A couple of key points stand out. The first is that the members of To the Stars and the men in their orbit are having a bit of trouble keeping their story straight. Consider Elizondo’s response to the question of where, exactly, the data about the UFOs the Pentagon supposedly tracked ended up:
On the question of whether UFO encounters are genuine, Elizondo has asserted many times, including in his talk to the MUFON audience, that “ultimately the data will speak for itself.” Asked where the data are, Elizondo responds with a variation of the hidden-by-the-deep-state argument. The Pentagon program, he says, commissioned “large volumes” of academic studies and data but much of it is “FOIA-exempt,” he says, meaning that Freedom of Information Act requests yield little information. (The day before the conference began, a Las Vegas TV show obtained a list of what it claimed were several dozen of the studies, including one on “invisibility cloaking” and another on “brain-machine interfaces.”)
So, are the data public or not? Have the studies been seen, or not? How is it that Elizondo could have headed the program but not be able to speak coherently about what the program supposedly produced? The “Las Vegas TV show” referenced above, by the way, is the news broadcast on the local CBS affiliate, where George Knapp, a former associate of Robert Bigelow, the owner of the company Elizondo’s unit contracted to study UFOs, mysteriously obtained a list of studies that Hal Puthoff, a Bigelow contractor and To the Stars executive, had put together. What an amazing coup! The studies did not involve any alien artifacts or proof of alien life, to judge by their theory-based concepts.
The other interesting passage similarly involves Elizondo’s caginess about making the results of the Pentagon’s and To the Stars’ much-hyped “research” public. Right now, it seems that it is too much fun to be able to hint and to imply without saying anything definite. This, of course, has spawned online conspiracy theories, but the grounding is a fair question: Why not spit it out and say what you know, or claim to know?
Elizondo has heard the whispers and read the conspiracy theories on Reddit. “No, I am not running a government disinformation campaign,” he says in an exasperated tone. “I took a huge risk in leaving a safe job to do this. If this doesn’t pan out, I’ll be working at Walmart.”
So why not say something? Surely, if we are speaking of the greatest discovery in the history of exploration—contact with an intelligence from another world—such a revelation needn’t wait for a marketing plan and merchandising. The sticking point seems to be the “data.” The men who have spoken about the “data”—Puthoff, Elizondo, Eric Davis, etc.—have painted a picture of rather unconvincing material: academic studies of hypothetical scenarios, collections of standard-issue UFO sighting reports, and metallic debris grandly imagined to be alien but which has yet to deliver any scientific results indicating manufacture on another world, according to all the data publicly discussed.
Notice, too, that the promise of evidence has slid from the previous grand claims about having physical wreckage from flying saucers made from metamaterials to “data on UFO sightings,” which might be nothing more than the same old UFO reports that have haunted ufology for the past seven decades. As with this week’s video walking back the story of the metametals, once again To the Stars seems to be trying to revise expectations downward without unduly impacting its revenue stream.
The piece concluded with Elizondo saying that he saw Ukrainians at a MUFON conference he attended. He concluded that they must be connected to Ukraine’s archenemy, Russia, and therefore Russian intelligence operatives spying on him to gain his UFO secrets. Even taking his claim at face value, there is a long history of the Russian and Soviet governments, as well as the U.S. government, examining UFO reports for insights into the other country’s advanced military and space programs, since both used UFO reports as a convenient cover for test flights and to obscure failures.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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