George W. Bush
January 20, 2001 -
"As President watchers know, we have a President who likes secrecy. He has hired tested leak-proof and loyal staffers, effectively sealing the Bush White House. He has had his records as the Governor of Texas hidden, shipping them off to his father’s Presidential library, where they are inaccessible. He has stiffed the Congressional requests for information about how he developed his energy policy - refusing to respond . . .Not since Richard Nixon has there been as concentrated an effort to keep the real work of the President hidden, showing the public only a scripted President, as now." - John Dean, former legal counsel to President Richard Nixon
"It would be easier if I was a dictator." - Statement by George W. Bush shortly after becoming President
As the Clinton administration came to a close, many researchers inside the UFO community were becoming aware that they could, with a little effort, influence the White House attitude and actions related to the UFO situation.
One of these efforts to influence the process was undertaken by Peter Robbins, a British researcher, and co-author of the best-selling book on the 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO case "Left at East Gate." His effort involved attempting to confront the candidates who were competing to succeed Clinton in the White House.
In December 1999, Robbins and some of his colleagues began Campaign Watch 2000. The campaign was designed to act as a pressure group contacting presidential campaigners, and compel them to deal with the UFO question. As part of the plan, every one of the candidates for President in 2000 election was asked the same three questions:
1. Will you grant immunity from prosecution to military and intelligence officers who are prepared to blow the whistle about the Government’s knowledge of the UFO issue?
2. Will you order the release of classified government documents related to the UFO issue?
3. What statement will you issue concerning the public’s right to access government-held UFO information?
Peter Robbins wrote to all of the 2000 presidential candidates to answer the three questions, and hopefully obtain their comments on the UFO subject. When it came to Governor Bush, Robbins came up against a brick wall. Robbins reported that he "had written, faxed, e-mailed and telephoned the candidate and his headquarters since early December 1999 . . . to no avail." Not even Certified Mail, requiring a signature from the recipient, seemed to make it to the destination. It was the first indicator that Bush and UFO openness didn’t mix.
The second strong indicator that Bush was not open to UFO disclosure came from the experience of John E.L. Tenney, the co-founder of M.A.I.N, or the Michigan Anomalous Information Network. His efforts to get campaigner George Bush to talk about UFOs met with the same failure that Peter Robbins had experienced.
On February 22, 2000, Governor Bush made a campaign visit to Tenney’s hometown of Royal Oak, Michigan. Tenney planned to ask Bush about UFOs during a scheduled meeting between local residents and Governor Bush at a local restaurant.
Governor Bush’s advance people selected the people who would be in the restaurant (Jimi’s Coney Island). After answering a series of screening questions, Tenney was picked to be one of the people to meet with Bush.
Due to the large number of people in the restaurant, Tenney decided that his best time to ask Bush about UFOs would be when Bush was exiting the restaurant, so he waited outside the restaurant for Bush to leave. He chatted with the CNN crew that was also waiting for Bush to leave.
As Bush exited the restaurant, Tenney shook hands with Bush, and asked him, "As a presidential candidate, would you like to issue a statement concerning the American public’s right to access whatever information the United States government currently has available on the topic of UFOs...?"
According to Tenney’s recollection of the event, no sooner had the word "UFO" come out of his mouth, when a Texas Ranger with Bush grabbed him by the arm, pulled him out of the crowd away from Bush, and turned him around. Another Texas Ranger pushed Bush into a van, and the van quickly left. Tenney recalled the event,
Despite a positive July 2000 experience researcher Charles Huffer had in asking Bush about UFOs, the experiences of Tenney and Robbins, ended up foreshadowing President Bush’s clear utter disregard of the UFO problem.
Once Bush became President, there were other signals that UFO disclosure was far from the President’s mind. Voters who had written the President about their UFO concerns were totally ignored.
A prime example can be seen by looking at the responses sent out by the Bush White House staff in response to questions about Dr. Steven Greer’s UFO Disclosure Project. The Disclosure Project was a project initiated by Greer "working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems."
On May 9, 2001, as a part of the Disclosure Project, Greer held a Washington news conference at the National Press Club that involved twenty high- level witnesses. Each of them spoke about their official, secret role in the government’s UFO cover-up.
Due to the fact that the event created a large amount of media interest, it was hoped that the Bush administration would be positive in its reaction to the witness statements, and to the idea of now disclosing the truth about the UFO situation.
The responses received from the Bush administration to people writing the White House about the UFO Disclosure Project, and the May 9th news conference, however, were anything but positive. Kevin Ketchikan from Woodlands, California, for example, wrote President Bush about the Disclosure Project and received a response back from Deborah Hair, Special Assistance to the President. Hair’s letter resembled that of an ill-prepared student attempting to bluff a short answer question for which she had not studied:
Another writer, Lance Cassino, received this letter from the Office of Bush’s Vice- President.
Donald G. Ewing wrote a letter to President Bush related to the Disclosure Project. On July 31, 2001, he also received a letter in reply, which made absolutely no reference to the UFO question he had asked. The letter, surprisingly, was actually signed by George Bush himself.
Michael Rieker wrote a letter to Bush asking for UFO disclosure. In reply, Rieker received this letter from Deborah Hair dated August 7, 2001:
The answers received by the voters questioning the President about the UFO Disclosure Project were disappointing, but they were much better than the replies coming to other voters who had written President Bush regarding UFOs. Some received no answer at all, and some received letters from agencies they had not even written to. None of the reply letters contained the word UFO, or anything similar.
One such person was Robert Barrow, who had exchanged more than one letter with both Congressman Gerald Ford and Senator Robert Kennedy on the subject of UFOs. On August 13, 2001 Barrow wrote a letter to President Bush asking for answers to the UFO mystery. His letter read in part:
In a P.S. to the letter Barrow reminded George Bush, that Bush had undergone pilot training at Moody AFB in Valdosta, where Barrow had run an independent physical therapy clinic for the pilots. "I know well that those who fly for the military are a special kind indeed," wrote Barrow. "A disturbing number are also on record with dramatic UFO encounters, of course, and I think they who risk their lives daily in defense of the free world, in particular, deserve answers."
Barrow sent his carefully written letter, but despite the common Moody AFB background that Bush and Barrow shared, George Bush did not reply: "I actually did not get a reply from the White House, " wrote Barrow. "My letter was unceremoniously shoved off to NASA, and a representative sent me the customary NASA handout."
The Briefing of the New President
Many UFOlogists were aware of the efforts by Laurance Rockefeller to brief President Clinton in an effort to bring a disclosure of long held UFO secrets. When it came time for a new President to take office, some of these UFOlogists made plans to brief the new President. They hoped to avoid the mistakes that had been made in the efforts to get UFO disclosure adopted by the Clinton administration.
One group who began discussions about what lobbying efforts should be made included Ronald Pandolfi, the scientist who had acted as CIA liaison to the Clinton White. Pandolfi had been invited to a supper meeting with Dan Smith, Joseph Stefula, and Gus Russo, despite his reservations about briefing Presidents on the subject of UFOs. Pandolfi felt that "the various intelligence agencies are in no way bound to cater merely to official curiosity," and that if the CIA Director makes a determination that the President shouldn’t know, then "indeed the President does not have a need to know. Period." The group met in mid- November 2000, just after the election, and during the time of uncertainty in the Florida voting recounts.
The participants were invited by Joe Stefula, a New Jersey UFOlogists, who had previously met and corresponded with the CIA UFO expert Pandolfi. Gus Russo was a journalist/author/experiencer who has attended two previous meetings with Dr. Pandolfi. Dan Smith was also a friend of Pandolfi, who had been used by Pandolfi to leak UFO information into the research community.
The plan for the briefing was to go through Nancy Bush Ellis, the sister of George Bush Sr., who was a neighbor of Dan Smith’s sister. While attending Yale University a young George W. Bush had spent a lot of time with the nearby Ellis family.
The plan to brief President-elect Bush failed. Dan Smith’s sister would have nothing to do with the idea, and Pandolfi refused to cooperate, because according to Dan Smith, he did not want to "rock the boat." Despite this setback, this author was told in November 2001, that Dan Smith still planned to brief President Bush.
Dr. Steven Greer also had plans to provide the new President with information on UFOs, and had at least one member of "the team" who had run Governor Bush’s campaign for President in one of the biggest states.
Greer felt, however, that these types of Presidential briefings rarely had the desired effect, and had given up on using Presidents to achieve disclosure. He had learned this lesson following President Clinton’s refusal to do anything after two briefings that Greer had provided for him. Clinton had sent a message back through the briefer to Greer simply saying "I can’t do this but you can."
Greer had publicly stated in 1999 that the effect to motivate Clinton was dead: "The President is not inclined to take the risk to do this. We have this – We know this for a fact."
The September 11th Effect
The events of September 11 were a great setback for the hopes of a UFO Disclosure. It had become a time of war where principles of openness, disclosure, and the brotherhood of man were exchanged for secrecy, a limiting of personal freedoms and principles of the Constitution, and revenge projected towards perceived evil in the world. Anyone who opposed this new militaristic world view was quickly labeled unpatriotic, and a provider of aid and comfort to the evil forces aligned against the United States.
UFOs suffered from a lack of focus that affected also every other aspect of society and thought. Charities not directly aligned to the terrorist attacks quickly saw money they would normally, get channeled towards the bombing victims. Those who had died in the September 11th events suddenly became the only victims in America.
Public issues such as health care, new roads, and social security suddenly took a back seat to the perceived terrorist threats and their effects on the economy. The issue of UFO and a disclosure of the truth went from a trivial, to a non-issue.
During the first days following the terrorist attack, even UFO message boards and E-mail groups did not discuss UFOs. A major national UFO convention in was canceled. The Santa Clara, California UFO Expo continued on, but many speakers did not show, either because they had a hard time getting a plane, or they felt "it would not be proper to speak in light of what had happened."
The World UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada held its convention to only a fraction of the usual crowd, and with many speakers missing. All the speakers tried to tie their UFO messages into what had just happened in New York and Washington, D.C.
Just as during the time of the Vietnam War, when personal freedoms and thought were curtailed in exchange for United States national security and a victory on the war front, this wartime mentality will end. Once the war has ended and victory achieved, the American people will again turn to questioning the morality of some of the things being done. They will also turn to issues such as UFOs, which involve principles of where the world as a whole is going, and re-examine higher principles of our place in the universe.
Until then, it appears that "secrecy" will be the watch-word of the day. It will be defended by a public wishing to be safe, and afraid of being declared unpatriotic, or an aide to the world’s terrorists.
The terrorist situation created a situation where all the Bush White House had to do is say "protect the national security" to get greater latitude regarding secrecy restrictions. Examples of new secrecy include:
8. Most importantly, the White House has been able to coerce its top officials into keeping secrets. Much of this is attributed to the working of Cheney, bringing with him the corporate attitude of secrecy being a prized commodity. "I’ve been here 29 years, and I have never seen a White House this loyal," said Charles Cook, who publishes a Washington-based political report. "That translates to being tight-lipped." Asked about the apparent excessive secrecy, reporters have been told that the White House dismisses any negative connotation related to such statements, and actually takes these observations as compliments.
Does Bush Know?
Some feel that George W. Bush actually knows a great deal about what is going on regarding UFOs. Reasons advanced to support this belief include this include the belief that George W. has likely been given information by, or because of, his father George H W. Bush.
Bush’s father had some knowledge of the UFO situation because of his former role as Director of Central Intelligence under President Ford, his eight-years as vice-president under President Reagan, and his four-years as President.
A second reason people give for their belief that Bush is knowledgeable on UFOs is that he is a Republican president, and there is a general belief Republican presidents are told more than Democratic ones because they traditionally have had much greater support from high-ranking military officers who are more likely to have been "read in" on UFOs.
A third reason that is given for believing Bush has knowledge about the true UFO situation, is that he is surrounded by people who are part of the unacknowledged, unelected policy control group that makes decisions about the UFO problem. These members would include Vice-president Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield, who have been reported to have long held deep knowledge about the UFO situation, as is Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is also rumored to have some knowledge on UFOs.
One of those who maintained that George W. Bush is not well-versed on UFOs was Dr. Steven Greer. In a Disclosure Project Town Hall meeting in Salem, Oregon, Greer described how the younger Bush had followed a different career path from the one his father had taken. This background has limited how much need- to-know he has for UFO information:
Whether or not Bush had much UFO information prior to coming to the White House, there can be little doubt that Bush has had some sort of briefing after becoming President, for a number of reasons.
The official who encountered Larry Warren outside the White House stated he was aware of the Disclosure Project. It appears, therefore, that the large UFO news conference at the National Press Club was having some impact inside the White House.
The Bush White House has also been the recipient of a great deal of UFO mail, perhaps equal to that received by President Jimmy Carter’s White House. Much of this mail was generated by Dr. Greer’s Disclosure Project which held a series of Town Halls all over the country.
In the town Halls, Greer had an organized method to get the hundreds of people attending to write to their Congressmen, and to President Bush. As well, Greer provided forms that could be filled in on the Disclosure Project home page where people could fax the White House by simply filling in a form.
The Bush White House was also under attack by California protester Lara Johnstone, who went on a hunger strike to get President Bush to address the UFO promise he had made to researcher Charles Huffer. Although the hunger strike ended after 44 days, Lara Johnstone did a number of interviews around the country about Bush’s UFO promise, and did elevate the issue to some public degree.
The UFO Disclosure efforts taking place in the nation’s capitol, and all the mail coming into the White House, may not have been seen as a major threat, but it did put the subject on the White House radar-screen. It even got the attention of the High Priest of the voice of the right-wing of the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh actually came to Bush’s rescue on the UFO issue. He took time on his show to attack Disclosure Project legal counsel Daniel Sheehan for his attack on the Bush father and son team for their handling of UFOs.
"So let me get this straight," Limbaugh stated. "The Bushes are at the heart of the vast right-wing conspiracy to keep the oil companies rich by hiding extraterrestrial solar panels or super-warm sweaters or whatever it is they showed Jimmy Carter."
Limbaugh made it clear he wasn’t buying the idea George Bush knew of, and was hiding, extraterrestrial secrets. "You may be surprised to hear me say that Mr. Sheehan is half right," Limbaugh says. "There is alien life - but we are not hiding it. We see Dick Gephart plain as day!"
As George Bush enters his second year in the White House, most UFO researchers agree that the Bush knowledge question will not be answered until after the new perceived threat from terrorism is completely dealt with. In fact, many would agree that everything in the field of UFO disclosure is on hold until that day as well.