“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers” — Thomas Pynchon
The 15-page document entered into the Congressional Record by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) during last May’s Capitol Hill UFO hearing has been called a lot of things: Core Secrets, the Wilson Memo, the Davis Memo, The Smoking Gun, The Leak of the Century, etc. Garnished and drizzled with names, dates, places and times, it has the feel and texture of exactly what it purports to be – notes from a conversation between two defense/intelligence insiders discussing the hijacking of America’s blackest secret by a private corporation.
If legit, no wonder Gallagher saw fit to put it out there for anyone to study, because it’s not just about a UFO coverup. More ominously, it’s about the surreptitious and open-ended corruption of our democratic architecture, the sabotage of checks and balances, the perpetuation of the blank check and an institutional contempt for lawmakers who’ve been blindly writing those checks, year after year, administration after administration, decade after decade after decade. If legit, it means the granddaddy of all American conspiracy theories is true. It means we’ve all been scammed, crimes of incalculable impact are ongoing, and every bit of it is padlocked behind the flag of national security.
Debates over Core Secrets have been underway since the summer of 2019, when they exploded online via Imgur. They’re the alleged transcripts from an October 16, 2002, rendezvous outside the EG&G complex in Las Vegas, involving physicist Eric Davis and retired Vice Admiral Thomas Wilson. According to the storyline, Wilson has just left the Pentagon as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Davis has been pursuing exotic propulsion systems and wormholes, and has just come off extended field research on “phenomenology” at Robert Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.
In the notes, Wilson confides to Davis how, in 1997, acting on a tip from disclosure activist Steven Greer and moonwalker Edgar Mitchell, he tried to get a look at secret federal UFO projects. Ultimately, Wilson tells Davis, he was notified that his status as Vice Director of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t pass muster – he was rebuffed because he didn’t have an acceptable “need to know” agenda. Doing the rebuffing were the project manager, security director and the corporate attorney for an unnamed defense contractor. However, the three amigos did concede that their secret labs were in fact “reverse engineering” technology “not of this Earth, not made by man, not of human hands.”
Can you keep your mouth shut?
Rightfully apoplectic over the snub, Wilson tells Davis he implored members of the Pentagon’s Special Access Programs Oversight Committee (SAPOC) to please overrule these corporate suits and let him in. Wilson says SAPOC defended the contractor instead. And that meant one of America’s most elite intelligence officials, boasting myriad security clearances, had no right to see how taxpayer money was being spent behind closed door. Wilson says SAPOC told him if he didn’t stand down, he’d lose his promotion to DIA chief.
Wilson also has a warning for Davis: “If you blow my trust I’ll deny meeting you, deny everything said, won’t meet with anymore people (without clearances) to talk about this topic – too risky because of security violation just by mentioning it …”
Davis reassures Wilson that he’s a team player who “will keep mouth shut, etc. etc.”
If this Leak of The Century is a hoax, injecting that secret pact into the narrative is a brilliant stroke, because that’s exactly how the script has played out ever since. For the last 20 years, Davis has kept a lid on the alleged encounter, and declines to comment on his implied authorship of the notes. Wilson has been consistent as well. He has denounced those notes as “fiction,” and says he “wouldn’t know Eric Davis if he walked in the room right now.”
The real beauty of this document package is its details, and the wealth of leads those details generate. One trail led to retired USAF Gen. Joe Ralston, who belonged to SAPOC when SAPOC supposedly rejected Wilson’s appeal. The former Joint Chiefs Vice Chair gave himself a little wiggle room when asked about it. “I don’t recall specifically anything about that in 1997. It could’ve happened,” he allowed, “I just don’t know.”
Ralston was, however, adamant about at least one thing in recounting his morning briefings from Wilson, each and every day. “I know Tom very well and we worked very closely together and I have great respect for Tom. But never, ever, in my time with Tom,” Ralston insisted, “do I recall discussing UFOs with Tom Wilson.”
But feel free to call back …
Some sources handled the cold call better than others. Take Paul Kaminski – I managed, barely, to keep him talking for maybe five minutes in 2019.
Kaminski’s name surfaced in Core Secrets as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. He was the guy Wilson allegedly contacted after the admiral discovered the name of the corporation handling the reverse-engineering contract. Core Secrets says Kaminski confirmed the name of the company for Wilson.
“I don’t think I knew Admiral Wilson. I don’t recall him,” replied the retired colonel and former USAF director for Low Observables Technology. Although Kaminski said he wasn’t aware of any secret UFO research, he flashed the plausible deniability card.
“I wasn’t aware of all programs. So it’s certainly possible there was something that was special access and there wasn’t a need to know. And there are always tradeoffs in that. Unfortunately,” he added, “I don’t have any knowledge to convey about this one.”
Kaminski said he had a conference call to attend to, and that I could try to get back with him later. I tried later and kept getting screened out.
I followed a Reddit post to a name that wasn’t mentioned in Core Secrets. The anonymous online sleuths wondered who, exactly, was the “Senior Review Group Chairman,” the specific guy who threated to derail Wilson’s career if he kept pushing for UFO access. They deduced the position would’ve been held by the Principal Deputy of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Occupying that chair during the relevant time frame in 1997 was Noel Longuemare who, following Kaminski’s retirement that year, temporarily and simultaneously held Kaminski’s title as well.
Longuemare passed the buck in an email. “There was a high level Senior Review Group (not 100% on the title) chaired by the DepSecDef,” he wrote, “that had higher level Executive Oversight of a selected number of key DoD programs and activities.” While holding those dual positions, Longuemare declared, he said he didn’t remember the topic of UFOs ever being raised. He did, however, go out of his way to praise the late Aviation Week editor/scurrilous debunker Philip Klass for doing “very credible work” on UFOs.
So far, the Most Awkward Moment prize in the Core Secrets controversy goes to former Los Alamos National Lab physicist Oke Shannon. “Love Oke Shannon!” Wilson raves in Core Secrets. However, the admiral maintains he doesn’t know the guy. Maybe he met him once in passing somewhere, but nope, a total stranger, Oke Shannon.
Portrayed in Core Secrets as the connective tissue between Davis and Wilson, Shannon found himself a mite flummoxed at being disremembered. “Let’s just leave it at the fact that I do know both of these gentlemen. Tom Wilson is an honorable man. And if this has embarrassed Tom Wilson,” Shannon said. “I am really sorry.”
More recently, however, two additional characters cited in Core Secrets are disputing those notes as well.
Rich and Doug weigh in
Richard Cohn and Doug Nousen, described only as “Rich & Doug” in Core Secrets, belonged to the Association of Former Intelligence Officers’ new Las Vegas chapter in 2002. They worked together professionally with the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.
According to the notes, after having retired three months earlier, Wilson was in Nevada “to wrap up test site projects” on a tab footed by the National Nuclear Security Agency; as long as he was in Las Vegas, “Rich/Doug” invited him to be a guest speaker for an AFIO fundraiser. According to Core Secrets, Rich/Doug were acquainted with Davis via his unspecified affiliation with AFIO, and both had vouched for Davis’ credentials and character prior to the meeting with Wilson. Not insignificantly, Davis was between gigs at the time.
The notes depict Wilson as impressed with Davis’ background, adding this quote from the admiral to boot: “Rich/Doug told me I should talk to you [Davis] about DIA careers, discuss history, mission, my career in that, etc.” Core Secrets also imply Rich told Davis to meet Wilson at EG&G.
Maybe the AFIO membership included two other guys named Rich and Doug, because Cohn and Nousen disavow any familiarity with Wilson or their roles in facilitating a meeting between Davis and the admiral. What red-flagged the notes for them was the suggestion that they would vouch for a man they barely knew.
“I put out a call for people who were members (of the AFIO) living in the Las Vegas area to gather and discuss organizing a chapter. (Davis) showed up for that – it was around 2002,” says Cohn. “It’s doubtful that I would be in a position to vouch for him because, when it comes to attesting to whether or not someone is trustworthy enough to be in a position of trust to the government, I did not know him that well. I only knew him from the standpoint of the work that he did or the volunteerism for the chapter of AFIO in Las Vegas.
“I did not know him personally, only from a social setting beyond meetings of the chapter. I mean, if I was to be contacted by somebody who wanted to do a background investigation, I’d have to decline. I’m not in a position to vouch for that.
“And again, I’m not familiar at all with the admiral and I’m also not familiar with the alleged meeting that took place between Dr. Davis and the admiral. I don’t know who facilitated such a meeting or what was discussed or any nature of it. If it happened, it was done without my knowledge.”
Ditto, writes Nousen. “I do recall Eric’s name and may have even met him with Rich concerning official DOE business, but nothing dealing with anything I read (in Core Secrets) concerning Wilson, special projects, etc.,” Nousen states in an email. Nousen considers the idea of preparing background information on Davis “far outside my job description or something I would consider doing . . . Having worked with DIA at times during my career, it is not an organization you recommend someone to lightly.”
As for Wilson: “Not sure who Wilson is, although a familiar last name.”
Last week, in order to keep critics from crabbing about the seven-weeks-late UFO status report to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon plucked a town-hall gimmick out of its hat. Its All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office convened a handpicked selection of journalists to address in vague meaningless generalizations about how well our federal institutions are working together to solve this doggone UFO/UAP mischief once and for all. That sterile gesture put the ball back where it’s always been – in Congress’ court. Not much light ahead there, with investigations of Jewish Space Lasers likely topping the next session’s revenge agenda.
There is one remaining glimmer of hope. The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act passed both chambers last week, and the provision dealing with UAP accountability includes critically important protections for whistleblowers. Lawmakers need to test the fiber of the new law and start putting people under oath, ASAP. Core Secrets is one of the most lavish distractions in the long history of UFO frauds, or a diamond bullet to the heart of the rot; either way, the fortunes of the UFO debate shouldn’t and will not reside with the authenticity of the material. But the restoration of trust in the system, and its competence, can begin with a fair hearing on this thing. In public.
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Billy, you remain my favorite writer on this subject. Your prose is lively and your analysis is spot on. Both Ross and I salute your commitment.
Is it overly simplistic to surmise that behind all the acronyms, the dissembling, the Sergeant Schultzian denials, the principal motivation for all of this is: "I've GOT to get ME one of those! (before the other guy does.)"