May 30, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

Pentagon Hasn’t Released UFO Report Yet but the Court Battles Have Already Begun

Many custody battles are bitter and eventually the parents end up in court. The battle over custody of the files detailing US government investigations of UFOs is about to enter the court phase. One parent is Luis Elizondo, the former Department of Defense employee who claims to have headed a secret UFO investigation group inside the department known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) and knows more about the files than anyone else. The other parent is the Pentagon, which is upset at how Elizondo has treated the files – i.e., talking about them in public, demanding their release on top media platforms -- and wants him to cease his quest for custody. Like any custody battle, both sides have made disparaging comments about the other and tried to undermine them. It’s tough to fight City Hall … even tougher to fight the federal government, but Elizondo comes dressed for battle, even if some of his backups no longer have his back. Who will win this custody battle? Who will ultimately win this custody war?

“What he is saying is there are certain individuals in the Defense Department who in fact were attacking him and lying about him publicly, using the color of authority of their offices to disparage him and discredit him and were interfering in his ability to seek and obtain gainful employment out in the world. And also threatening his security clearance.”

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Luis Elizondo

According to POLITICO, Daniel Sheehan, Elizondo’s attorney, filed a 64-pafe complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general claiming a coordinated campaign to discredit him for speaking out — including accusing a top official of threatening to tell people he was "crazy." How coordinated is it? More coordinated that effort the Defense Department took to bring all of the UFO reports into one investigative location, which is one of the complaints Elizondo gave for leaving the job. And that, according to The Black Vault, leads to one of the disparaging remarks the Pentagon has brought up.

“They (the Pentagon) told The Intercept in June of 2019 that Elizondo had no “responsibilities” on the AATIP (this would later be amended to “no assigned responsibilities”). Armed only with official statements, but offering no supporting documentation, it appeared that the Pentagon had a concerted effort to negate everything that Elizondo had brought forward to the public.”

That sounds like bureaucratic-speak for “He never worked here.” It gets worse. The Black Vault says it requested specific emails concerning Elizondo’s employment and responsibilities on UFO investigations and got this response:

“After thorough searches of the electronic records and files of OUSD (I&S), no records of the kind you described [Elizondo e-mails containing the word “unidentified”] could be identified. Please note that e-mails of former Department of Defense (DoD) employees are not retained unless they are considered historical records and retained by the National Records Center. There are currently no existing e-mail accounts for Mr. Elizondo. We believe that search methods were appropriate and could reasonably be expected to produce the requested records if they existed.”

The Black Vault says the Pentagon later confirmed the emails and backups were destroyed. The Black Vault obtained a letter from former US Senator Harry Reid, a longtime proponent of full disclosure and the government leader responsible for setting up the secret AATIP program, stating the Elizondo did indeed head it, but the Pentagon stuck to its claims that he had no “assigned” responsibilities. It later added that he “has no position in the UAPTF, and the UAPTF has not involved him in its ongoing work.” UAPTF is the current, non-secret version of AATIP.

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Former Senator Harry Reid (Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

It gets worse. While Harry Reid has Elizondo’s back, it appears To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science – which Elizondo was a key member of as a prime UFO data provider – doesn’t. An annual report for the SEC filed by the organization states that, contrary to Elizondo’s claim that he left the group on his own, TTSA said this in the “Personnel changes” section:

“In December 2020, Luis Elizondo, the Company's Director of Government programs & Services, was laid off with severance.”

POLITCO says the complaint filed with the Pentagon’s IG states that Elizondo emails and documents to support his case that there’s “a coordinated effort to obfuscate the truth from the American people” while the Pentagon separately attacks his reputation as a former intelligence officer there and causes “great personal and professional challenges to me and my family."

Both the POLITICO and The Black Vault articles (read them here and here) contain much more background information on this UFO files custody battle. Who will win? Who deserves to win? Luis Elizondo has been a tireless fighter for disclosure. His battles and experiences would make a great movie plot. Unfortunately, that may be the only place where this story has a happy ending.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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