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MUFON Request for FOIA Radar Data Denied

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posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 11:02 AM
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Photo Info: Fuzzy and ambiguous -- true. But the FAA is thwarting a researcher's attempt to review radar records that might shed light on whatever got caught on cell-phone camera last year outside Kansas City/CREDIT: MUFON



FAA backsliding on transparency

by Billy Cox

Robert Powell, the unsung co-author of MUFON’s unsung Mutual UFO Network report on Stephenville, suffered his latest FOIA setback last week.

That’s when the Federal Aviation Administration HQ in Washington gave final notice that his request for radar data surrounding several 2009 UFO incidents could take a hike.

No biggie — records are protected all the time, right? Except the denials are part of a trend curve running in the exact opposite direction of President Obama’s January 2009 executive order directing federal agencies to err on the side of transparency.

According to the Department of Transportation’s recent summary of FOIA requests, last year the FAA snubbed 105 of 6,294 requests based on legal exemptions, versus 73 denials of 7,202 FOIAs in 2008.

More deflating is how, according to Powell, the FAA didn’t even bother to itemize the specific statutes that justified its ruling.

“They just said they couldn’t release the information because it could affect national security,” Powell says from his home in Austin, Texas.

Furthermore, the FAA decision appears to represent a tacit reversal of its response to MUFON’s request for Stephenville data in 2008. Back then, the FAA supplied researchers with 2.5 million radar hits that plotted not only the UFO’s course to President Bush’s Crawford ranch, but also charted the flight paths of military jets as they shadowed the object, which approached a no-fly zone without a transponder.

Two of Powell’s 2009 FOIAs concerned pilot sightings in Houston and Memphis. The third and perhaps most interesting involved half a dozen teenagers and a cop in the Kansas suburbs just west of Kansas City, Mo., on 8/21/09.

Located five miles from each other when it happened, the kids and the cop caught the thing on separate cell-phone cameras.

The witnesses said it made a humming noise. They spread their arms four feet wide to describe the width of the UFO, meaning it was huge or close or both. And also meaning if the thing dipped below 1,000 feet, it probably would’ve eluded radar anyway.

Assuming it wasn’t also employing steath counter-measures. Powell discounts a classified military-hardware possibility due to its low-altitude path over a dense population center.

At any rate, the MUFON research director says he can’t afford the $30K-$40K in projected fees it would take for legal representation in federal court.

So he’s considering breaking out the checkbook for $500 or $1,000 or whatever they’re charging these days and filing it himself, without counsel.

“It’s not just about UFOs,” Powell says. “I just get ticked off that the government thinks it can do whatever it wants.”


www.ufocasebook.com...


what do you guys think would be the outcome if such cases are taken to court?




posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by mcrom901
 


Very interesting development , thanks for posting !



who could honestly believe the government is telling us everything ?



Sometimes lawsuits had to be initiated to gain access to withheld and censored documents. The CIA tried to resist releasing their files to the public but, in a headlined court case in 1979, they were ordered to give up nearly 900 pages of records to a UFO organization, Ground Saucer Watch.
www.project1947.com...






what do you guys think would be the outcome if such cases are taken to court?


i'm no expert but my opinion is, if the Judge that considers the case is honest and is sympathetic to the idea of getting the data released, then maybe something could happen. making an attempt will be the only way to find out.

some cases have been won...


On October 26, 2007, NASA agreed to search for those records after being ordered by the court. The judge, who had tried to move NASA along for more than 3 years, angrily referred to NASA's previous search efforts as a "ball of yarn" that never fully answered the request, adding, "I can sense the plaintiff's frustration because I'm frustrated."
en.wikipedia.org...






the question i have is, did they try and file a review of the request denial ?



If my FOIA request is denied, what can I do?

If your FOIA request is denied in whole or in part, the Bureau or Office that made the decision will notify you of the denial of your request and of your right to file an administrative application for review.
www.fcc.gov...



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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Nice post
I,d have to say that if the FAA deemed it could be a case for National Security to release the data then i think theres No way at all a Judge is going to Rule Against them.
On the other hand the FAA Would have to produce Evidence that it is For National Security Reasons why the Data Hasnt been Released.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by easynow
who could honestly believe the government is telling us everything ?



Sometimes lawsuits had to be initiated to gain access to withheld and censored documents. The CIA tried to resist releasing their files to the public but, in a headlined court case in 1979, they were ordered to give up nearly 900 pages of records to a UFO organization, Ground Saucer Watch.
www.project1947.com...





Easynow, thats a good question - even the U.S. Supreme Court appear to be complicit in witholding 'UFO related' documents - their reason being:


'the continued need for secrecy far out weighed the public's right to know.'


It also seems their decision in the Peter Gersten case effectively 'forever denied him legal access' to the classified UFO documents which are still being withheld.




More info:


In 1977 New York attorney Peter A. Gersten brought suit in the US District Court of the District of Columbia on behalf of Ground Saucer Watch, an Arizona based UFO organization. The lawsuit was against the Central Intelligence Agency pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. Gersten demanded the release of classified UFO related documents. Pursuant to the lawsuit, the CIA in 1979 released over 900 pages of documents relating to the UFO phenomenon. But they refused to release 57 documents, claiming national security considerations.

On June 24,1980 Gersten brought suit in the same District Court against the National Security Agency but this time on behalf of his own recently formed organization, Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS). His objective was 135 UFO related documents the NCI had refused to release. On November 18, 1980, based upon a NSA top secret affidavit which Gersten was not allowed to see, US District Court Judge Gerhard A. Gesell dismissed the lawsuit stating that 'the continued need for secrecy far out weighed the public's right to know.'

After Gersten's appeal to the US Court of Appeals was denied in 1981, he brought a Writ of Certiorari to the US Supreme Court. On March 8,1982, four and one-half years after the first lawsuit, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the Writ, thereby precluding Gersten from obtaining the documents through legal channels.

Link


Cheers.

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by easynow
reply to post by mcrom901
 


some cases have been won...


On October 26, 2007, NASA agreed to search for those records after being ordered by the court. The judge, who had tried to move NASA along for more than 3 years, angrily referred to NASA's previous search efforts as a "ball of yarn" that never fully answered the request, adding, "I can sense the plaintiff's frustration because I'm frustrated."
en.wikipedia.org...



thanks buddy.... but though that case was won.... lot of questions still remain unanswered.....



The lengthy process of the NASA lawsuit highlights the problems inherent to the Freedom of Information Act for the average citizen, and shows that much of our history is not available to public researchers. When we sent our first FOIA request to NASA with a list of five specific search items, the agency replied that it had no documents responsive to our request. This simply wasn’t true, as was shown later. It was only through the pressure of our appeal and then a federal lawsuit that hundreds of documents – responsive to our initial request and therefore rightfully ours under the law – were provided.



I also asked for a new search for the files in form 68A2062 – “NASA Fragology Files” – which, as we were previously told, had been missing since 1987. The SF 135 for these files should have been included in the notebooks but was not. The two boxes of fragology files from 1962 to 1967 are described as “reports of space objects’ recovery, [and] analysis of fragments to determine national ownership and vehicle origin.” They would therefore be of special interest to the Kecksburg case.

Other SF 135s that should have been included in the notebooks were not. (We knew this because we had previously worked with a professional archival research firm which had acquired some that should have been included.) For example, the form for two boxes "pertaining to NASA/DOD Liason, 1966-74” were not included. Box 1 included Orbital Debris; Policies & Procedures; Box 2 included DOD Army, DOD Air Force.



Also missing were many attachments, appendices and photos, which were referred to in the files as being enclosed or attached, but weren’t.



The fact that no Kecksburg documents were released from NASA could mean many things. They could be accessible, but filed under some obscure search term or code name, that we didn’t include or couldn’t have known. Maybe some additional SF 135 Forms listing an inventory of relevant files were not included in the initial notebooks, so we never pointed NASA to the right place. Or, files related to the Kecksburg incident could be stored somewhere else in NASA’s massive bureaucracy beyond the offices we approached. They could be classified, or otherwise inaccessible to the employees conducting this search. They could have been destroyed, or even lost; maybe checked out by someone, such as NASA employee Paul Willis, and never returned.



We also now know for sure that the missing fragology files will never be found, since four new searches were conducted on our behalf. We have to accept that they were destroyed in 1987, as NASA says, despite the handwritten notation on one SF 135, previously released through the FOIA, that the files were still at the Federal Records Center in 1994. Other files we requested remain missing or destroyed as well. We learned for the first time that important files were checked out by a NASA employee – one who wanted also to get the fragology files and was perhaps the first to learn they were missing - and when he didn’t return them, no one followed up to request that he bring them back. Why were these files not returned, and what happened to them? Despite our concern about this, NASAwas unwilling to attempt to answer this question by finding this former employee and inquiring about the files.


www.freedomofinfo.org...




posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by karl 12
Easynow, thats a good question - even the U.S. Supreme Court appear to be complicit in witholding 'UFO related' documents - their reason being:

'the continued need for secrecy far out weighed the public's right to know.'

It also seems their decision in the Peter Gersten case effectively 'forever denied him legal access' to the classified UFO documents which are still being withheld.


thanks mate..... that sounds like dang 'access to the can of worms denied'


Most of Gersten's UFO-related lawsuits eventually hit a dead end -- sometimes literally.

Like the suit against the Army for the autopsy reports on the alien bodies from the Roswell crash which Col. Philip Corso, as chief of the Army's Foreign Technology Division, claimed to have seen in 1961, according to his book The Day After Roswell. Corso died last year in the midst of the suit.

"The Army didn't say Corso was lying," notes Gersten, "they just said they didn't have any documents."

Surprisingly Gersten is rather pessimistic about ever seeing any official disclosure on the UFOs.

"It would be like opening a can of worms," he says. "They couldn't control it. The media would be all over the story. People would want to know why the government lied to us in the past. The hysteria would dwarf that of the OJ trial and the impeachment hearings."

"There would be an insatiable desire for information: What about Mars? What about the Moon? I got abducted last night, aren't you going to protect us? Oh, there's the object again! It would jam everything up, just like the 1953 CIA Robertson Panel said would happen. So the bottom line is that there will never be an official disclosure. It's a practical impossibility. It will never happen. "

But that won't keep Gersten from trying.
www.space.com...



its also interesting to note that he also handled the Cash-Landrum Incident


Eventually, Cash and Landrum contacted their U.S. Senators, Lloyd Bentsen and John Tower, who suggested that the witnesses file a complaint with the Judge Advocate Claims office at Bergstrom Air Force Base. In August 1981, Cash, Landrum, and Colby were interviewed at length by personnel at Bergstrom Air Force Base, and were told that they should hire a lawyer, and seek compensation for their injuries.[2]

With attorney Peter Gersten taking on the case pro bono, the case wound its way through the U.S. Courts for several years. Cash and Landrum sued the U.S government for $20 million.

On August 21, 1986, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed their case, noting that the plaintiffs had not proved that the helicopters were associated with the U.S. Government, and that military officials had testified that the United States Armed Forces did not have a large, diamond shaped aircraft in their possession.


en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Dec, 19 2010 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by mcrom901
 


No probs matey, there's more info about the Stephenville UFOs at the thread below including an incident where a police officer tracked an unknown object on his radar gun:


UFOs reported near George Bush's ranch


Cheers.



posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 12:46 PM
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Furthermore, the FAA decision appears to represent a tacit reversal of its response to MUFON’s request for Stephenville data in 2008. Back then, the FAA supplied researchers with 2.5 million radar hits that plotted not only the UFO’s course to President Bush’s Crawford ranch, but also charted the flight paths of military jets as they shadowed the object, which approached a no-fly zone without a transponder.

Ne laws are invented everyday for the greater good.. not surprised by some of the changes of heart





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