But the Dow and other indexes were in complete collapse right before the start of Monday’s final hour of trading. At one point, the Dow, which represents only 30 stocks but is still a widely followed indicator, tumbled to a loss of about 1,600 points. That’s more than twice as large as the biggest Dow point decline ever. But then something happened. Someone started arbitrarily and aggressively buying stocks and the decline was halved.
Toward the end of his time in office in 1989, Ronald Reagan created something called the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. There had been a stock market crash in 1987 and a near-crash in 1989, so everyone was worried. The Working Group was ostensibly an advisory body that was meant to help regulators and the president understand the markets. The members would write papers, have coffee, confer and come up with solutions. But some of us thought it was something much more, and the Working Group unofficially became known as the Plunge Protection Team.
That notion was strengthened in late ’89, when a guy named Robert Heller, who had just left his position as governor of the Federal Reserve, gave a speech that was later published in the Wall Street Journal that proposed that the Fed should rig the stock market in times of emergency. Heller suggested that the Fed — through, I suspected, its favored brokerage houses — would purchase stock index futures contracts as a way to stop a market collapse in its tracks.
Heller said that since the Fed already rigs the bond market through securities purchases, the stock market would be easy to control. Nobody has ever proven that the Fed and its friends actually protect Wall Street against plunges. It is, you might say, the Loch Ness monster of the financial world — people get glimpses of something but never see a clear picture.
That’s what happened during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Telephone records I obtained back then showed numerous calls between then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and contacts on Wall Street on days when the stock market was tanking and the decline needed to be stopped. The action in stocks on those days looked a lot like what happened this week — sharp reversals that came out of nowhere.
Since then other countries overtly rig their stock markets. Japan and China don’t even hide their actions. The US Plunge Protectors are going to have their work cut out for them. Rigging the stock market works for a while — but if the equities markets are overpriced, eventually the bubble bursts. And, you guessed it, people who are in the know tend to make out better than those who aren’t. Now you know.”
“Just before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, intelligence officer Luis Elizondo quietly arranged to secure the release of three of the most unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults: raw footage from encounters between fighter jets and “anomalous aerial vehicles” — military jargon for UFOs.
The videos, all taken from cockpit cameras, show pilots struggling to lock their radars on oval-shaped vessels that, on screen, look vaguely like giant flying Tic Tacs. The strange aircraft — no claims are made about their possible origins or makeup — appear to hover briefly before sprinting away at speeds that elicit gasps and shouts from the pilots.
Elizondo, in an internal Pentagon memo requesting that the videos be cleared for public viewing, argued that the images could help educate pilots and improve aviation safety. But in interviews, he said his ultimate intention was to shed light on a little-known program Elizondo himself ran for seven years: a low-key Defense Department operation to collect and analyze reported UFO sightings.
The existence of the program, known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, was confirmed officially for the first time Saturday by a Pentagon spokesman. The acknowledgment came in response to media inquiries, which were generated in part by a start-up company Elizondo has joined since retirement. The private company specializes in promoting UFO research for scientific and entertainment purposes.
Current and former Pentagon officials confirm that the Pentagon program has been in existence since 2007 and was formed for the purpose of collecting and analyzing a wide range of “anomalous aerospace threats” ranging from advanced aircraft fielded by traditional U.S. adversaries to commercial drones to possible alien encounters. It is a rare instance of ongoing government investigations into a UFO phenomenon that was the subject of multiple official inquiries in the 1950s and 1960s.
Spending for the program totaled at least $22 million, according to former Pentagon officials and documents seen by The Washington Post, but the funding officially ended in 2012. “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DOD to make a change,” Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson explained in a statement. But officials familiar with the initiative say the collection effort continued as recently as last month. The program operated jointly out of the Pentagon and, at least for a time, an underground complex in Las Vegas managed by Bigelow Aerospace, a defense contractor that builds modules for space stations.
It generated at least one report, a 490-page volume that describes alleged UFO sightings in the United States and numerous foreign countries over multiple decades. Neither the Pentagon nor any of the program’s managers have claimed conclusive proof of extraterrestrial visitors, but Elizondo, citing accounts and data collected by his office over a decade, argues that the videos and other evidence failed to generate the kind of high-level attention he believes is warranted. As part of his decision to leave the Pentagon, he not only sought the release of videos but also penned a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis complaining that a potential security threat was being ignored.
“Despite overwhelming evidence at both the classified and unclassified levels, certain individuals in the [Defense] Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security,” Elizondo said in the letter, a copy of which was provided to The Post.
The first public revelations of the program came in a video conference aired in October by To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, the firm Elizondo joined as a consultant after retiring from his Pentagon job. The New York Times and Politico reported the existence of the program on their websites Saturday. The Washington Post conducted several confidential interviews over two months with Elizondo and Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence who also is an officer of the private firm.
Documents provided by the former officials included letters of support by former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), a key backer of the initiative who helped secure funding for the program and sought to ensure a high degree of secrecy. Elizondo said knowledge of the program was limited, even within the Pentagon itself. He said the program had multiple enemies at senior levels of the department, from officials who were either skeptical or ideologically opposed to AATIP’s mission.
“I was honored to serve at the DOD and took my mission of exploring unexplained aerial phenomena quite seriously,” Elizondo said. “In the end, however, I couldn’t carry out that mission, because the department — which was understandably overstretched — couldn’t give it the resources that the mounting evidence deserved.”
It is difficult to draw conclusions about the nature of the unidentified vessels from the videos alone. Experts generally urged caution, explaining that reported UFO sightings often turn out of have innocuous explanations. A retired Navy pilot contacted by The Post who was involved in a 2004 encounter depicted in one of the videos confirmed that the images accurately reflected his recollection of the events. The pilot would only speak on the condition of anonymity.
Elizondo, a 22-year veteran of the department who has held top security clearance and worked on secret counterintelligence missions, said he chose to join the private venture because he believed it was the best way to continue the work he was unable to complete as a government employee. “I left to find an environment where investigating these phenomena is priority number one,” he said.”
“About six months ago, our board at UFODATA was privileged to welcome Christopher Mellon as the newest member of our team. Chris spent nearly 20 years in the federal government serving in various national security positions. For the first time, he has agreed to speak publicly about his experiences within government as they relate to UFOs. It is unusual for a man of Chris’s stature to speak openly about UFOs, which gives his statements great weight.
His positions during the Clinton and Bush administrations involved high clearances; in fact, there are few people who have enjoyed such deep and wide-ranging access to compartmented programs in both the Defense Department (DoD) and the intelligence community. Chris is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal and the Defense Intelligence Agency Director’s Medal. At DoD, Chris served on a small committee that provided oversight of all DoD special access programs, in order to eliminate potential waste and duplication.
The oversight included visits to Area 51 and other sensitive facilities. He also spent over a decade on the Senate Intelligence Committee, involved in oversight of NRO, CIA, NSA and other intelligence organizations. He became the first Congressional official to review all of the NSA’s compartmented programs.
“Chris (right) with former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen in 1995. Note the inscription: “The Other Man who kept all the secrets.” Chris drafted the bill for Cohen that established the US Special Operations Command.” [photo Chris Mellon]
Q: Do you recall any incidents involving UFOs while you were in government? A: Yes, there were a handful of incidents. Knowing of my interest in UFOs, a breathless naval aviator called me one day to report that he was present minutes earlier when a Navy jet landed after being circled by a UFO in broad daylight. The Navy did not pursue the issue as far as I could tell.
I also recall the Maui Optical Tracking Facility, which tracks satellites, recording a flight of four or five fiery UFOs traversing the night sky. Nobody knew what to make of it. But no government official expressed the slightest interest even after the tape was featured on ABC’s Nightline. I found the utter lack of scientific curiosity due to political correctness highly frustrating.
“Colonel Wilfried De Brouwer, who later became a general, presents anomalous radar readings at a 1990 press conference during the Belgian wave”
Q: The taboo against taking UFOs seriously is a huge problem. How can we get more government officials to change this ingrained attitude? A: I think we have to ask ourselves a key question, and then bring it forward. “Are there UFO cases that are sufficiently well-documented to warrant a scientific investigation of the phenomenon?” In my view, the answer is yes. The patterns in the data are too strong; the reports from credible witnesses separated widely by time and place too similar; the evidence from videos and trained military and law enforcement observers too extensive; and the independent radar data in select cases correlates too highly with visual observations to safely ignore. Finally, when someone you trust and respect, like a naval aviator, looks you in the eye and tells you he saw something truly extraordinary at close range, it’s hard not to take his testimony seriously. It is arrogant, unreasonable and unwise to dismiss such reports. We should simply and impartially follow the trail wherever it leads.
“Artist rendition of a Belgium UFO that made repeated visits in 1989-90”
Q: Which credible UFO incidents have you found particularly impressive and convincing? A: A few stand out in my mind. In November 1989, 13 police officers and hundreds of other witnesses saw two silent triangular craft gliding over Belgium. This was the beginning of a wave of sightings there lasting well over a year. Ground and air radar data were acquired as well. The Belgian Air Force investigated the events in cooperation with a team of scientists and consulted with the U.S. and NATO countries, but could not find a conventional explanation.
On the night of March 30, 1993, over a hundred witnesses in England, including police officers and military personnel, saw a triangular-shaped craft able to rapidly accelerate in seconds from a hovering position. The British Ministry of Defense stated that “none of the usual explanations put forward to explain UFO sightings seem applicable” and concluded that the evidence showed that “an unidentified object (or objects) of unknown origin was operating over the UK.”
Similarly, multiple police officers in Southern Illinois saw an object in January 2000 that looked and behaved very similarly to the Belgian and British UFOs. In fact, the Illinois police officers’ drawings of the craft are uncannily similar to the depictions of triangular craft produced by Belgian law enforcement officers a decade earlier, as well as many others since.
“Belgian Air Force weather forecaster drew his sighting in 1990” [SOBEP]
In 2006, pilots and airport personnel witnessed a disc-shaped object hovering over O’Hare airport for over five minutes, yet no government investigation was undertaken. And, while most sightings have conventional explanations, I think it is stunning how many reports come in regularly to groups like MUFON, with impressive detail, including photos or videos. I often hear from skeptics, “If UFOs are out there how come nobody ever gets a video with all the smartphones around?” That is ignorant, it happens all the time!
Q: Some people believe the more recent sightings in cases such as those you mentioned may simply be US government tests of experimental aircraft. Is that possible? A: I can understand why this may seem the most plausible explanation. But I can assure you, those objects did not belong to US Department of Defense. Just before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I was contacted by the DoD Office of Congressional Affairs. They were in a tizzy because Robert Byrd, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was challenging them over reports appearing in magazines such as Aviation Week and Space Technology describing an alleged super-secret US aircraft program dubbed “Aurora.”
Senator Byrd would use his budget power to punish the department severely if we lied to him or withheld information. We pursued all possible options, double-checking with the appropriate officials while reminding them of the imperative of providing an accurate response. We quickly confirmed what we already knew – that while there are always things on the drawing board, there was nothing remotely resembling such aircraft being operated by the department.
We had nothing with the capacity to hover and then silently accelerate at massive speeds. Also, it is totally uncharacteristic of the US military to conduct experimental tests of new vehicles over populated areas where security would be compromised and innocent civilians placed in harms way. That’s completely contrary to military DNA. Alien visitation is actually easier to believe than that level of stupidity being exhibited by the brilliant people developing new aircraft technologies for DoD.
(left to right) Luis Elizondo, Jim Semivan, Stephen Justice, Hal Puthoff, & Christopher Mellon
Q: Some inside sources have proposed that retrieved hardware from a UFO may exist within a private aerospace company which has become independent from the DoD. In this way, it would be exempt from government oversight and known only to a few people. Do you think this is possible? A: I find it hard to imagine something as explosive as recovered alien technology remaining under wraps for decades. So while I have no reason to believe there is any recovered alien technology, I will say this: If it were me, and I were trying to bury it deep, I’d take it outside government oversight entirely and place it in a compartment as a new entity within an existing defense company and manage it as what we call an “IRAD” or “Independent Research and Development Activity.”
Q: So where does this all leave us, and what is to be done? A: In my view, calling for the end to an alleged government UFO cover-up is almost certainly a dead end, and does not help inspire anyone in government to become more open to the topic. The UFO mystery is a scientific problem. A true scientist seeks and follows the data no matter how politically incorrect the facts may be. The greatest scientific breakthroughs occur when we verify information that challenges conventional wisdom. That’s why I joined the board of UFODATA.
Q: I’m so glad you did. What kinds of new data are you hoping we will collect? A: Our team of scientists and engineers are designing and will build a large network of automated surveillance stations with sophisticated sensors to capture a wide range of data. The stations will house cameras to record both an image and spectra, a magnetometer, instrumentation to detect radiation, a gravimeter, and more. They will be mobile so that we can readily deploy them to areas that become hotspots of UFO activity. We can then make the data available to the scientific community for analysis.
Q: Do you think UFOs could be visitors from civilizations elsewhere? A: I’m certainly intrigued by the possibility. But I don’t think we will find out without a deeper scientific inquiry. I would like to invite the public to participate and support this lean but potentially groundbreaking effort, staffed by volunteers. UFODATA’s findings, one way or another, can help us to resolve this perennial mystery and perhaps even help us to better understand the universe and mankind’s place within it.”
After the story of Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog:
Here’s what they would have from the programs you list [i.e. NSA’s Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney spying programs, which Edward Snowden revealed] plus hundreds if not thousands of trace route programs embedded in switches in the US and around the world.
First, from deep packet inspection, they would have the originator and ultimate recipient (IP) of the packets plus packet series 32 bit number identifier and all the housekeeping data showing the network segments/path and time to go though the network.
And, of course, the number of packet bits. With this they would know to where and when the data passed. From the data collection, they would have all the data as it existed in the server taken from. That’s why I originally said if the FBI wanted Hillary’s email, all they have to do is ask NSA for them.All this is done by the Narus collection equipment in real time at line rates (620 mbps [mega bits per second,] for the STA-6400 and 10 gbps [giga bits per second] for the Insight equipment).
Binney explained what these numbers mean: Each Narus Insight device can monitor and record around 1,250,000 emails each second … or more than 39 trillion emails per year. Wired reported in 2006:
Whistle-blower Klein allegedly learned that AT&T was installing Narus boxes in secure, NSA-controlled rooms in switching centers around the country.
Binney told us there are probably 18 or so Narus recording systems throughout the U.S. deployed by the NSA at AT&T facilities, drawing our attention to the following NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden:
And this AT&T graphic:
(Binney has figured out their locations from publicly-available sources. He has also mapped out similar monitoring systems at Verizon facilities.) Binney also sent me hard-to-find company literature for Narus. Here are some interesting excerpts:
Narus Insight …
Providesfull visibility into network traffic …
Analyzes at macro or micro level targeting specific or aggregate full-packet data for forensic analysis
Universal data collection from links, routers, soft switches, IDS/IPS, databases, etc. provides total network view across the world’s largest IP networks.
Binney also pointed me towards a couple of network engineering principles that show that figuring out who hacked the emails (or proving they were leaked) is well within NSA’s capabilities. Initially, when data is transmitted online, it is sent using the TCP/IP Packet format. Put simply, data is not sent in a vacuum, but rather as part of a bundle containing a lot of other information. Here’s the TCP part of the bundle:
And here’s the IP part of the bundle:
So any data analyst can learn a tremendous amount about the source address of the sender, the destination address of the receiver and a boatload of other information by using a “packet sniffer” to inspect the “packets” of information being sent over the web. Additionally, it’s simple to conduct “traceroute” searches. “Traceroute” is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol network. Wired reported in 2006:
“Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record,” says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. “We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls.”
So NSA can easily use basic packet sniffers and traceroutes, and see this. Remember, Edward Snowden says the NSA could easily determine who hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails:
Even if the attackers try to obfuscate origin, #XKEYSCORE makes following exfiltrated data easy. I did this personally against Chinese ops.
Snowden is right and the MSM is clueless. Do they have evidence that the Russians downloaded and later forwarded those emails to wikileaks? Seems to me that they need to answer those questions to be sure that their assertion is correct… You can tell from the network log who is going into a site. I used that on networks that I had. I looked to see who came into my LAN, where they went, how long they stayed and what they did while in my network…
Further, if you needed to, you could trace back approaches through other servers etc. Trace Route and Trace Watch are good examples of monitoring software that help do these things. Others of course exist … probably the best are in NSA/GCHQ and the other Five Eyes countries. But, these countries have no monopoly on smart people that could do similar detection software.
If it were the Russians, NSA would have a trace route to them and not equivocate on who did it. It’s like using “Trace Route” to map the path of all the packets on the network. In the program Treasuremap NSA has hundreds of trace route programs embedded in switches in Europe and hundreds more around the world. So, this set-up should have detected where the packets went and when they went there.
As Edward Snowden said, once they have the IP’s and/or other signatures of 28/29 [the supposed Russian hacking groups] and DNC/HRC/etc. [i.e. the DNC and Hillary Rodham Clinton], NSA would use Xkeyscore to help trace data passing across the network and show where it went. [Background.]
In addition, since Wikileaks is (and has been) a cast iron target for NSA/GCHQ/etc for a number of years there should be no excuse for them missing data going to any one associated with Wikileaks… Too many words means they don’t have clear evidence of how the data got to Wikileaks.
If the idiots in the intelligence community expect us to believe them after all the crap they have told us (like WMD’s in Iraq and “no we don’t collect data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans”) then they need to give clear proof of what they say. So far, they have failed to prove anything. Which suggests they don’t have proof and just want to war monger the US public into a second cold war with the Russians.After all, there’s lots and lots of money in that for the military-industrial-intelligence-governmental complex of incestuous relationships…
If you recall, a few years ago they pointed to a specific building in China that was where hacks on the US were originating. So, let’s see the same from the Russians. They don’t have it. That’s why they don’t show it. They want to swindle us again and again and again. You cannot trust these intelligence agencies period.
U.S. officials “know how many people [beyond the Russians] could have done this but they aren’t telling us anything. All they’re doing is promoting another cold war.”
Binney … compared allegations about Russian hacks to previous U.S. fabrications of intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of North Vietnam in 1964. “This is a big mistake, another WMD or Tonkin Gulf affair that’s being created until they have absolute proof” of Russian complicity in the DNC hacks, he charged during a Newsweek interview. He noted that after the Kremlin denied complicity in the downing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1983, the U.S. “exposed the conversations where [Russian pilots] were ordered to shoot it down.” Obama officials “have the evidence now” of who hacked the DNC, he charged. “So let’s see it, guys.“
NSA either doesn’t have solid evidence of Russian hacking of DNC emails – which means the Russians didn’t do it – or those with the power to demand NSA produce the evidence simply haven’t asked the right questions.”