UFO Hacker Free On Bond.... But What Did He Find?

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Remember
UFO computer hacker Gary McKinnon? He’s the 39-year-old English
unemployed computer engineer accused of hacking into as many as
97 U. S. military and NASA computers between 2001 and 2002. He was
arrested in England on June 15, 2005 but was released on bail July
1 by a British magistrate. He is scheduled to appear in court for
an extradition hearing on July 27th.

According
to Paul McNulty, the U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of
Virginia, McKinnon (alias SOLO) engaged in the “biggest military
computer hack of all time.” Using several off-the-shelf software
programs, including one called “Remotely Anywhere," McKinnon allegedly
disrupted military and intelligence communications, monitored network
traffic and deleted numerous U. S. Army, CIA, and NASA files causing
an estimated $700,000 in damages. If extradited to the U. S. and
convicted on 22 separate charges, he could spend the next 70 years
in jail.

McKinnon,
an avowed pacifist, does not deny that he hacked U.S. military and
intelligence computer systems over the internet. But through his
attorney he claims that the primary purpose of the hack was to “prove
the existence of UFOs," an existence that the U.S. (and British)
military and intelligence community has continued to steadfastly
deny. And friends of McKinnon reportedly have claimed that he found
“thousands of UFO photos on U.S. intelligence computers.” Whether
any of this is true or will be relevant in the extradition hearing
remains to be seen.

The
larger and more important issue, of course, that goes beyond the
hacking is: Does the U. S. military and intelligence community actually
have evidence that UFOs exist and may well be a threat to the national
security? Although much has been written on this subject, the most
careful and sober treatment of the issue is Richard M. Dolan’s UFOs
and the National Security State
(Hampton Roads Publishing,
2002).

Dolan
argues persuasively that select individuals within the U. S. military
and intelligence community, working entirely behind the scenes,
accepted the physical existence of the UFO by at least the late
1940’s. Moreover, given the reality of US airspace penetration by
UFOs and the distinct possibility of mistaking UFOs for a Soviet
air/missile attack, the national security aspects of the subject
was treated with absolute seriousness, as they should have been.
Even as early as September 23, 1947, General Nathan Twining, Commanding
General of Air Material Command, sent a then-secret memorandum to
Brigadier General George Schulgen at the Pentagon which stated that:

“The
reported phenomenon (the flying disc) is something real and not
visionary or fictitious…There are objects the shape of a disc, of
such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft…The
reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb,
maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be
considered EVASIVE when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft
and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects
are controlled either manually, automatically or remotely.”

Evasive?
Could mirages, balloons and ball lightening evade fighter planes
scrambled to pursue “objects the shape of a disc”? Or be tracked
on ground radar at 8,000 mph? Less than a year after the Twining
memo, and after several spectacular sightings, the first Air Force
special project on UFOs (Project Sign) generated a Top Secret “Estimate
of the Situation” which concluded, according to Ed Ruppelt former
head of Project Blue Book, that some UFOs were interplanetary machines.
And when secret US and Russian aircraft programs were ruled out
as the source of the UFO (the Russians and their US counterparts
were hardly field-testing exotic air technology over the Hudson
Valley or the Florida everglades), the military and intelligence
people in charge must have made explicit decisions to move all serious
study of the UFO underground for national security reasons. According
to Dolan, that policy decision was made more than 50 years ago and
despite occasional leaks has continued to the present.

The
above scenario explains much. It explains the many silly Blue Book
“explanations” of cases – such as the seven reported landings
of a huge bright egg-shaped object in Levelland, Texas on November
2, 1957, that stalled automobiles and killed headlights, which Blue
Book officially whitewashed as “ball lightning.” It explains, despite
continual Air Force disclaimers of “nothing to hide," the public
censorship of UFO secrecy critic Major Donald E. Keyhoe on the Armstrong
Circle Theater on January 22, 1958. When Keyhoe departed suddenly
from the TelePrompTer script and said “And now I’m going to reveal
something that has never been disclosed before…” his microphone
was abruptly cut off. The live TV audience saw his lips moving but
his audio had been zapped by the Air Force and CBS under prior agreement.

It
explains the ridiculing and eventual formal muzzling of commercial
airline pilots for reporting UFOs to the press. It explains the
CIA sponsored Robertson Panel’s recommendations (1953, but kept
secret for more than a decade) that the elite media be enlisted
in “training and debunking” programs whose “aim would result in
(a) reduction in public interest in ‘flying saucers’…” And while
the public never did lose interest, the relentless government and
media debunking and ridiculing of the subject – and anyone who took
it seriously – effectively killed off serious scholarly interest
in solving the mystery. UFOs were to be forever associated with
the paranormal and with new age irrationalism and, thus, became
a kind of third rail in formal science and in academia; those who
touched it risked putting their careers in mortal peril. Almost
none did.

Yet
despite the research and disclosure disincentives, cover-ups (like
cartels) always leak and bits and pieces of the government’s actual
concern about UFOs have surfaced over the years. Critics using the
Freedom of Information Act have shaken loose dozens of important
letters, memos and reports relative to UFO reality and secrecy that
belie official explanations and public statements made at the time.
In addition, many supposed government UFO documents, some with spectacular
implications, are in
the process of authentication and release
.

Now
whether computer hacker Gary McKinnon actually accessed secret military
UFO files is anyone’s guess. If there is an open trial, perhaps
we will finally find out whether the speculations of Richard Dolan
and others are correct. But don’t hold your breath.

July
7, 2005

Dom
Armentano [send him mail]
is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford (CT) and the
author of Antitrust
and Monopoly

(Independent Institute, 1998) and Antitrust:
The Case for Repeal

(Mises Institute, 1999). He has published articles, op/eds and reviews
in The New
York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Financial Times, Financial
Post, Hartford Courant, National Review, Antitrust Bulletin
and many other journals. He has followed the UFO controversy for
more than four decades.

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