An Official Presentation on the History of AATIP and Current State of Affairs
August 30, 2018
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"What I'd like to do tonight is just briefly go over a little bit about the program. A little bit of the history, what it is, what it isn't. Then maybe, where do we go next? What do we do? As you see here, Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program; it is indeed aerospace. I know some folks that said aviation, some folks at the Pentagon said aviation. I can assure you here tonight, it is indeed Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, AATIP.
Some of the documentation that has come out, not from me, that was authored by members of Congress you will see quite clearly back in 2009, it is indeed called AATIP, Advanced Aerospace. Now, why is that important? I don't know, maybe it's not important. But I do think it's important that when we're here talking about facts, that's a fact. I think it's important that we all talk the same language.
In this particular case, the program actually began from another program. We're going to get into that tonight. This is the contract focused for AATIP. Pretty heavy stuff. No, we weren't looking at balloons. No, we weren't looking at drones. We weren't looking at aircraft. This is real. This is what your $22 million worth of tax money was spent on and there's a lot of it. I'll give you a minute to take a look at it, some of the highlights there, human effects. What does that mean? Signature reduction? I mean, a lot of the stuff you would look and say, "Yeah, this is definitely DOD-centric. This is something that the Department of Defense National Security Apparatus would definitely be interested in." Some of this other stuff you've got to kind of scratch your head and say, "Well, is that a DOD mission?"
I would submit to you yes, absolutely it is. Especially when you're trying to protect airmen and when you try to protect sailors and soldiers. My focus before I go to the next slide was to focus on Title 10, which means DOD-specific. There's a big difference between looking at DOD folks and looking at the rest of the world. When they ask you, did you talk to civilians? Did you talk to these people? No, we didn't. We focused on military. And by the way, that was a lot. It's not like this happens ones and twosies. There was a significant amount of volume just focusing on that.
I'd like to go back to that slide for just a second. Let's look at the very bottom where we say; investigate legitimacy of currently observed phenomena. This is briefed to the senior levels of the Department of Defense. We choose our words very carefully. They are deliberate. We write words on purpose because they mean something. When you're saying investigate the legitimacy of currently, not in the past, currently observed phenomena, that's what we were doing.
And again, we'll open this up for questions if anybody has any. I'm sure they'll be some questions on the slides. Then of course at the bottom, are they achievable by current understanding of physics and engineering? And if not, what research, studies is required in order to achieve that?
What does all those studies really distill down to? A lot of you have heard about the five observables. Well, what you really are looking at ... I'm not sure if this has a laser pointer. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. I'm not going to try. If you look at the top left, you're talking about instantaneous acceleration. You've heard that a lot, but why from a DOD perspective would that be something important? Well, as you see here thrust vectoring, G-force protection for pilots, maneuverability, enhanced maneuverability. The ability to take an aircraft from point A to Point B and then back to point A again very quickly without having any ill-effects on the human inside. The next one is hypersonic velocity. Again, from a DOD perspective, you can imagine why that would be important. That means I can get my people and equipment very quickly anywhere in the world, enemy invasion they can't go as fast as me and then, first strike capability in a strategic type environment. Better to know that if you're going to go to war with an enemy, that you can strike first.
The other one is low observability. It's kind of falling off the slide there but you have to trust me, it says low observability. A bit of an oxymoron when we say it's inobservable, but it was. From a DOD perspective, why would that be important? I want to go back to my ... There we go. Reduced cross-section. If you lower your observability, you're lowering your cross-section.
Survivability, if they can't see you they can't hit you. And then anonymity. Maybe you don't necessarily want to advertise that you're coming in somewhere or that you're going to do something. This new stealth aircraft and this new stealth helicopter that everybody talked about on the Bin Laden raid. Whoa, whose is that?
Multi-medium travel. Why would that be important? Again, you see here there is some strategic surprise meaning you now have an object that can operate in air, water, space. Probably gives you some target flexibility. And a last but not least, battle-space dominance meaning you can operate in virtually all environments, any time, anywhere. Then the last one is positive lift. Of course, why would that be important? As we see here, we're looking at flight perception. I do not have to be moving like an aircraft to generate lift under my wings. That would be a tremendous benefit. Loiter capability, I can stay on time, on target for longer. Then last but not least, decreased signature. So, you can see these focus areas are really DOD-centric. They are part of the core DOD mission both from a defensive and offensive perspective. This is how those fives observables that we saw the commonalities if you will, how they fit within the DOD mission because some people will ask you, "Why was DOD looking at this? Shouldn't NASA be looking at it?" Well sure, NASA could look at it but so should we. Next slide please I guess that's me. I'm hearing whispers behind the curtain, "That's you."
The next few slides are a little bit of AATIP history here. I'm not going to read word for word but what I'm going to do is just paraphrase. There were three senators. Senator Reid, Senator Inouye, Senator Stevens. Bipartisan Republican and Democrat. They all agreed that there was sufficient information to warrant increased study into the phenomena. They along with Senator John Glenn, former astronaut got together and they began to scratch their heads and figure out, what is the best way to do it? Well in Congress, you give money to an organization that's capable of doing something with it. In this case, the money was provided to an organization called the Defense Intelligence Agency. It's kind of like the CIA equivalent for DOD.
It went to this small little office and the initial contract vehicle was called AAWSAP; Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Application Program. A lot of folks will say, "Well, Leu when you first came out, why didn't you just tell us that?" Well, the reason is because I wasn't really part of that and that's really not my place to discuss a mission and an organization that I was really walking into the tail end. I was brought in to conduct counterintelligence and security for an organization that was in the process of evolving into something else.
There was another director running that program, so it would be disingenuous for me to simply say, "Well AATIP is really AAWSAP." Well, it evolved from AAWSAP but is not AAWSAP and I think the documentation that's beginning to come out into the public forum, people are beginning to realize that. It wasn't a purpose attempt to try to subdue or to hide or conceal the relationship, I just wasn't really qualified to talk about it. What I don't want to do is, hopefully you're beginning to learn here, is provide information that I'm not qualified to discuss with you.
There's two ground rules a far as I'm concerned involving this program. I'll answer any question you have, but there's something I can't discuss, which is classified information. Don't ask me I'm not going to tell you and if it's requires a classified answer, I am not going to violate my oath nor my non-disclosure agreement with the US government. But, short of that I'll answer it and if I don't have an answer, I'm going to tell you I don't have an answer and I don't know.
I'll be completely as forthcoming as I can because there are things I don't know. In fact, there's a lot more I don't know than I do know, but that's okay. That's what we have to continue to seek to find the answers and collect the data because ultimately the data will speak for itself. The truth, she's funny. She always speaks, sometimes she whispers so you have to listen real carefully. But if you listen hard enough, you can hear her speak.
So, that's a little bit of the history on this slide here. In 2008 the program was really only AAWSAP for a very, very short period of time. Oh, laser pointer, thank you. I might hurt myself with this. Thank you. As you see here in towards the end, in 2008 the program was already beginning to evolve. The original AAWSAP portfolio was much broader than the AATIP.
The decision was made early on that we would go ahead and focus the effort more to the phenomena-specific, looking at the observables and the identifiable. What can we look at? What can we collect on? What can we report on back to senior DOD leadership? Because, that's what they're concerned with and try to remove as much speculation, supposition and innuendos as possible out of the calculus.
So, more history. As you see here, the 2008 through 2009 there's a lot of collection going on, a lot to the point where we're almost becoming overloaded with the results and the data. It's becoming quite clear to us that there is much more to this portfolio than we envisioned. I suspect when you look at this 2009 congressional letter sent to DOD leadership, Congress was aware of that too, to the point where we were worried there may be a potential counterintelligence threat. Maybe there were foreign adversaries that were interested in what we were collecting. That's how much we were collecting.
You see down here, 2009 specific elements in DOD resist the effort. This is a detail I really haven't talked about much. You know, everybody handles this information differently and in the department is no different than out here in the public forum. People have their ideas, they have their preconceived notions, they have their bias and they have their belief systems. By no means do I have the right or the qualifications to tell anybody what they should or should not believe in.
But, there are some people who have a great deal of conviction. Just as you have conviction right now in the UAP, UFO phenomenon, they have equal conviction from a theological perspective and their own. And by the way, that contradicts with what we were trying to do for better or for worse. I'm not saying that's good, I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just saying it's a fact that there were elements within the department that rigorously opposed what we were trying to do. Not because the results were not real, but because it contradicted their view. That's all I got to say about that. 2013 through 20147. You see where they say some folks have said in the past ... And by the way, the Department of Defense is a fantastic organization, true patriots. These are folks that give their ... They sacrifice their families, livelihood and their life to defend us. So, this is not necessarily a hit on the Department. But, sometimes the Department ... It's a big organization. Sometimes they don't necessarily have all the data in front of them all the time.
And so when they said the program ended in 2012, well the funding was actually to 2013. After 2013, there were some other funding vehicles that were done to get it through 2013 and 2014. Now, I won't go into detail what happened with those fundings. The funding actually came through. It actually wound up getting rerouted to another organization because the language was vague and so therefore, we were forced to continue the program on minimal funds.
Now, people say, "Well the funding dries up, so does the organization and the program." That's not true. How many of you have ever served in the military or are serving in the military? Show of hands real quick. Have ever served, fantastic. You know as a good soldier, when you were given a mission you were given an order to guard your post, you guard your posts until you are relieved of that responsibility. Well, that order never came for us and in the Department of Defense there's always a paper trail.
When you establish an organization, there's a paper trail. When you disestablish an organization, there's a paper trail. You won't find one for this program. I think that's very important that people understand, that the program never really went away. Sure funding for the 2013 went away, but the program never went away. We were never told, "You no longer have to guard your post." 2017, some guy makes a decision to I guess leave the Department of Defense and have some conversations on October 4th 2017, the rest is history.
Let's go into a little bit about what AATIP is. AATIP evolved from AAWSAP, that is absolutely true. AAWSAP existed for a short period of time under another director to focus on the you UAP-specific capabilities and concentrated on the what and how interrogatives. Not the who, not the when but, what is it and how does it work? That's it. If we could accomplish that, hopefully smarter people in the department could figure out who's behind the wheel, what are their intentions, where they from et cetera.
AATIP was comprised of US government contractor and military personnel, that's fact. Everybody hears about Bigelow Aerospace. That is a true statement. We worked with academics, we worked with the services, we worked with certain elements in the intelligence community. We worked with anybody and everybody with a military nexus that we could talk to that could provide some information. Cast a wide net.
AATIP commissioned large volumes of related research data, academic studies and collected data even from the field, true statement. Volumes and volumes of information. I cannot go into detail specifically on what some of that is because it remains some of it classified. I believe two days ago a laundry list of some of our studies had come out, I'll be it one of them was classified. I can tell you that that is a correct list. That is a true list of academic studies. If you get a chance to review them, I think you'll agree that once again we're not really talking about balloons.
Much of AATIP information remains FOIA exempt. FOIA exempt, what do you mean? Everything's FOIA-able. No it's not, exceptions one and five. Why would you mark information FOIA exempt? Well, for one so the adversary never gets a chance to see it. People say, Well if AATIP existed, I should be able to FOIA it." Not necessarily. Some of the documents that were released as a result, if you take a look at a recent letter that supposedly came from Senator Reid, on the very last page at the very bottom you're going to see a really interesting little word, words actually. It says FOIA exempt, that's right. We use that sometimes. Now, we don't use it to keep a secret from the American people. In fact, that's the illegal. What we do is, we use it to keep it out of the hands of foreign adversaries and it is an effective tool. So, keep in mind a lot of the counter argument as well. You're keeping this secret from the American people. That is not the case. If we had a mechanism where we could inform every American citizen and ensure it didn't get out into enemy hands, we would do it.
The government doesn't try to keep secrets from you, it tries to keep secrets from the enemy and there's no way to tell 500 million people in one geographic region and not let that get out somewhere else. That is why a lot of this information you see is FOIA exempt. Now, is it the right thing to do? Is it the wrong thing to do? I don't know. I don't know. Is it an effective mechanism? Absolutely it is. What AATIP isn't. This is just a small sample of things that we have heard over time that people have speculated upon. Let me see if I can just address it head on. AATIP ended in 2012. Well, I think it's pretty clear that didn't happen. AATIP found nothing of significance. Not true. In fact, I think the mere fact that we even have the five observables and we can have an honest conversation about the physics shows that we did achieve something.
And when I say we folks, I'm not saying me, not Luis Elizondo. I'm talking about the fantastic human beings that I left behind at the Department of Defense. Those are the true heroes. Those are the folks that still remain back there anonymous, working day in day out making this happen. So, AATIP did find a lot of things of significance. AATIP was a political favor.
Let's get this straight; by the way for the record, I'm apolitical. I don't care in you're Republican, Democrat, independent; don't know don't care. My job is to serve whoever is in charge at the time. My job is also to serve you the American people, the taxpayer. You employ me so therefore, my loyalty is to you. As a result people say, "Well, this was something that Senator Reid did as a favor to one of his constituents Bob Bigelow."
I saw this process work. By the way, Bigelow Aerospace was chosen by none other than DIA. And by the way, a formal contract selection committee. The senator had nothing to do with it. In fact, he could not get involved with it. I think that's an important distinction because people ... In the absence of information, in that void, we as human beings have a tendency to fill that void with either what we know, what we think and even sometimes, what we don't know.
I want to make sure it's very clear that it was not a political favor. It was a bipartisan effort by both Democrats and Republicans. All of them serve their country honorably. All of them had served in the military. Senator Inouye literally gave his right arm for his country. Senator Stevens what is now coming to light actually witnessed one of these things when he was a pilot. I think if we're going to have a conversation about political favors, we at least need to speak truth to power when we have a conversation.
AATIP was only academic. Yeah, we produced a lot of academic studies and we commissioned a hell of a lot of reports. But that's not all. AATIP was involved with actually speaking with individuals, collecting electro-optical data, collecting radar data, talking to the eyewitnesses. These eyewitnesses are people keep in mind to have security clearances. They are trained observers.
In some cases we have spent millions of dollars into their training. Whether they're special operations, whether they're pilots, where they're intelligence officers, they have been paid to be critical thinkers and they have been trained to look at a silhouette and determinate that's a MiG-25, a MiG-29, it's in a 90 degree roll and it's at 200 kilometers in front of me traveling at 200 knots. These are some of the data points that we used when collecting the data and analyzing this information.
AATIP leaked the videos. First of all let's go into a quick legal definition of "leaking". Leaking means you take classified information and you provide it in an unauthorized manner. It goes out to the public. That's a leak. That is not the case. First of all, these videos went through a proper classification review process. The documentation at some point will probably come out, I'm not going to provide it. That's not my job. You want it, get it from the government. They released it.
They authorized, let me get this straight, they authorized the release of those videos and they did it in writing. Now why they did it, you'd have to bring it up to them. I know the purposes that we wanted for them to come out and that was to establish an unclassified community of interest that everybody could be part of, look at and say, "Hey, I saw something like that too." But, no one leaked these videos. If that was the case, I would be in a orange jumpsuit right now and I do not look good in orange so believe me. AATIP is a ploy for the administration's new space force. I don't even know where to begin with that. No. Now, could it be used to bolster that argument? Sure, okay. In the end if it helps us, go ahead, use it. I don't care, I think that's great. You want to say that the UAP studies is now helping us create a space for so we can go ahead look at this problem seriously? Sign me up, sure.
Again, here we go into the habit of filling in information voids with things that we don't know. I don't know why the administration is creating a space force. Maybe it's a good idea, maybe it's not such a good idea. I don't know. I think ultimately it's up to voters to decide. You make the decision if it is or not.
But I will tell you, if our humble little program AATIP helped inform that decision and they are going to come back and fund this program in a robust manner, we're going to look at it logically, we're going to look at it with the best scientists and intelligence officers and critically really look at this. I mean alternative analysis. Healthy skepticism, but of course alternative analysis. If it's going to help that, let's do it, sure. So, what's happening now? Why are we here? Well, why are we all here? The conversation has finally moved folks from the fringe. Congratulations, you've succeeded. If you were to ask me eight months ago that I'd be standing up here and having this conversation and briefing you this, no way. I'd say we're five years away from even getting close to this. So, my how things have moved so quickly.
Now, I understand people are impatient, I'm impatient. My daughter will tell you if she's right here in the audience. I'm impatient, I don't like to wait. I want my information now. But as I've told people before, there is a difference between giving you information right versus giving you information right now. They're not always necessarily the same. I'd rather give you information right versus right now.
So, it is important that we do our due diligence. It's important that when we are looking at the data that we analyze it, we quantify it, we qualify it and do all the things necessary so by the time we present it ... It's like a court of law. You don't want a chief prosecutor talking to the jury with a half-baked case. That's a dereliction of duty. It is incumbent, it's their professional responsibility to make sure they get it right. Here is the data as best as we know it to be as of now. Can we go back with those slides real quick? I think we may have ... Okay. Don't look now, people are now having a conversation over the dinner table. Mainstream media has talked about this several times. They're getting. Takes a little while, but they're having a conversation. Now all the people say, "Hey, we thought you guys were crazy." Maybe you're right. So, we've come a long way.
AATIP focus areas remain relevant still to both national security and to humanity. That's why we're here right? What's it say here? I think to the future of humanity? I'd like to talk about that for a minute, national security. Well, if you have something that can fly in and out of your air space undetected, you can't stop it, you don't know how it works. Is that a threat? I don't know. Is it a threat?
The fact that we can't answer that, we have to presume there's a possibility it could be a threat. I would submit to you, you want us to think that way. That is national security. You don't want us assuming that something is not a threat without all the data points. That is not what we pay the Department of Defense to do.
Humanity, relevant to humanity. I've said this before, I don't know the impact this has to humanity and what we should do about it. That's a decision you all need to make. My job's simple; collect the truth, tell the truth. That's it, not hard.at least I don't think it was hard. It's hard. But, really the heavy lifting here is you all because you're the ones that have to tell national leadership what you want. You're the ones that vote. You're the ones that sit there and call congressmen and senators and say, "I want action." So, I think the effects on humanity is, it does have effect but ultimately that story is still being written. How this story ends is really dependent on you. TTSA and others are creating the environment for elements within the executive and legislative branch to have the discussion. People have asked, "What are you doing?" Well, we're doing what we can. Does TTSA have contacts and connections? Probably, but I also understand the need for privacy. I also understand and respect the need to give people an operational safe space to collect information and make an informed decision without necessarily unnecessary political pressure. We have to give people trade space.
Time will be necessary to allow leadership proper awareness and assessment. You cannot digest a seven course meal in 10 minutes folks. It takes time. Some of you had decades involved in this. What you know to be a fact, people are just now hearing it for the very first time. As crazy as that may seem, it's true. For some folks the article that came out in The New York Times is the very first time they've ever actually even considered this topic. Let alone our leadership, let alone our lawmakers.
So, I think you are well on the way of getting what you're seeking. I think we have tremendous momentum like never before. I think the efforts with organizations such as MUFON, now is not the time to throttle back. Now is the time to push the throttle all the way forward. That's what I think. If you are looking for government to giving you acknowledgment and just give you full disclosure, I'll tell you right here and now that the government's job is not the satisfy idle curiosity. That's not the function of the government.
I know we want it to be, but that's not the case. The purpose of the government is to defend this country from all enemies foreign and domestic. Now, if there's information out there that could be helpful in doing so, they're going to be involved. If there's information out there that doesn't really relate to that mission but could be helpful to us, well, that's where we get involved. That's how we can help. Let's go back to this, there we go. Organizations like the TTSA are developing initiatives like the community of interest data repositories and information sharing. Information sharing, don't think of it as just being here. Information sharing is international, it is global. As we have seen before, there's many nations here represented. That is exactly what we need to continue to do both as a society and as a government, in my opinion anyways.
I think getting over the finish line, if there's really such a thing as a finish line. There might not be. This might be an enduring effort and if you're looking for the satisfaction that I can say, "I made it," that day may never come. Maybe it does, but that may never come. Maybe the satisfaction of knowing that people can finally have the conversation at the dinner table, that can turn on CNN, Fox News, BBC or what else and people are having conversations with reputable experts and they're funding programs to look into it, maybe that's success. I mean, we all have our different definition of what success is.
Okay, last but not least. My purpose here was simply to give you a broad overview, kind of dispel some of the myths. We could sit here all night and talk about AATIP. I get it and I'm happy to do so. I don't think Jan or you all would appreciate that, but there's a lot more to this. Before I open it up to questions I want to say one last thing. I am confident and I'm cautiously optimistic that in the next year we are going to have a fundamentally different conversation than we're having today.
I think there's going to be additional fidelity to a lot of the things that have come out recently that are going be able to ... having sound trouble. That are going to help us have a better understanding of what it is we're actually seeing here."
Luis Elizondo TTS Academy Special Programs Director
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