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The day(s) the Earth (sort of) stood still
Legit UFOs don't get shot down -- and that's the problem
A trigger-happy response to Chinese spy balloonery ignites a firestorm of national security questions that are unlikely to be walked back.
The music had been playing through 14 presidential administrations, largely unheard, and there was no reason to believe it would ever stop. But stop it did last weekend, cold, when U.S. warplanes shot down three UFOs on three consecutive days. And history will remember that President Biden was the one left standing without a chair.
Never mind that one of those targets might well belong to balloon-radio geeks in Illinois, or that arcane but real-world explanations are likely in store for the other two mysteries as well. The confusion, hypervigilance and shock triggered by perceived insults to America’s air defenses are unprecedented, and the Executive Office is facing a dilemma unlike any other.
I almost felt pangs of empathy for the rattled messengers during Monday’s White House press conference. Nothing had prepared them for this. What were they supposed to say?
“… there is no, again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.” This was Karine Jean-Pierre. She’s had the White House Press Secretary job for less than a year. “And it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.”
“Would you tell us if there were?” a reporter asked.
The White House press corps laughed during Jean-Pierre’s answer like somebody cut a fart in church. “I loved ET the movie,” she said, as if she didn’t hear it, “but I’m just gonna leave it there.”
Enough already about aliens
“Thanks for clearing that up,” chuckled National Security Council PIO John Kirby as he relieved Jean-Pierre of the microphone. “It makes my job easy.”
Well no, not really. Poor Admiral Kirby. So many contradictory descriptions of the obliterated “objects,” so many questions, so few facts. And will you get a load of those suddenly ballsy newshounds! They got so fixated, Kirby had to remind them to respect the time-honored boundaries. “I don’t think the American people need to worry about aliens with respect to these craft. Period. I don’t think there’s any more to be said there.”
Not now, maybe. But unless those $400,000 Raytheon Sidewinder missiles also include some form of Kryptonite, what should concern the Air Force more than whatever it blasted out of the sky on Feb. 3-5 are those air-safety intruders it can’t possibly shoot down. That’s because UFOs with “five observables”-caliber armor have so far proven invulnerable, and what little they reveal of their capabilities openly mocks the skills and resources of our most elite military pilots. Thankfully, Congress at least for now is no longer willing to settle for Pentagon press releases.
After emerging from a classified intel briefing on the shootdowns, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, raised concerns about the flexibility of the new All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office.
“What bothers me the most is that everyone’s acting like this is the first time we’ve seen these things, and so we acted that way. No, it isn’t,” he declared. “We’ve got hundreds and hundreds of cases reported by military personnel, we’ve been talking about it for years, and there’s a process set up to analyze these immediately. Not six months from now, not a year from now, right away.”
Who’s calling the shots here?
But what bugged him even more was Kirby’s announcement that a new interagency working group, led by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, is going to run point on security matters exposed by the shootdowns. Does that mean Sullivan’s squad will be working its own separate UFO metrics? Rubio seemed to think so:
“I’m concerned right now that (AARO input) is not the process that took place, that we’ve now created a brand new process headed by the National Security Council when we already have an existing process that’s staffed with scientists and experts who have already collected on hundreds of previous incidents almost identical to this one and who could use this data from this incident to compare to those and begin to get answers about who’s flying this stuff here and what it’s doing here.”
Exactly what he meant by “a brand new process” isn’t clear. On Tuesday, both Rubio and AARO co-creator Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told the Wall Street Journal they hoped to correct a “funding disparity” that may be hampering the new agency’s work. By Thursday, she and 15 other senators had itemized bipartisan objections in a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. Among other things, it demanded “a briefing from your offices on your agencies’ plan to implement the dual reporting of AARO to the leadership of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.”
Clearly, nothing is clear right now. Except that the first-ever shoot-down of bogeys operating inside the North American Defense Command umbrella since its inception in 1958 is, according to an MSNBC headline, “scrambling partisan battle lines.” Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) posed a litany of questions that appeared devoid of craven political gain. Among them:
“What in the world is going on? Has the Biden administration just dialed the sensitivity of our radars all the way up? If so, what are these objects that we are just now noticing for the very first time? … Did the right people in the government know about this surveillance threat? Did ODNI and DoD not adequately share intelligence about the growing threat?
“How did we get into a position where the greatest nation in the world doesn’t know what is traversing our own airspace? How long has the domain awareness gap that NORTHCOM commander Gen. VanHerck has identified existed?”
Uhh, like, forever, Mitch, take a number and get in line. By the way, are you just showboating for the cameras or will you actually keep pounding for answers even if queasy defense contractors start waving wads of cabbage in your face?
Let the veterans talk
Watching it all unfold from the sidelines at his home in Colorado is researcher/author Robert Hastings, whose 2008 book UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Facilities has been the subject of renewed and discreet scrutiny as lawmakers begin leaning into the phenomenon’s complexities. He was paying particular attention the other day when former CIA director Leon Panetta weighed in on the Chinese spy balloon’s surveillance of Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
“Look,” said the former spy chief, “to have these balloons hover over a missile site and gather communications and signals, and check our radar, and check our weapon systems, is very sensitive national security information. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Unfortunately, the Chicom balloon is well over half a century late to the disruption dance. Thirteen years ago, four military retirees submitted affidavits describing how energy-sucking UFOs disabled an entire flight of ICBMs at Malmstrom AFB back in 1967. They were among seven USAF veterans Hastings assembled at the National Press Club in 2010 to share their harrowing accounts of UFOs enjoying unmitigated access to America’s missile fields. The press conference was livestreamed by CNN.
Over four decades, Hastings convinced a total of 167 military eyewitnesses to discuss their involvement with high strangeness looming over Strategic Air Command bases across the U.S., mostly in the ‘60s and ‘70s. If you’re plugged into this subculture at all, you’re familiar with some of them – UFOs taking nuclear missiles offline while hovering over silos, tripping launch-countdown sequences, scaring the shit out of airmen who thought they were being spoofed into WWIII.
And that legacy, Hastings predicts, will be the reason AARO, or whoever’s running the UFO Transparency Sector these days, decides to take a pass on delivering a full and honest examination of the issue.
“Well, I’m taking a wait and see attitude, but I can’t believe I’m ever going to read a public report that says that Roswell was real, or that UFOs have been tampering with our nuclear weapons since the 1940s,” he says. “The nuclear thing, I think, is a central part of the coverup, and it’s central to what the phenomenon is up to.
“I mean, whoever’s flying these craft are not playing favorites, because the same thing happened on both sides of the ocean during the Cold War. Still, do you want to be the JCS chair or the president who happens to be in office and has to go on TV and tell the public that unknown forces are tampering with our nuclear weapons on an ongoing basis?”
Most definitely not up for formal discussion on Capitol Hill is Hastings’ second book, Confession: Our Hidden Alien Encounters Revealed. It’s a nonfiction collaboration with USAF veteran Bob Jacobs, who in 1982 went public about photographing the shootdown of an Atlas missile by a UFO off Big Sur in 1964. In Confession, the co-authors write of their separate kidnappings ostensibly at the hands of UFO occupants. Open the door on nukes, Hastings says, and next thing you know, the abduction phenomenon starts banging on the door. And where does that end?
Until that unlikely occasion, Hastings says he hopes the aging Cold Warriors will at least get a chance to unburden themselves in front of official government audiences and fill in the blanks of America’s missing military history. “They served their country,” he says. “We owe them that.”
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