I miss the days when the biggest fringe news was some weird claim that the Knights Templar buried treasure in Montana or the Romans visited Peru. Instead, we have another week when members of Congress continued pushing extreme—and ridiculous—ideas about UFOs at the behest of Lue Elizondo and Chris Mellon. In a few weeks’ time, the History Channel’s paranoid view of history and science will have the force of American law.
In a report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, senators wrote about the proposed legislation requiring the Pentagon to study aerial, undersea, and “transmedium” flying saucers. In the report, they made the unevidenced assertion (unsupported by the classified UFO report supposedly undergirding their efforts) that unidentified transmedium threats are “exponentially” increasing, but the end of their report is the most bizarre:
At a time when cross-domain transmedium threats to United States national security are expanding exponentially, the Committee is disappointed with the slow pace of DoD-led efforts to establish the office to address those threats and to replace the former Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force as required in Section 1683 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. The Committee was hopeful that the new office would address many of the structural issues hindering progress. To accelerate progress, the Committee has, pursuant to Section 703, renamed the organization formerly known as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the Aerial Object Identification and Management Synchronization Management Group to be the Unidentified Aerospace-Undersea Phenomena Joint Program Office. That change reflects the broader scope of the effort directed by the Congress. Identification, classification, and scientific study of unidentified aerospace-undersea phenomena is an inherently challenging cross-agency, cross-domain problem requiring an integrated or joint Intelligence Community and DoD approach. The new Office will continue to be led by DoD, with a Deputy Director named by the Intelligence Community. The formal DoD and Intelligence Community definition of the terms used by the Office shall be updated to include space and undersea, and the scope of the Office shall be inclusive of those additional domains with focus on addressing technology surprise and “unknown unknowns.” Temporary nonattributed objects, or those that are positively identified as man-made after analysis, will be passed to appropriate offices and should not be considered under the definition as unidentified aerospace-undersea phenomena.
That last bit is the kicker. Any object can be identified as something with sufficient evidence, but the Senate intends to remove all identified objects to another office, leaving the UFO office with only those objects for which there is too little evidence to draw a conclusion. Are they setting up the office for failure? Hardly. They seem to be operating under the delusion that “unidentified” is a euphemism and that solid conclusions can derive from ignorance. But more importantly, there is a very practical result, fully intended: The UFO office’s work can never be complete. Because they will investigate only objects for which there is not enough evidence to identify them, it becomes a perpetual make-work program. No matter how many objects they identify and pass off to another office, they can never conclude that the weight of evidence suggests other objects are similarly earthly. Instead, so long as even one lacks evidence to identify it, their work goes on forever.
Why is this a problem?
It’s a problem because the same pro-UFO loons in Congress also decided, apropos of nothing, of course, that they will also require the Pentagon to hire the same team of Skinwalker space ghost loons to study the paranormal on the public dime—forever—according to an anonymous Pentagon “insider” (quite clearly an ally of Elizondo and Travis Taylor) leaking information to the pro-UFO propaganda site Liberation Times. This source claims Congress will require the rehiring of people who worked on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and its report to Congress last year:
This slow-paced and bureaucracy laden organization fails to keep pace with adversarial advancements and Congress is taking the reins to create the UAP Joint Program Office. Congress is requiring the office to be staffed by prior UAPTF members as these DoD and IC individuals were responsible for authoring a tangible report, something AARO has failed to do.
The “individuals” responsible for authoring the UAPTF included Ancient Aliens and Secret of Skinwalker Ranch loon Travis Taylor, who thinks he’s being haunted by a Native American ghost, and Jay Stratton, whom George Knapp reported thinks his family is being haunted by dog-men that followed him home from Skinwalker Ranch. They and their allies, closely connected to longstanding group featuring Elizondo, Hal Puthoff, Jacques Vallée, Garry Nolan, and other ethically compromised true believers with extremely fringe beliefs, are set to return to government, pursuing the same paranormal agenda Puthoff started in the 1970s when he championed spoon-bender Uri Geller. And this time, they can’t be rooted out for bottomless failure since Congress will make their perpetual employment a legal requirement.
Elizondo took credit, for a second time, for this congressional action.
In his Trumpian rhetorical fashion, Elizndo, an aspiring Republican congressional candidate, also called the results of his efforts a “warning shot” and demanded that those who “remain defiant of the will of the American people” to get on board with hunting space aliens or face unspecified consequences.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.