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Oke who? -- the Admiral
Maybe sometimes it’s best if we don’t know what they’re working on … [sculpture by Mike Moffett]
The prospects of a private corporation hijacking, monopolizing and concealing technology that could possibly mitigate the environmental horrors we’ve rained on ourselves doesn’t even sound like a half-decent eighth-season X-Files retread. Maybe the new normal is so shell-shocked, nobody even bothers to blink at loud noises anymore. Maybe taxpayers wouldn’t blink even if Congress announced an investigation into a corporate honeypot of exclusivity rights on space-alien hardware. What if the target of that investigation failed to produce so much as a widget or a receipt to account for what happened to all that loot after [pick a single-digit number] decades of raking it in?
Does it even matter anymore?
Public response notwithstanding, a coverup of that magnitude — we’re not alone after all! — would be a crime against science, against human curiosity and knowledge. And certainly indefensible.
Well, the plot may have thickened recently with the release of In Plain Sight, Ross Coulthart’s take on the UFO tiger-tail. From the minor-league peanut gallery here on Florida’s west coast, one passage leaps out. It’s an exchange between the veteran Aussie journo and retired USN Vice Admiral Thomas Wilson.
But first, a little context about what we know for sure:
In 1997, Wilson was Vice Director for the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (VJ2), the prelude to his becoming Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Late that spring, VJ2 huddled behind closed door with Apollo 14 moonwalker Edgar Mitchell, along with a handful of others, to talk UFOs. Four years of crickets later, researcher Steven Greer, who was in on that meeting, decided to spill his version of the beans about what happened.
In 2001, Greer told a crowd how, after conducting his own dead-end research into the dark world, one of the DoD’s most senior insiders had privately confessed to being “horrified” to learn that he, Wilson, couldn’t get a security clearance to review the program. The operation, he supposedly discovered, was in the exclusive domain of a private defense contractor. Greer repeated his claim in a 2006 book, Hidden Truth, Forbidden Knowledge.
The story snoozed until 2019. That’s when 15 pages of alleged notes from yet another Wilson meeting, posted the year before on Imgur, popped into the mainstream after author/historian Richard Dolan gave them some air on YouTube. The papers offered a detailed summary of a lengthy conversation between their purported author Eric Davis, now a senior project engineer with The Aerospace Corporation, and Wilson. That meeting is stated to have occurred in 2002, shortly after Wilson retired from the Navy. The contents, if authentic, are explosive.
In the so-called “Core Secrets” memo, Wilson tells Davis that he learned the name of the contractor conducting locked-down research into recovered ET technology. While declining to identify the company, Wilson, according to the notes, told Davis it was operating outside the traditional special access structure, and virtually without federal oversight.
Upon being stonewalled by the unnamed company’s gatekeepers -- its program director, corporate attorney and security director – Wilson tells Davis that his objection to being cut out of the infoloop had been overruled by the system itself. The referees: the Defense Department’s Special Access Program Oversight Committee (SAPOC). The notes indicate Wilson risked derailing his career if he kept pushing.
Eric Davis, a physicist and long-time Pentagon consultant, has maintained a no-comment posture over the documents’ authenticity. According to the New York Times, however, Davis told a DoD agency in 2020 about the U.S. recovery and possession of “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”
Shortly after Core Secrets went viral, as a reporter with the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, I made a checklist of names in the notes. At the top, obviously, was Admiral Wilson.
Wilson acknowledged in 2019 what he’d confirmed in our first conversation back in ‘08. Yes, he told the SH-T, he’d definitely taken a meeting with Mitchell years earlier. And yes, the topic was UFOs. But Eric Davis? Never met the guy. Wilson called the notes “fiction” and added, “I wouldn’t know Eric Davis if he walked in right now.”
Among the other listed names was Oke Shannon. A Navy veteran and retired Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist, Shannon comes off in Core Secrets as the liaison who introduced Wilson and Davis to each other. The narrative quotes Wilson describing himself as a “Big Oke Shannon fan!”
In a June 30, 2020, email reply to Coulthart, however, Wilson was emphatic: Oke Shannon was as big a zero to him as Eric Davis.
“The entire memo attributed to Dr. Davis, including his characterization of my attitude, emotions and sentiments about other individuals is pure fiction,” Wilson wrote Coulthart. “Many of the people (Oke Shannon, Mike Crawford, Linda, Rich, Doug) he characterizes in the memo as people I interacted with are completely unknown to me, as are the conversations I purportedly had on Special Access Programs related to UFOs with senior officials in the Department of Defence …”
“Completely unknown” was a bit jarring because I interviewed Oke Shannon two years ago, in the aftermath of the Core Secrets splash. He’d sounded apologetic for any role he may have played in making life difficult for Wilson and Davis. “Let’s just leave it at the fact that I do know both of these gentlemen,” he said. “Tom Wilson is an honorable man. And if this has embarrassed Tom Wilson, I am really sorry.”
When contacted over the weekend about Wilson’s contention that Wilson didn’t know Oke Shannon from, well, Eric Davis, Shannon chose his words carefully. “I won’t contradict anything that the admiral said,” he responded from his home in Florida. “I really have no comment on the whole thing.”
In fact, Shannon’s circumspection was reminiscent of Ed Mitchell’s own response in 2008. That’s when I’d informed the ex-astronaut that Wilson denied he’d ever pursued classified UFO data because Wilson was convinced the search would’ve been a waste of time. Mitchell told me he was “shocked” by Wilson’s denial, because that’s not what Mitchell had heard. But he quickly reined himself in: “I do not wish to engage him on this matter.”
This time around, I asked Shannon if it was possible he’d never met Admiral Wilson at all.
Shannon preceded his pause with a chuckle. “Uhh. You know, you’ve heard the term ‘no comment’ many, many times in your reporting career.” True enough. But, I added, you had no reason to fabricate your statement two years ago, and I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t misquoted you. “Um, I know Admiral Wilson,” he replied. “Or I knew him.
“I’ve been out of that world for, oh my gosh, two decades plus. So that’s a past tense. I knew him. That’s all I’ll say about that.” He paused again. “I’m probably a very forgettable person.”
Wilson tried to find some space for Shannon’s assertion when I circled back on Monday. But he remained adamant that he’d never had a meeting with Eric Davis in the parking lot of the EE&G office in Las Vegas, as alleged in Core Secrets, or anywhere else. And he had no recollection of Shannon.
“Is it possible that I, somewhere at some point, crossed paths with somebody named Oke Shannon? Yes, that’s possible,” he said from his home in Virginia. “And it’s possible I wouldn’t remember it because I’ve crossed paths with thousands and thousands of people in the course of my professional life.”
Wilson once again repeated his longstanding position that he had no involvement with or knowledge of any programs, classified or otherwise, dealing with UFOs or UAP. “I suppose it’s possible,” he conceded, that black projects could operate outside traditional lanes because “there are all kinds of special access programs. But I don’t know of any program like the one you’re talking about.”
Wilson did volunteer one area of generic concern regarding a broader Core Secrets scenario: “When money is appropriated by Congress and it’s primarily oriented toward a certain state or a certain district for a certain contractor, you wonder, is this really about trying to find out the truth? Or is it just about getting money into the hands of political supporters? I’m not saying that’s the case, but I would be very worried about it because they really haven’t come up with anything very concrete over the years.”
And that was that.
Anyway, I tried pressing Shannon for details on how and when he met the former DIA chief, but he wouldn’t bite. “No comment.” I tried keeping the chatter going, but the sphinx ended the exchange by slicing an unforgettable ace down the far corner. “Any time you want to talk about the Bible,” he said, “I’ll be happy to discuss that.”
End of story — right?
Props to the hawk-eyed Joe Murgia and Giuliano Marinkovic.