Dec 30, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The World of Ufology's Most Infamous UFO Whistleblower: Truth or Not? It's Bob Lazar

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy article about UFOs, whistleblowing and a man named John. Today, I'm going to share with you a far greater whistleblower. Of course, there's no doubt that Bob Lazar is the whistleblower of Ufology. Let's take a look at how the Lazar story began. In 1988 a man named Robert Lazar – a total maverick - surfaced and claimed to Las Vegas journalist George Knapp that he had spent a brief period at a portion of the Area 51 base called S-4. It was said to have been so sensitive that the facility was buried in the surrounding mountains to ensure the facility couldn’t be seen from the air by Soviet spy-satellites. More than thirty years since Lazar hit the headlines with his incredible tale, the UFO research still can’t agree on his tale. Was Lazar a genuine whistleblower? Or, was he just someone looking for publicity? Did he really see alien spaceships and work on technology built on another world? Or, was the entire thing a brilliantly-constructed slab of psychological-warfare designed to scare the Russians into believing the U.S. had got its hands on alien technology, maybe even unearthly weaponry? The questions are many. Definitive answers are few. What we do know for sure is that Area 51 is guarded like no other government facility on planet Earth. Whistleblower or not? Let's have a look at some intriguing parts of the Lazar story, somehting that might help us understand if Lazar is a whistleblower or something else.

Prior to Lazar making the controversial claims that practically made him a household name, the term Area 51 was practically completely unknown – outside of the employees of the base, that is. In the immediate aftermath of Lazar going public, though, Area 51 was like a bad rash: it was all over the place. For decades the secrets of the base were well kept. Thanks to Lazar, though, they were soon unleashed. But, how, why and under what specific circumstances did Bob Lazar become the poster boy for Area 51? Let’s see. Robert Scott Lazar entered this world in 1959 – in the Sunshine State of Florida. It’s accurate to say that much of the history of Lazar’s early years is swamped by mystery and controversy. What we know for sure is that Lazar signed up to take a class in electronics at Pierce College, California in the late 1970s. He also spent an unclear amount of time working for Fairchild. But, there is no doubt that he was employed there. Now, things become controversial and murky. According to Lazar, he obtained a Master of Science from Caltech and a Master of Science in Physics – the latter secured from none other than MIT, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This claim has been dismissed by several high-profile figures in the field of Ufology, including the late nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman. 

(Nick Redfern) Whistleblowing or disinformation?

The next thread in the winding saga of Bob Lazar came in the early 1980s, specifically in 1982, when he was profiled in an article which appeared in the pages of the New Mexico-based Los Alamos Monitor newspaper. This is where we see evidence that Lazar did indeed work on a number of government- / defense-based programs of a sensitive and secret nature. Much of the article was devoted to Lazar’s love for fast cars. As in really fast cars. Lazar and a buddy from NASA took an old-school Honda car and hauled out its regular engine and replaced it with one that was fueled by liquid propane – which is a pretty astonishing achievement by anyone’s standards. And, get this: the new engine was made out of titanium. For Lazar one hundred miles per hour was not enough. Nor was one-fifty. This baby reached speeds of two hundred miles per hour.

The Los Alamos Monitor article revealed something else, too – something which provides a great deal of food for thought when it comes to those who suggest or maintain that Lazar was nothing more than a Walter Mitty-type character. As the newspaper article makes clear, at the same time that Lazar and his pals were zooming around the desert landscape of New Mexico, he was in the employ of none other than what, back then, was called the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility. Today, it’s the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. The important part of this statement is that which reveals that LANSCE staff work in fields that revolve around U.S. national security. That we can prove Lazar worked for the organization under its earlier name is notable – in terms of demonstrating that Lazar was definitely plugged into the world of government secrecy, even when he was just in his early twenties.

Just a couple of months after the Los Alamos Monitor ran its feature on Lazar, the man of the hour had what may have been a fate-driven encounter with one of the most legendary figures in the world of physics, and someone who became known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.” That man was Edward Teller. When Teller died in 2003 at the age of ninety-five, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper noted the following: “A man of enormous intellect, and one of the most controversial scientific figures of the 20th century, Teller made important contributions to the field of quantum mechanics and physical chemistry as well as nuclear physics; but it was as an ardent ‘Cold War Warrior’ that he entered the popular mind.” And demonstrating just how easily Teller moved among some of the most powerful people on the planet, there is this, also from the Telegraph: “In September 1982, Teller visited the White House for a meeting with Reagan's science adviser, at which they discussed the feasibility of establishing an anti-ballistic missile system based in outer space. Thus was born the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), popularly known as ‘Star Wars.’ In an unexpected television address to the nation, Reagan called upon the ‘scientific community who gave us nuclear weapons to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons obsolete.’ Star Wars was a controversial initiative. Its development by-passed existing treaties and aroused the indignation of the Soviet Union; its very feasibility remained hypothetical. Only its vast cost - budgeted at $40 billion - was beyond dispute.”

On the day on which the two men met, Lazar sat in on a lecture that Teller gave at Los Alamos. It was not so much Teller’s lecture that amazed Lazar. Rather, it was the fact that when Lazar was hanging around at the entrance to the facility, there was Teller, sitting on a wall and reading the very article that the Los Alamos Monitor had written on Lazar – which just happened to be a front-page article. Since Lazar had secured several copies of the issue of the newspaper when it was published, he instantly recognized what it was that Teller was so fixated on. So, Lazar decided to make the plunge: he walked over to Teller and told him who he was – namely, the person profiled in the article because of his jet-car achievements. Teller found it all very interesting. The two talked for a while about their respective work, after which Teller headed off inside to deliver his presentation.

Six years later, the paths of Lazar and Teller crossed again. It would lead Lazar into the world of Area 51, UFOs and aliens – dead, alive or maybe both – and some of the most classified secrets of the U.S. Government. Or, possibly, of a powerful group that wasn’t even answerable to Congress or the President of the United States. Or, was Lazar the subject of strange and manipulative mind-games? It’s a question that pops up throughout Lazar’s story. In 1988, Lazar had a very different job to all of those which came before him. He was living and working in Sin City itself, Las Vegas, where he ran a photo-processing store. It was a job and it paid the bills. It was not, however, the dream job that Lazar wanted. That dream, however, would soon come true. But, it may have also become a definitive nightmare. Lazar decided to send out a resume to just about anyone and everyone he had worked with, met, and knew. One of those – no surprise - was Edward Teller. It’s also not surprising that Teller remembered all too well the young man with the liquid propane car that could zoom across the landscape at two hundred miles per hour. Teller also remembered that Lazar had a background in physics. More importantly, Teller was someone who had power, influence, the ability to open doors, and an ability to have access to some of the U.S. Government’s most prized and guarded secrets. It was soon thereafter that Lazar was contacted by an agent of Edgerton, Germeshausen and Grier, Inc. In short, EG&G, as it is now officially titled. It’s a company that has undertaken numerous top secret programs in support of the defense and national security of the United States.

Lazar met with staff from EG&G at an office in Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport. It turned out to be a bit of a letdown – but one with a distinct light at the end of the tunnel. Lazar was actually told that he was over-qualified for the position that they had in mind. But, they had another project in mind which, they felt, would be far more ideal for Lazar. All that Lazar was told at the time was that the program revolved around alternative and novel propulsion systems. For someone who had built his own jet-car, this sounded like something right up Lazar’s alley. It wasn’t long before Lazar had his follow-up interview – once again in the offices at McCarran Airport. The meeting was with a man named Dennis Mariani, a no-nonsense type who had the air of a military officer and who turned out to be Lazar’s supervisor. The pair flew out of the airport – just a small trip. They arrived at a facility out in the desert and Lazar was transported to a vehicle with blacked-out windows. From there, Lazar was driven to a portion of Area 51, which Lazar came to know as S-4. 

(Nick Redfern) What really is the truth when it comes to UFOs?

In the weeks that followed, Lazar claimed that he found himself in a world that was almost unbelievable. Lazar said that he was informed that the previously referred to alternative and novel propulsion system was nothing less than extraterrestrial in origin and nature. That’s right: Bob Lazar was about to start working on a spaceship built in another solar-system. As for S-4, according to Lazar it was a massive facility; however, one would not know that if one were to fly over it. In fact, you would scarcely know if you were on the ground, either. Lazar explained that S-4 was actually built within the surrounding mountains, which had been carefully and massively hollowed out. It was within these reinforced, hollow areas that all of the work on the alien craft was undertaken. Nothing could be seen from the sky. Practically nothing could be seen on the ground. And, the whole facility was hidden in the mountains. It was the perfect location to work on, and hide, the flying saucers which Dennis Mariani told Lazar were stored out at S-4.

So the story went, the staff at Area 51 had no less than nine alien craft in their possession. Most of them were in good condition – in fact, some were in excellent condition. One was superficially damaged, but not overly so. It’s hardly surprising that Lazar was threatened – with his life, no less – to never talk about any of this with anyone outside of the program. That included Lazar’s wife, family and friends. On this issue, Lazar was told that to ensure he towed the line, his home phone would be tapped. He had to sign a document that starkly detailed the result of any violations of the agreement – which included lengthy jail sentences and even a visit from the Grim Reaper. Or, from a government agent with a flair for snuffing out lives. He was even told that if he did ever speak out of line, hypnosis and chemicals could be used to wipe out his memories of what he saw out at S-4. For Lazar this was all very ominous, but the stakes were so high – the ability to work on alien spaceships – that it was too great a lure to say no to. Lazar eagerly signed away his life in an instant. Maybe all of us would.

(Nick Redfern) Whistleblowers in the shadows?

It turned out that Lazar’s time spent at S-4 was short. There is a very good reason for that, as will soon become apparent. But, for those brief, couple of months that he was secretly employed out at the Area 51 complex, Lazar was exposed to a great deal of material – all of it fascinating and bizarre. One of the first things that Lazar was exposed to was a huge stash of highly classified papers that detailed the history of what the U.S. Government knew about UFOs and an alien presence on our planet – a presence which began thousands of years ago. Maybe even tens of thousands of years ago. The files told a shocking story: that all of our gods and deities were really aliens who had engaged in a vast genetic experiment that mutated the likes of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons into Homo sapiens. In that sense, we owe our existence not to a heavenly creator of supernatural origins, but to scientists from another world. It was a stark wake-up call for Lazar. But, were the documents the real deal? Or, were they ingenious disinformation? It’s worth noting too that while the nature of the files was different, this issue of Lazar being flooded with files on UFOs and aliens almost as soon as he arrived, closely mirrored the situation John found himself in at the base in the early 1970s, almost two decades earlier. Like John, Lazar told a fascinating story. But, was it true? Like many whistleblowers, we never really get the answers. 

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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