“What he is saying is that there are certain individuals in the Defense Department who actually attacked him and publicly lied about him, using the color of the authority of their offices to denigrate him and discredit him and which interfered with his ability to seek and obtain paid employment in the world, ”said Daniel Sheehan, Elizondo’s lawyer. “And also threatening his security clearance.”
Sheehan, a lawyer and public interest activist, has a long history of taking the federal government on behalf of high profile clients, including defending the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case as well as one of the Watergate burglars. .
He is also widely regarded as a provocateur who has a constant interest in UFOs and has spoken publicly about extraterrestrial visits. He was also an attorney for the Disclosure Project, led by ufologist Steven Greer, which sought to force more government transparency on UFOs.
When asked to comment, Elizondo referred questions to Sheehan.
Sheehan maintains that the goal of Elizondo’s IG complaint is much greater than cleaning up his name: he wants to force the Pentagon to dispel any ambiguity about what it knows about UFOs.
“No one seemed to take this thing seriously,” Sheehan said of Elizondo’s concerns when he left the Pentagon in 2017. “The different units and groups that are responsible for responding to this particular phenomenon… they do not inform each other about it. . “
“The old dodge,” Sheehan said, “is” well, the real problem was that one store wasn’t communicating with the other store. This is the classic bureaucratic dodge. I’m trying to get the Department of Defense to clarify for the public and the media what exactly is the mapping within the Department of Defense to deal with this particular phenomenon.
A spokesperson for the IG Defense Department office declined to comment on the status of Elizondo’s complaint. “I cannot speculate or deliberate on any complaints our office may have received,” said Dwrena Allen. “I certainly cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the same. “
But a day after Elizondo filed his complaint, the IG announced an investigation into the Pentagon’s “actions” on UFOs, which is being undertaken by the Deputy Inspector General for assessments on space, intelligence. , engineering and monitoring.
“We may revise the goal as the assessment progresses, and we will consider management’s suggestions for additional or revised goals,” the IG memo announcing the survey said.
It is still unclear whether Elizondo’s allegations will merit an official investigation, but his legal team says he is expected to meet with IG investigators again next month.
Elizondo has become a minor celebrity since he retired from the Pentagon in October 2017 and went public with the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, a Pentagon secret effort launched in 2008 by Sen. Harry Reid. POLITICO and The New York Times revealed the existence of the office and Elizondo’s role in it in December 2017.
Elizondo complained at the time that his Pentagon bosses did not take seriously many intrusions into military airspace by high performance aircraft of unknown origin.
“It was around this time that I became more and more frustrated with the lack of resources and interest from senior leaders,” he said in the IG’s complaint. “UAP reports to our office were increasing, but our resources were minimal and management involvement was almost non-existent.
“After increased frustration,” he added, “I became alarmed by the frequency and duration of UAP activity in and around controlled US airspace. The examples seemed more provocative, and in one case they approached an American fighter jet. “
After retiring from government service, Elizondo also shared with the media a trio of Navy videos that he declassified before leaving government service.
He claims he has since endured a coordinated effort to disparage his reputation, including Pentagon press statements claiming he had no official role in UFO research, even after his role was officially confirmed. . He also alleges a personal vendetta from a Pentagon rival who he says has repeatedly sought to damage his career, including trying to get him investigated for posting the video. after being released from any wrongdoing.
Elizondo accuses “malicious activity, coordinated disinformation, professional misconduct, retaliation from whistleblowers and explicit threats perpetrated by some senior Pentagon officials,” according to the complaint, which includes dozens of supporting documents.
POLITICO refuses to release the names of Pentagon officials who are cited in the IG complaint because it is not known whether they are under investigation.
But Elizondo told the IG he had evidence, in the form of emails, documents and public records, “which suggests a coordinated effort to cover up the truth from the American people while damaging my reputation as an elder. intelligence officer at the Pentagon ”.
“These negative actions against me have resulted in great personal and professional challenges for me and my family,” he adds in the complaint.
Recounting an episode in the days following his departure from government service, Elizondo claims that a senior official warned him that he “would tell people you’re crazy, and that could impact your security clearance.” “.
“I responded … telling him that he could take any action he prudently deemed necessary, but that I had no mental disability and had never violated my security oath,” Elizondo wrote. in the complaint, stating that he had not met the official again “after our discussion because I was afraid he would retaliate against me.” “
The IG complaint also alleges that the Pentagon press operation engaged in a campaign of disinformation to discredit him by suggesting he was lying about his UFO work.
He cites several public statements claiming that the department had no record of his involvement in UFOs even after he said he worked for AATIP.
“Several internet bloggers have been told… that I have no obligation to AATIP and that AATIP does not involve studying UAPs,” Elizondo told the IG. “As a result, bloggers started posting stories accusing me of being a maker. “
He said that when he asked why the Pentagon changed its official story on AATIP, he claimed that someone directly involved told him that he “was not happy with the way it was handled. internally with the ministry ”. The official also said he “knew I was running AATIP, but the forces inside the building were telling him not to admit it,” according to Elizondo.
The Pentagon’s public affairs office declined to comment for this story.
The Department of Defense this month publicly acknowledged in a statement that the AATIP program was involved in UFO research, but did not correct the record of Elizondo’s involvement, he said.
“It goes beyond simple ambiguity,” Sheehan said. ” The [are] real discordant narratives unfolding. They profess great confusion. “
Elizondo maintains that efforts to punish him for coming forward continue. The IG’s complaint points out that its publication of the three unclassified UFO videos was investigated by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations and “there has been no discovery that I was conducting some unauthorized disclosure. “
But he says he was contacted in April by the Counter-Intelligence and Defense Security Agency, advising him to undergo a new interview to maintain his authorization even though it was renewed in January 2021. And he maintains that ‘he was told it was concerns about whether he had broken the rules when he released the UFO videos to the public.
“Despite a previous favorable AFOSI investigation, I am accused of having disseminated the videos in an unauthorized manner,” he wrote in the IG’s complaint.
Elizondo has gone on to state publicly that he believes the government is hiding what it knows about UFO sightings. And Sheehan also claims that Elizondo’s experience in the Pentagon bureaucracy means a much deeper resistance to purity.
He said there was “this extraordinarily bizarre process going on at the heart of the state’s national security bureaucracy where general officers, defense secretaries are not briefed on something that transparently reports. of their competence.
“It’s a deep and fundamental issue that they see as being above their pay grade,” Sheehan added. “They know something is going on and they don’t dare to go.”