Page 15 - May-June 2021 Edition of The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper
P. 15

Pentagon Taking UFO’s Seriously?                                                                                       15






         How the Pentagon Started

          Taking U.F.O.s Seriously



                Continued From Page 14




        On May 9, 2001, Steven M. Greer took the
        lectern at the National Press Club, in
        Washington, D.C., in pursuit of By 2017, Kean
        was the author of a best-selling U.F.O. book and
        was known for what she has termed, borrowing
        from the political scientist Alexander Wendt, a
        “militantly agnostic” approach to the
        phenomenon. On December 16th of that year, in
        a front-page story in the Times, Kean, together
        with two  Times journalists, revealed that the
        Pentagon had been running a surreptitious
        U.F.O. program for ten years.  The article
        included two videos, recorded by the Navy, of
        what were being described in official channels
        as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or U.A.P.
        In blogs and on podcasts, ufologists began       Leslie Kean is a self-possessed woman with a     information.’ ” Her blunt, understated way of
        referring to “December, 2017” as shorthand for   sensible demeanor and a nimbus of curly          talking about incomprehensible data gives her
        the moment the taboo began to lift. Joe Rogan,   graying hair. She lives alone in a light-filled  an air of probity. During my visit, as she peered
        the popular podcast host, has often mentioned    corner apartment near the northern extreme of    at her extensive library of canonical ufology
        the article, praising Kean’s work as having      Manhattan, where, on the wall behind her desk,   texts—with such titles as “Extraterrestrial
        precipitated a cultural shift. “It’s a dangerous  there is a framed black-and-white image that    Contact” and “Above Top Secret”—she sighed
        subject for someone, because you’re open to      looks like a sonogram of a Frisbee.  The         and said, “Unfortunately, most of these aren’t
        ridicule,” he said, in an episode this spring. But  photograph was given to her, along with chain-  very good.”
        now “you could say, ‘Listen, this is not         of-custody documentation, by contacts in the
        something to be mocked anymore—there’s           Costa Rican government; in her estimation, it is  In her best-selling book, “UFOs: Generals,
        something to this.’ ”                            the finest image of a U.F.O. ever made public.   Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the
                                                         The first time I visited, she wore a black blazer  Record,” published in 2010 by an imprint of
        Since then, high-level officials have publicly   over a T-shirt advertising “The Phenomenon,” a   Random House, Kean wrote that “the U.S.
        conceded their bewilderment about U.A.P.         documentary from 2020 with strikingly high       government routinely ignores UFOs and, when
        without shame or apology. Last July, Senator     production values in a genre known for grainy    pressed, issues false explanations. Its
        Marco Rubio, the former acting chairman of the   footage of dubious provenance. Kean is           indifference and/or dismissals are irresponsible,
        Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on       stubborn but unassuming, and she tends to        disrespectful to credible, often expert witnesses,
        CBS News about mysterious flying objects in      speak of the impact of “the Times story,” and    and potentially dangerous.” Her book is a
        restricted airspace. “We don’t know what it is,”  the new cycle of U.F.O. attention it has        sweeping reminder that this was not always the
        he said, “and it isn’t ours.” In December, in a  inaugurated, as if she had not been its principal  case. In the decades after the Second  World
        video interview with the economist  Tyler        instigator. She told me, “When the New York      War, about half of all  Americans, including
        Cowen, the former C.I.A. director John Brennan   Times story came out, there was this sense of    many in power, accepted U.F.O.s as a matter of
        admitted, somewhat tortuously, that he didn’t    ‘This is what the U.F.O. people have wanted      course. Kean sees herself as a custodian of this
        quite know what to think: “Some of the           forever.’ ”                                      lost history. In her apartment, a tranquil space
        phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues                                                      decorated with a Burmese Buddha and bowls of
        to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some    Kean is always assiduously polite toward the     pearlescent seashells, Kean sat down on the
        type of phenomenon that is the result of         “U.F.O. people,” although she stands apart from  floor, opened her file cabinets, and disappeared
        something that we don’t yet understand and that  the ufological mainstream. “It’s not necessarily  into a drift of declassified memos, barely legible
        could involve some type of activity that some    that what Greer was saying was wrong—maybe       teletypes, and yellowing copies of The Saturday
        might say constitutes a different form of life.”  there have been visits by extraterrestrials since  Evening Post and the Times Magazine featuring
                                                         1947,” she said. “It’s that you have to be       flying-saucer covers and long, serious
        Last summer, David Norquist, the Deputy          strategic about what you say to be taken         treatments of the phenomenon.
        Secretary of Defense, announced the formal       seriously.  You don’t put out someone talking
        existence of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena   about alien bodies, even if it might be true.    Kean grew up in New York City, a descendant
        Task     Force.    The    2021     Intelligence  Nobody was ready for that; they didn’t even      of one of the nation’s oldest political dynasties.
        Authorization Act, signed this past December,    know that U.F.O.s were real.” Kean is certain    Her grandfather Robert Winthrop Kean served
        stipulated that the government had a hundred     that U.F.O.s are real. Everything else—what      ten terms in Congress; he traced his ancestry, on
        and eighty days to gather and analyze data from  they are, why they’re here, why they never       his father’s side, to John Kean, a South Carolina
        disparate agencies. Its report is expected in    alight on the  White House lawn—is               delegate to the Continental Congress, and, on
        June. In a recent interview with Fox News, John  speculation.                                     his mother’s, to John  Winthrop, one of the
        Ratcliffe, the former director of National                                                        Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay
        Intelligence, emphasized that the issue was no   Kean feels most at home in the borderlands       Colony. She speaks of her family’s legacy in
        longer to be taken lightly. “When we talk about  between the paranormal and the scientific; her   rather abstract terms, except when discussing
        sightings,” he said, “we are talking about       latest project examines the controversial        the abolitionist  William Lloyd Garrison, her
        objects that have been seen by Navy or  Air      scholarship on the possibility of consciousness  grandfather’s great-grandfather, whom she
        Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite  after death. Until recently, she dreaded the   regards as an inspiration. Her uncle is Thomas
        imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are  inevitable dinner-party moment when other       Kean, who served two terms as New Jersey’s
        difficult to explain, movements that are hard to  guests asked about her line of work and she had  governor and went on to chair the 9/11
        replicate, that we don’t have the technology for,  to mumble something about U.F.O.s. “Then       Commission.
        or are travelling at speeds that exceed the sound  they’d sort of giggle,” she said, “and I would
        barrier without a sonic boom.”                   have to say, ‘There’s actually a lot of serious                         (Continued on Page 16)
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