In late 2017, the UFOlogy and conspiracy circles were somewhat vindicated by the not-so-surprising revelation that the Pentagon operated a secret research program to investigate anomalous aerial phenomenon. While some of us are beginning to believe that those so-called “revelations” about the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, may actually be a smokescreen or publicity stunt, the program’s former director Luis Elizondo continues to hint that more secrets will soon be revealed.
The latest revelation about Pentagon UFO research didn’t come from Elizondo or anyone else at the “To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences,” but instead were brought to light by Keith Basterfield at the blog “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - Scientific Research.” With so many headlines being written about the Pentagon’s UFO research program, Basterfield began digging through older texts and documents to see if AATIP might be the tip of a much older iceberg.
Basterfield may have found something, if his sources are to be taken at their words. After re-reading the 1990 book Out There by New York Times reporter Howard Blum, Basterfield discovered a few anecdotes concerning Major General James C. Pfautz, Chief of Air Force Intelligence who oversaw a $5 million UFO research program within the Pentagon.
According to Blum’s book, the program ran from 1983 to 1985 and was kept off the Air Force’s official books to hide its massive price tag. Pfautz reportedly told Blum that the program was established to study and identify the many anomalous phenomena the Air Force regularly encounters as it carries out its principal mission of protecting America’s skies:
In 1983, six months after taking command of Air Force Intelligence [Pfautz] decided to investigate the heavens. To Pfautz's way of thinking, the decision to establish this secret UFO task force was not that extraordinary. The primary job of the Air Force of the United States of America was to protect and defend the airspace of this country. No intrusions could be tolerated. It was his job, he reasoned, to investigate whether unidentified objects of any sort, of any origin, were penetrating this airspace. He was simply fulfilling the responsibility of his office.
According to anonymous sources Blum cites, Pfautz was invited to address the Defense Intelligence Agency's alleged “UFO Working Group” which went by the characteristically uninteresting name “Advanced Theoretical Physics.” While addressing the group, Pfautz is said to have become emotional in describing the threats Earth faces from unknown phenomena, even going so far as to suggest attempting to forge an alliance with the extraterrestrial beings visiting Earth.
Pfautz was eventually outed from his leadership post at Air Force Intelligence for what can be described as political reasons. Blum writes that Pfautz had initially agreed to a private interview with him to discuss the program, but cancelled suspiciously at the last minute after allegedly being notified that the program’s research remained classified. The fate of the alleged program is ultimately unknown, but it could be that it in some ways morphed into the more recent AATIP.
What’s to be made of Howard Blum’s tale? On one hand, this is merely an unconfirmed anecdote, but then again Blum is one of the most respected journalists in America and has published several New York Times best-selling works of non-fiction including Out There. Could this 1990 book contain one more crumb of truth which suggests our government may actually know more about anomalous aerial phenomena than they’re letting on? Be sure to head over to Basterfield's blog and read the full account for yourself.