Nearly two decades ago, a think-tank in Washington D.C. invited past and present government officials from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon and elsewhere to debate the risks of revealing the truth about UFOs.
The 2004 event — according to a former CIA scientist who went public with the shocking story Friday — broke into working groups to weigh the positive and negative ramifications of declassifying America's top secret UFO programs.Every working group according to that scientist, Dr. Hal Puthoff, came back with the same conclusion: the societal risks of UFO 'disclosure' were just too great.
But now, a host of Washington insiders are calling for a strategic 'campaign' to drag these alleged UFO reverse-engineering programs out into public view.
The pivot emerged this weekend at an invite-only conference of former government officials, tenured physicists and other academic researchers, activists and reporters, held at Stanford University and attended by DailyMail.com.
The most explosive moments from the UFO event — the first ever symposium of the new nonprofit Sol Foundation
, which is dedicated to exploring the broad implications of what are now called 'Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena' or UAP — came from recently retired US Army Colonel Karl E. Nell.On Saturday, Col. Nell called for a 'UAP campaign plan' to compel transparency as well as 'a Manhattan Project' to successfully reverse engineer recovered UAP craft.
His stated goals, as heard by DailyMail.com at the event, were nothing less than broad transparency on covert UAP programs 'on or before conclusion of the decade.'
In a later slide, Col. Nell projected his strategic hope that so-called 'disclosure' on the UAP issue would be complete by October 1, 2030
, although he admitted his timeline targets were 'at risk' of falling behind.
The Sol Foundation's lofty goal, as described by the now famous UFO whistleblower and US Air Force veteran David Grusch, was to 'open ourselves to a future where truth, unity, technological advancements and a deeper understanding of our existence converge.'
Grusch, who now serves as the group's chief operating officer, delivered the concluding remarks for Sol's first ever symposium Saturday night, via a remote live video feed.
'Let us advocate for transparency, not for ourselves,' Grusch told the assembled attendees, 'but for the generations to come, as we embark on a journey toward a more enlightened and interconnected world.'Last June, Col. Nell staked his own reputation to Grusch's public testimony on UFOs, calling the UFO whistleblower 'beyond reproach' and vouching for Grusch's allegations of a secret, decades-long and illegal UFO crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program.
Geneticist Dr. Garry Nolan, whose Stanford lab houses some of the world's most precise equipment for measuring the atomic and molecular structure of physical samples, is a co-founder of Sol and its executive director.
The group's sweeping mission statement, according to its website, is to develop policy around the believed 'broad consequences' of UAP 'for the future of science, technology, economy, politics, law, religion, culture, and all other human institutions and endeavors.'
To that end, the group's other co-founder, Peter Skafish, is an anthropologist focused on the social implications of humanity's potential (or already occurring) encounters with the 'non-human intelligences,' which Grusch has said pilot these UAP
Due largely to Dr. Nolan's efforts, the Sol Foundation event was sponsored by Stanford University's School of Medicine.
Col. Nell's comments raised eyebrows among attendees, in no small measure because of the senior army official's final military posting.
Col. Nell was a 'modernization advisor' to the Army Futures Command
engaged in the 'most significant Army reorganization since 1973' — which has spearheaded the development of remote-operated and unmanned robotic combat vehicles, AI projects and other advancements.Col. Nell, now an aerospace executive, commanded at every grade level across decades of service including tours with the US Army Reserves, the DIA and US Space Command.From 2021 to 2022, Col. Nell was assigned as the Army's dedicated liaison to the Pentagon's UAP Task Force.
After apologizing for framing his recommendations to citizen UAP advocates in military terms, Col. Nell detailed tactical 'lines of effort
' he hoped the public, government officials and scientists might execute, in parallel, as part of a collaborative effort to advance scientific understanding of UAP.
Perhaps most ambitiously, Col. Nell expressed the hope of direct 'engagement' with the 'non-human intelligences,' or perhaps extraterrestrial beings, piloting UAP sometime in the next decade — a new 'interactive' era of 'scientific discovery.'
But, first and foremost, Col. Nell described his proposal as an effort to 'avoid catastrophic disclosure,' meaning a chaotic release of Earth-shattering revelations designed to sow discord, whether by independent actors or by one of the United States' foreign rivals.
In an echo of the 2004 think-tank exercise detailed by Dr. Puthoff earlier at this Sol event, multiple speakers at the conference floated potential dangers that could arise from future revelations about allegedly secret UAP programs.
Belgian artificial intelligence entrepreneur Jonathan Berte, founder of Robovision and Sol's chief financial officer, looked to the late 19th century Industrial Revolution to suggest that tech breakthroughs from UAP could actually worsen climate change.
The discovery of oil during that period, Berte noted, actually led to a massive increase in coal mining, as older energy sources were pushed to their limits in an effort to build the hardware and equipment needed to exploit the new, emerging energy sources.
Berte suggested a similar Catch-22 could plague even the most utopian of new technologies or energy sources that may one day derive from UAP.
Another speaker, former Secretary of Defense for Intelligence official Chris Mellon, expressed similar worries about social unrest, economic turmoil and a possible international arms race
that could follow further revelations on the UAP topic.
At one point, Mellon floated the possibility that 'disclosure' might change the behavior of UAP and whatever is controlling them
, because they no longer have an incentive to hide and remain clandestine.
He worried further about how governments might overreact, causing an aggressive response from UAP and their alleged occupants.
Nevertheless, he described himself as in favor of further UAP disclosure.
Since helping leak three unclassified UFO videos to the New York Times
in 2017 — sightings that remain unexplained to this day — Mellon has spearheaded efforts to compel the US government to investigate UFOs more seriously and more openly.
The former DoD official challenged the idea that the measured 'controlled disclosure' described by Col. Nell could occur at all, attributing the current state of affairs to similar principled stands by activist-insiders.
In fact, Mellon said that he had recently spoken with someone still within the Defense Department and that more revelations and more high-resolution images were coming soon.
'The US government is working on a declassification guide,' Mellon said, 'So with that there will be better imagery to be publicly released soon.'
'Maybe not 100 percent in focus,' he added, 'but better imagery.'