats the United States," including anomalous events (such as sightings of aerodynamic vehicles in extreme maneuvers, with unique phenomenonology, reported by U.S. Navy pilots or other credible sources)."

At that time, 3 May 2018, we did not possess a copy of this 2009 Reid letter, mentioned by Harris. However, following the release of a copy of this letter by reporters George Knapp and Matt Adams, it is now possible to check Harris' text against the Reid letter.

The words "far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats the United States," are in the letter (with the addition of the word "to" before the words "United States." However, the words "including anomalous events (such as sightings of aerodynamic vehicles in extreme maneuvers, with unique phenomenonology, reported by U.S. Navy pilots or other credible sources)." are not in the letter.

Further communications between Glassel and Harris revealed that Harris did not possess a copy of the 2009 letter; and that when Glassel pointed out that the latter words were not in the letter and asked where it was from, Harris responded that she could not give Glassel any further information. Glassel also tried Thomas Crosson, but he never responded to Glassel.

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