In January 2001, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released to me 991 pages of documents related to an Freedom of Information Request asking for documents related to UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and the Rockefeller Initiative.
The documents consist of all the correspondence coming into and going from the office on the requested subjects. There is some internal correspondence on these issues. All FOIAs filed in the areas of UFOs were included in the package. Most of the 991 pages are related to the Rockefeller Disclosure Initiative set up to gain declassification of all UFO files held by the United States government.
I should note, at this point to anyone thinking of paying the $135.00 to obtain this set of documents, that the documents are very poorly filed compared to the excellent list of documents compiled by the FOIA officer Barbara Ann Ferguson. The first set of documents I received was short almost 300 pages from what was listed. After attempts to straighten this out, I discovered 170 pages still missing.
The 88 documents that make up the set are numbered 1 through 88. I strongly suggest anyone requesting the documents check the number against the document, as well as checking to see that the document number fits the document described. Many documents I received had two different numbers - which means one of the two documents ordered isn’t there. I would also suggest a very careful checking of the entire package once it is received. This will take many hours.
This paper is an attempt to provide an overview of what is contained in the collection, as well as provide a bit of background of what was going on related to UFOs in the Clinton White House outside of these documents which only with The Office of Science and Technology Policy, which is only one arm of the White House. Anyone wanting a copy of this paper complete with the footnotes should contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I will provide you a copy in Word or Word Perfect formats.
The first document to begin what would become a long flurry of documents into and out of the Office of Science and Technology Policy was written by Henry L. Diamond, attorney for Laurance S. Rockefeller. It was dated March 29, 1993.
The Letter states that Rockefeller, who was described by Diamond as “a leading U.S. conservationist, businessman, and philanthropist,” was “anxious to have a brief meeting with Dr. Gibbons (Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology) to discuss the potential availability of government information about unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial life.”[i]
Rockefeller according to the Diamond letter was taking this preliminary step in preparation for “an approach to President Clinton on this subject.” Rockefeller, the letter said, was prepared to tell President Clinton that
“There is a belief in many quarters that the government has long held classified information regarding UFOs which has not been released and that the failure to do so has brought about unnecessary suspicion and distrust. Many believe that the release of such information, if it exists, on a basis consistent with national security considerations, would be a significant gesture which would increase confidence in government.”[ii]
The proposal of a preliminary meeting with Gibbons was to discuss the issues, thus making “his (Rockefeller) communication to the President as useful as possible.” Diamond proposed a 45-minute meeting that would be attended by himself, Rockefeller, and Scott Jones, then President of the Human Potential Foundation.
There are no documents in the OSTP package, which show Dr. Gibbons accepting the Rockefeller offer for a briefing, but he did accept. On April 14, 1993, at 7:30 am Laurance Rockefeller and Dr. Scott Jones sat across from Dr. Jack Gibbons and his aide Skip Johns and briefed him on the current state of Ufology, with the help of a briefing paper titled “The Matrix of UFO Beliefs.” The paper had been written by award winning journalist Richard Farley.[iii] Farley was a member of the Rockefeller UFO Disclosure Initiative to the Clinton White House, from October 1992 through April 1994. He resigned from the UFO effort in protest to Rockefeller's approach to the problem. Farley wrote the paper based on his 20 years of active inquiry into 'UFO' phenomena. The main contributors to Farley's thinking were J. Allen Hynek, and prominent Ufologist Jacques Vallee.
A second briefing paper was prepared for this Gibbons briefing by Rockefeller. This paper was prepared at the direction of the Central Intelligence Agency. It involved what amounted to a “using” of UFO researcher Bruce Maccabee to prepare the paper in record time. It will be discussed later related to correspondence sent to Gibbons office by Dick Farley. Enclosed with Farley correspondence were enclosures, which clearly describe what happened.
There were no actual OSTP records of the briefing in the FOIA package, other than a copy of the briefing paper “The Matrix of UFO Beliefs”. Strangely, Richard Farley stated to this author that the copy of the “Matrix of UFO Beliefs” found in the OSTP records is not the same one he wrote. Scott Jones had changed it, he stated, for an altered version. Farley has also made this claim elsewhere. The only other item found in the OSTP files is a briefing paper written by Bruce Maccabee, but it will be discussed later.
The records we have telling us what happened at the briefing come from outside the White House. Those involve accounts from briefers Laurance Rockefeller, Scott Jones, and Richard Farley who were involved in writing the briefing.
On April 21, 1993, one week after the briefing took place, Rockefeller wrote Gibbons thanking him for the chance to present their case for “UFOs and Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” As a follow-up to what they had discussed in the briefing, Rockefeller stated that Scott Jones would be providing an annotated bibliography as important background source material on UFOs. According to Rockefeller’s letter, Gibbons had apparently welcomed the idea. Rockefeller also figured that the background material would be important because during the briefing Dr. Gibbons had related that in three months as Science Advisor to the President he had not “learned that the United States government has a body of knowledge on UFOs or ETI that is being withheld from the public.”[iv]
In a May 26th letter from Gibbons to Scott Jones, Gibbons revealed not only had he been provided with a bibliography, he was provided with a number of books from the Jones Foundation Library. Gibbons indicated that he was reading the UFO books and would return them when he was done.[v]
Rockefeller also revealed in the April 21st letter that Gibbons had, following the briefing, recommended that the UFO government issue be sent to Secretary of Defense Les Aspin for action. Despite Gibbons suggestion that Defense handle the UFO issue, there was an indication that aides in Gibbons office were interested in the UFO issue. (Documents found later in the OSTP package show that Aspin (at the advising of Melvin Laird, former Secretary of Defense in the Nixon Administration) sent the UFO issue back to OSTP and the President for action.
In one of the concluding paragraphs of the April 13th letter, Rockefeller notified Gibbons that Scott Jones was “ planning to convene a small group to discuss the state of knowledge about UFOs and ETI in an informal, non-public way.” The suggestion was made that Gibbons or one of his staffers would be welcome as an observer. One of Gibbons staff members scribbled in the margin of the letter, “I would be willing to go if JHG (John H. Gibbons) OKs it.”
The official invitation to discuss UFOs privately came in an August 4, 1993 letter from Rockefeller to Gibbons. The informal roundtable discussion was to be held September 13-15, 1993 at Rockefeller’s JY Ranch in the Teton Forest near Jackson Hole Wyoming. Along with representatives from Gibbons office, Richard Farley, Rockefeller, Henry Diamond, Dr. Scott Jones, Dr. John Mack, Dr. Bruce Maccabee, Dr. Leo Sprinkle, Linda Moulton Howe, Dr. Steven Greer, and Keith Thompson attended.
Skip Johns, a key Gibbons staffer, who had been present with Gibbons during the initial Rockefeller UFO briefing, wrote a note on top of the document to Tim, another Gibbons staffer, “JHG would like to discuss with you.” Unfortunately according to one of those attending, Bruce Maccabee, no one from the Science Advisor’s office attended.
On October 20, 1993 Gibbons and Rockefeller’s lawyer Henry Diamond met and talked at the Environmental Law Institute. Diamond wrote a letter to Gibbons informing him that Mr. Rockefeller would like to have another meeting to discuss UFOs.
Shortly after this October request by Diamond another UFO researcher Steven Greer, International Director of Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI), made his move to, like Rockefeller, brief the Clinton White House people on the UFO subject, and achieve two of the same goals that were being promoted by Rockefeller: 1) attain a complete declassification of all UFO documents within the U.S. Government, and 2) gain amnesty for witnesses involved in classified UFO activities, so they could tell their stories without fear of reprisal.
On December 13, 1993 Dr. Greer met with the “principal advisor to the President for Intelligence matters related to national security,” DCI Director James Woolsey. The meeting was set up through the cooperation of John L. Petersen, who had worked in the Office of the Secretary of defense, and on the National Security Staff at the White House. At the time of the briefing, Petersen was the director of the Washington area think tank known as the Arlington Institute.[vi]
Like Dr. Gibbons, Clinton’s DCI was open to a briefing on UFOs. There were two reasons for this. James Woolsey and his wife, Sue Woolsey (Chief Operating Officer of the National Academy of Sciences) had experienced a daylight sighting in New Hampshire in the late sixties. In addition, Woolsey was attempting to open things up. Only weeks before, On November 30, James Woolsey had appeared on CNN’s Larry King Show. There, Gibbons had stated that the new Clinton administration “wished to disclose historical material in a spirit of new openness.”
The briefing of Woolsey and his wife by Dr. Greer lasted three hours, a very long time in the world of briefings. It led Woolsey to request information from within the CIA about certain cases that had been provided to him by Greer. Woolsey was unable to obtain any further material. What Woolsey received in reply to his queries has often been described as the “ empty file syndrome.”
Even though Woolsey enjoyed more power to get the answers to the UFO mystery than did Jack Gibbons, he was cut off from President Clinton. Part of his isolation was caused, in Woolsey’s opinion, by the fact that Clinton’s interests lay in domestic political issues, and not intelligence matters.
Woolsey reportedly only met in person with the President twice during his entire tenure as DCI. Woolsey described his weakened position. “I sort of wandered in,” Woolsey said of his job as DCI, “and wandered out.”[vii] When a man crashed a plane on the White House lawn, the joke went around the CIA that it was Woolsey trying to get a meeting with the President. Years after Woolsey left the Clinton White House, even he took to telling the plane joke.
Woolsey’s UFO requests also led to a new study of the CIA records related to the UFO phenomena. In 1997, the CIA published the results of this study in their classified publication “Studies in Intelligence.” The paper was titled, "CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-1990." CIA historian Gerald K. Haines authored it. The unclassified version published a couple years later received wide distribution on the Internet.
Greer went on to brief many of the people inside the Clinton White House. From the apparent evidence he was much more active proselytizing White House staff on UFOs than were Jones and Rockefeller. During one interview he mentioned some of the people inside the Clinton administration who had been briefed by himself or his briefing team:
“There were many briefing materials that were given, not only to the CIA Director Mr. Woolsey, but to other senior members of the Clinton administration. Members of our team of the CSETI Project Starlight team were able to provide briefing materials to and meetings with the Presidents’ closest friends, and the Bruce Lindsay family. Bruce Lindsay being the President’s sort of senior counselor in the White House, but also one of his closest friends...We were also able to do similar briefing materials and conveyed them to the President’s Science Advisor, to Tony Lake, who at the time was the National Security Advisor to the President...to senior people in Al Gore’s office, his Chief of Staff, as well as Al Gore, and many of his personal friends.”[viii]
Despite these many briefing, Dr. Greer is only mentioned in passing in the 1,000 pages of material released by the OSTP. This is probably accounted for by the fact that his contacts were outside the OSTP, and the record of his contacts will not be available until 2006 when the Clinton files become subject to FOIA.
The lack of OSTP references to Greer does not mean that Greer and Rockefeller did not cross paths. Greer did have contact with Laurance Rockefeller. The complete record of their association is not totally known yet. What is know is that Greer did at one time have close connections with Dr. Gibbons UFO briefer Laurance Rockefeller. A few months before doing his briefing with Woolsey, Dr. Greer had met with Rockefeller at his ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During this meeting Dr. Greer provided Rockefeller with material that Rockefeller had requested for a briefing of President Clinton (which did occur in August 1995). Dr. Greer provided him “a package of evidence, assessments and other documents.”[ix]
He and Rockefeller had been working together since February 1994. He had provided Rockefeller with the latest UFO information being received from top-level deep-throats in contact with CSETI. Rockefeller, in exchange, provided funding for Dr. Greer’s The Project Starlight Coalition (PSC). The PSC was a group CSETI had formed in July 1993. Greer described it as “a voluntary association of researchers, scientists, world leaders and concerned citizens who are dedicated to effecting a non-harmful disclosure on the UFO/ETI (Unidentified Flying Object / Extraterrestrial Intelligence) issue in the near future.”