According to papers acquired by POLITICO, the former Pentagon officer who went public about UFO encounters has filed a complaint with the agency’s inspector general, alleging a coordinated operation to discredit him for coming out, including accusing a high official of threatening to tell others he was “mad.”
According to his legal team, Lue Elizondo, a career counterintelligence specialist who was assigned in 2008 to work for a Pentagon program that examined allegations of “unmanned aerial phenomena,” filed the 64-page complaint to the independent watchdog on May 3 and has met with investigators multiple times.
The assertion that the government is attempting to discredit him comes only weeks before the director of national intelligence and the Pentagon are set to give to Congress an unclassified report on UFOs and the government’s policy for investigating such encounters.
The report is likely to offer a full accounting of the agencies, persons, and surveillance systems responsible for data collection and analysis.
“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,” said Daniel Sheehan, Elizondo’s attorney. “And also threatening his security clearance.”
Sheehan, a public interest lawyer and activist, has a lengthy history of going up against the federal government on behalf of high-profile clients, including representing The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case and one of the Watergate burglars.
He is also well regarded as a renegade who has a lifelong fascination with UFOs and has talked openly about extraterrestrial encounters.
Sheehan has also served as counsel for the Disclosure Project, which is run by ufologist Steven Greer and seeks to force greater government disclosure on UFOs.
When questioned, Elizondo redirected inquiries to Sheehan.
Sheehan contends that Elizondo’s IG complaint is about more than just clearing his name.
He wants the Pentagon to clear up all uncertainty regarding what it knows about UFOs.
A spokesperson for the Defense Department IG’s office declined to comment on the status of Elizondo’s complaint. “I cannot speculate or deliberate about complaints that our office may have received,” said Dwrena Allen. “I certainly cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation to the same.”
Yes, indeed. I saw compelling data that demonstrably proves the reality of UAPs. I believe some in Congress have already seen this evidence for themselves. Probably why they are taking it seriously. https://t.co/gPMOmxv9BI
— Lue Elizondo (@LueElizondo) October 15, 2020
However, the IG initiated a review into Pentagon “actions” on UFOs a day after Elizondo filed his complaint, which is being conducted by the assistant inspector general for assessments on space, intelligence, engineering, and supervision.
It is uncertain whether Elizondo’s accusations will be deemed to warrant an official inquiry, but his legal team says he will meet with IG investigators again next month.
Elizondo, who retired from the Pentagon in October 2017 and went public about the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, a covert Pentagon program launched in 2008 by then-Sen. Harry Reid, has become a minor celebrity.
In December 2017, POLITICO and The New York Times reported the existence of the office and Elizondo’s participation in it.
At the time, Elizondo protested that his Pentagon superiors were neglecting to take seriously many incursions into military airspace by high-performance aircraft of unknown provenance.
“After increased frustration, ” he stated, “I became alarmed by the frequency and duration of UAP activity in and around controlled U.S. airspace. The instances seemed more provocative, and during one instance, they came within feet of a U.S. fighter aircraft.”
Elizondo also released with the public after he resigned from government duty a trio of Navy tapes that he had declassified before leaving government employment.
He alleges he has since been subjected to a concerted campaign to smear his reputation, including Pentagon press announcements claiming he had no official participation in UFO study, despite the fact that his position had been formally validated.
He also claims a personal vendetta from a Pentagon rival who he claims has tried to destroy his career on many occasions, including attempting to have him probed for leaking the video after he had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
According to the lawsuit, Elizondo accuses “malicious activities, coordinated disinformation, professional misconduct, whistleblower reprisal and explicit threats perpetrated by certain senior-level Pentagon officials.”
POLITICO withheld the identities of the Pentagon officers included in the IG complaint because it is unclear whether an investigation into their involvement is being pursued.
However, Elizondo told the IG that he had evidence in the form of emails, papers, and public records that “which suggests a coordinated effort to obfuscate the truth from the American people while impugning my reputation as a former intelligence officer at the Pentagon.”
Elizondo alleges that a senior official informed him in the days after he left government service that he would “tell people you are crazy, and it might impact your security clearance.”
My NDA is lifetime, as those with clearances can attest. Only when info becomes Unclassified, can I talk about it. Yes, I am still subject to polygraphs and periodic reinvestigations. https://t.co/CHoE4O1qwG
— Lue Elizondo (@LueElizondo) October 15, 2020
According to the IG complaint, the Pentagon’s press department engaged in a misinformation effort to discredit him by implying he lied about his UFO study.
He cites various public declarations claiming that the department had no record of his participation with UFOs, despite the fact that he worked with AATIP.
When he asked why the Pentagon’s official account concerning AATIP had changed, he alleges one officer directly involved informed him he “was not happy with the way this was being handled internally with the Department.” According to Elizondo, the official also stated that he “was aware I ran AATIP, but forces within the building were telling him not to admit it.”
The Defense Department officially admitted last month in a statement that the AATIP program was involved in UFO research, but he claims that the record on Elizondo’s role has not been rectified.
Elizondo insists that efforts to penalize him for coming forward will continue.
According to the IG complaint, his publication of the three unclassified UFO movies was reviewed by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and “there were no findings of me conducting any kind of Unauthorized Disclosure” were made.
However, he claims that the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency contacted him in April, asking him to submit to a new interview in order to keep his clearance, despite the fact that it was extended in January 2021.
— Lue Elizondo (@LueElizondo) October 5, 2020
He also claims he was informed it was because of worries about whether he broke the regulations by making the UFO footage public.
Elizondo has openly said that he believes the government is concealing information on UFO sightings.
Sheehan also argues Elizondo’s experience within the Pentagon’s bureaucracy indicates a far deeper aversion to coming truthful.
Sheehan added. “They know something is going on, and they don’t dare go there.”