Article by Alejandro Rojas October 23, 2020 (openminds.tv)
• The news has been ablaze with UFO headlines. The US government has been forced to seriously confront the UAP/UFO issue. In fact, The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has requested a public report from the Director of National Intelligence on what has been done thus far with regard to Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon.
• This focus on the UFO phenomenon was the result of a string of media events: a tweet by Sky Hub founder Steve McDaniel followed by a Danny Silva blog; an article by Leslie Kean in The Huffington Post in May 2016; Open Minds UFO Radio interviews of Bryan Bender and NY Times writer Leslie Kean in the summer of 2017; a blockbuster NY Times article in December 2017; a Washington Post op-ed in March 2018; an article by Politico’s Bender in June 2019; a History Channel show; and finally the US Navy authenticating Navy cockpit video of UFOs, admitting that they are for real, and issuing Navy personnel guidelines for reporting them.
• The focus of all of this media attention over the past four years has been former Senate intelligence analyst Chris Mellon and former Pentagon intelligence officer and head of its UFO program, Luis Elizondo. (both are pictured above with Tom DeLonge) It began with Elizondo’s difficulty in being granted a meeting with defense officials to reveal unexplained craft. It would end with Mellon and Elizondo invited to Capitol Hill for high level UFO briefings. “They couldn’t any longer deny it… when they had active-duty pilots and others going on the record,” said Mellon.
• In the documentary “The Phenomenon”, Mellon says his professional interest in UFOs arose from early claims by astronaut Gordon Cooper. Cooper was a part of the famed ‘Mercury Seven’, the first seven US astronauts to go into space. Prior to this, in 1951, Cooper’s squadron of jet fighters had chased a group of round objects that could stop mid-air and make instant 90 degree turns. In 1957, Cooper and his crew at Edwards Air Force base filmed a saucer-shaped object land on a dry lake bed and then take off again. The Air Force sent a courier to collect it. Cooper never saw the film again.
• Just prior to the end of President Clinton’s second term, Clinton told his Secretary of Defense, Michael Cohen, to investigate Cooper’s claims. Cohen assigned the matter to Chris Mellon, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations for The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Mellon would later become the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence for the Senate Committee. Apparently, Mellon wasn’t satisfied with the records that the US Air Force kept on UFOs, including Cooper’s. He was told that most of them had been removed in order to “clean up” or “save space”. Mellon’s curiosity was piqued.
• Mellon retired from the government and joined a UFO monitoring system called UFODATA. Then he learned about the existence of a Pentagon UFO program. The UFO topic “was something that I had always been interested in,” said Mellon. “So, I was surprised to see they had anything organized at all.” Mellon quickly offered to assist Elizondo to help get data of the Nimitz Strike Carrier Group encounter with a UFO/UAP to the Secretary of Defense. The Office of the Secretary of Defense did not want to escalate the issue. “People were still afraid to touch it and afraid to let the secretary even be exposed to the issue,” says Mellon. Even with Mellon’s connections to senior officials in the Department of Defense, they were unable to secure a meeting with the Secretary of Defense.
• Mellon and Elizondo began to consider more drastic measures – to take their information directly to the media and the public in order to force Congress to take some action. They invited Leslie Kean to Washington on October 4, 2017. “I went down and went to Washington, and we spent three or four hours together,” says Kean. “Luis had resigned (his) position literally the day before we met.” “I was shown the videos… (and) was shown documents about Harry Reid’s involvement. [T]he story was kind of laid out for me at this meeting.” “I realized at that point that it was a New York Times level story, given the documentation that was available for the program and for the people involved and everything else,” Kean continued. “And so that’s how it all started.”
• The world was introduced to Mellon and Elizondo on October 10, 2017, with the press conference launch of Tom DeLonge’s ‘To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science’. Elizondo and Mellon had joined ‘To the Stars’ team of former high level UFO investigators. The announcement was accompanied by Kean’s article in The Huffington Post. Still, no one seemed to take notice of Elizondo who claimed that he ran a UFO program despite the government telling us for decades they had no interest in the topic.
• Then in December 2017, Kean along with co-writers Ralph Blumenthal and Helen Cooper, published a blockbuster NY Times article revealing that the Pentagon had run a secretive UFO program from 2007 to 2012 called the ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’ (AATIP). The article’s primary source was Elizondo who claimed AATIP did not end in 2012 and that it continues to this day. The Times article also included two videos allegedly showing infrared camera footage from Navy F-18 fighter jets of a UFO, which Mellon had clandestinely received from an anonymous DoD official in a parking garage. (see previous ExoArticle on this)
• On March 9, 2018, Mellon wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post (see previous ExoArticle here) asking ‘Why Doesn’t the Pentagon Care? “Senators and staffers have been kept in the dark,” said Mellon. “There’s some important unanswered questions here.” Soon thereafter, the US Navy announced new formal guidelines for Navy personnel to report UFO encounters. “There’s no doubt in my mind that that report requirement (by the Navy) would not be in there, wouldn’t exist if we had not been engaged in bringing witnesses forward and advocating this and writing about it and so forth,” said Mellon.
• Mellon called upon Congress to require an ‘all-source study’ by the Secretary of Defense, and promoted research into new forms of propulsion that might explain how these vehicles achieve such extraordinary power and maneuverability, as it pertains to national security. “[H]opefully (this attention) will force the Executive branch to get its act together… establish some accountability and force them to take a position in black and white, as opposed to just giving some briefings.”
• In less than three years, Mellon and Elizondo’s strategy has resulted in the US government admitting they take UAP seriously, reversing their decades-long denials of the fact, and the Senate Intelligence committee taking notice by asking for more information. “It’s a tremendous step forward,” said Mellon. “Regardless of what the phenomenon turns out to be in the end. At least now we can have some faith that a serious effort is going to be made to hold and analyze the data, probably implement a new collection strategy… So it has a lot of potential ramifications, all of them positive.”
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has requested that the Director of National
Intelligence organize research into Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP – aka UFOs) and provide a public report on what has been done thus far. It is an extraordinary move that further legitimizes a topic that has historically been relegated to mythological stories like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. However, the public did not know that there were those in the US military and intelligence communities who took the issue seriously and wanted more to be done to figure out what those UFOs are.
“We have an intelligence community for a reason, partly to support our military, partly to avoid strategic surprise, and the intelligence community was failing on both counts,” former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Chris Mellon told OpenMinds.tv in a recent interview. “The intelligence community was completely unresponsive, completely dropping the ball. I mean, it could be Russian, it could be Chinese, it could be something else.”
Mellon served for ten years as a Staff Director of the SSCI. From 1998 to 1999, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations, and from 1999 to 2002, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
In a recent interview for a documentary called The Phenomenon, Mellon says his professional interest in the topic of UAP began with a request by astronaut Gordon Cooper.
Cooper was a part of the famed Mercury Seven, the first seven US astronauts to go into space. He claims to have had two UFO incidents. The first was in 1951. He claims his squadron of jet fighters chased a group of round objects that could stop mid-air and make instant 90 degree turns. He also claimed that in 1957 a crew he managed at Edwards Air Force base filmed a saucer-shaped object land on a dry lake bed and then take off again. He reviewed the film and reported it. The Air Force sent a courier to collect it. He never saw the film again.
According to Mellon, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, Michael Cohen, tasked him to investigate the matter.
“Astronaut Cooper had spoken with the President,” Mellon says in The Phenomenon. “At a cabinet meeting, he raised this with Secretary Cohen, and then Cohen’s office called me and asked me to pursue this and chase it down.”
“The Air Force colonel that I spoke with got very frustrated, and when I asked him what happened to all of these records,” explained Mellon. “He said, ‘Well, that was all cleaned up or thrown out to save space.’ Something like that. It sounded ludicrous, but that’s what he told me.”
Mellon’s interest in the UFO topic was the focus of an article in The Huffington Post in May 2016 titled Is There a UFO Cover-up? A Government Insider Speaks Out. The article was written by Leslie Kean and was about Mellon joining a group of scientists interesting in developing a UFO monitoring system called UFODATA.
Kean was also one of The New York Times authors, along with Ralph Blumenthal and Helen Cooper, who broke the news in December 2017 that the Pentagon had run a secretive UFO program from 2007 to 2012 called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The article’s primary source was Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official who claims he retired to get more attention to what he felt was important information regarding UFOs. He also claimed AATIP did not end in 2012 and that it continues to this day.
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