Thomas A. Monheim
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Thomas A. Monheim, nominee for Inspector General of the Intelligence Community speaks at a hearing with the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on July 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.
In August, shortly after U.S. government UFO whistleblower David Grusch gave testimony to Congress about crashed spacecraft and alien "biologics," many observers wondered how much credence to put in his testimony. After all, Grusch is just a single individual. The other two individuals who testified before Congress were former Navy pilots who said they had no evidence of a government program to retrieve and reverse-engineer spacecraft of exotic and apparently nonhuman origin.

But at least 30 other whistleblowers working for the federal government or government contractors have given testimony, or a "protected disclosure," to the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG), the Defense Department Inspector General (DOD IG), or to Congress over the last several months, according to multiple sources interviewed by Public.

When told that whistleblowers had come forward to share information similar to that shared by Grusch with Congress, Mick West, a prominent skeptic of UFOs, said, "It'd be very interesting. You know, more people saying the same thing independently makes it more likely to be true."

And yet the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Thomas A. Monheim, on September 15 appeared to deny, in a letter to Congress, that his office was investigating these claims. Monheim said that his office "has not conducted any audit, inspection, evaluation, or review of alleged UAP programs within responsibility authority of the DNI that would enable ... a fulsome response."

But the way Monheim worded his response suggests he gave himself some wiggle room. Matthew Pines, a civilian intelligence analyst, noted last week that "the official taxonomy for IC IG activities includes: 'audits, investigations, inspections, and reviews.' Is it curious that an 'investigation' is not denied?... The Investigations Division is structurally separate from the Audit and Inspections & Evaluation Divisions."

The fact that dozens of whistleblowers have come forward is not evidence of extraterrestrial life nor of a government conspiracy to cover up a retrieval or reverse-engineering program. And not all of the whistleblowers may be reporting evidence of UAPs. Some may simply be reporting illegal or unethical behavior related to UAP programs.

But the sources, who asked to remain anonymous and are all in a position to know, told Public that, in addition to the whistleblowers reporting wrongdoing, between 30 to 50 government employees or contractors have gone to the DoD's All-Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) to offer testimony about UAPs.

"Some witnesses/whistleblowers are coming forward directly to AARO, some to the DOD IG, some to the IC IG, and some to Congress," said Nick Pope, a UAP expert who worked on the issue for the UK's Ministry of Defense.

Many have speculated as to whether Grusch and other UAP whistleblowers or witnesses might be part of a US government disinformation campaign.

A former US Air Force intelligence officer working at Kirtland Air Force Base in the 1980s through to the first decade of this century admitted to British journalist Mark Pilkington and others that he spread disinformation about UFOs with the aim of misleading civilian UFO investigators in order to cover-up both US military as well as nonhuman technology programs.

But, experts interviewed by Public say it is unlikely that people waging a disinformation campaign would do it through the Office of the Inspector General since doing so puts individuals at risk.

"Considering the broader context, to include Grusch's allegations, previous reporting by Public, and the extraordinary legislation working its way through Congress," said Marik von Rennenkampff, a former Pentagon appointee under the Obama administration, "I find it hard to believe that so many individuals would open themselves up to significant legal jeopardy by willfully lying to inspectors general."

Knowingly giving false testimony to the IC IG is punishable by fines up to $ 10,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. If found guilty of lying to Congress, Grusch would face up to five years in prison.

At the same time, the history of past government disinformation campaigns in general, and as they specifically relate to UAPs, involves the mixing of accurate information and inaccurate information, making it difficult or impossible to feel confident in understanding the meaning of fundamental elements of the phenomenon.

That reality and the need to prevent government officials from deliberately misleading journalists, policymakers, and the public make greater transparency and disclosure essential, both UFO skeptics and believers agree.

"It's either that dozens of highly cleared officials are in the grip of an enduring, bizarre delusion, are witting participants to a broad scale and long-running psychological deception," said Pines, "or they are relaying factual information on extraordinary covert programs."

Said West, "I can understand why people would think ufology is frivolous and a waste of government money, and we shouldn't be looking into it. But they don't think we shouldn't release the secret information about crashed alien craft, you know, something everybody wants to see."

Extraordinary Claims

Testimony has included both first-hand and second-hand reports of crash retrieval and reverse-engineering programs by US, Russian, and Chinese governments; the testing of materials obtained from retrieved craft; active and ongoing government disinformation operations; kinetic military action with UAPs; contact and collaboration with nonhuman intelligence (NHIs); and the successful reverse-engineering of a triangle-shaped craft with unconventional propulsion.

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