Extraterrestrial Politics in the Clinton White House: Part 2 - Clinton’s CIA Director Briefed
James Woolsey, President Clinton’s first Director of Central Intelligence came into the Clinton administration much in much the same way that President Carter’s DCI, Stansfield Turner had come into the Carter administration. Woolsey, like Turner had "no substantive experience" in intelligence. What little Woolsey had learned about intelligence, he was taught by his former law partner Anthony A. Lapham, who served as general counsel to the CIA from 1976 to 1979.
Woolsey’s ignorance did not create a strong opening position for a man considered "the principal advisor to the President for Intelligence matters related to national security," and who as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) also served as the head of the United States Intelligence Community consisting of 12 other intelligence agencies. The combined thirteen agencies "carry out all the intelligence activities of the United States Government." These included, among others, the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Imagery & Mapping Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence, and Navy Intelligence.
Consequently, both Clinton and Woolsey were somewhat ignorant on intelligence matters, and were therefore forced be start from zero. Moreover, they were forced to rely totally on George Bush’s CIA for the intelligence information they would need to govern. The world view they would develop would be one that was, in part at least, drawn out for them by the CIA, that had been in the hands of a Republican administration for the past twelve years.
Clinton and his running mate Al Gore were given their first briefings by President Bush’s DCI, Robert Gates. Gates’ boss, George Bush, had likewise done the briefing of then President-elect Carter, when he was DCI twelve years earlier. It was during that Carter briefing that Carter was told by Bush, "the UFO subject is a need-to-know subject, and that he as President didn’t have the need to know."
If the Bush comment about UFOs to Carter is accurate, it is highly unlikely that incoming President Clinton was told anything about the UFO subject by President Bush’s CIA briefers. If Clinton was curious about UFOs, which was the rumor inside the CIA, he would have to find out for himself.
As the top intelligence man, James Woolsey also had an interest in UFOs prior to joining the Clinton White House. This interest was shared by his wife Sue Woolsey, Chief Operating Officer of the National Academy of Sciences. This interest arose from experiencing a daylight sighting of a UFO in New Hampshire during the late sixties.
There also was a story that Woolsey had been previously involved in a request by former President George Bush to be briefed on the UFO subject. The story is told by Dan Smith, a researcher and friend of the CIA’s UFO expert Dr. Ronald Pandolfi.
Later in front of Gus Russo at a dinner party where Pandolfi was in attendance, Smith tried to get Pandolfi to confirm the story for Russo that Woolsey had been called in by Bush, and that he had told the President he had no "need-to-know." Russo was prepared to take the story to the New York Times, but this time Pandolfi denied the story.
Having had his own sighting, Woolsey was open to receiving more information about the subject. As the first CIA Director after the end of the cold war, Woolsey was also attempting to open things up. On November 30, for example, Woolsey had appeared on CNN’s Larry King Show. There, Woolsey had stated that the new Clinton administration "wished to disclose historical material in a spirit of new openness."
It was rumored that the Clinton administration planned to declassify some black budget programs, and that some of these programs contained some of the classified UFO material that had been sought after for years.
Woolsey’s push for openness, and a personal interest in UFOs, was partly responsible for Woolsey talking to his close friend John Petersen to request a personal briefing on UFOs. It was decided that Dr. Steven Greer should be the one to do the briefing.
John Petersen was given the task of following Greer around as he made presentations around the country, to gather information on him. Finally, at a presentation Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Petersen made his approach to Dr. Greer.
Following the lecture Petersen approached Greer, and stated, "Dr. Greer, I think it is time that we help you."
Greer asked who he was, and Petersen said, "Well, I know a few folks in Washington who I think you need to meet with."
Greer the asked who those people might be and Petersen responded, "Well I’m good friends with the director of central Intelligence." To this Greer responded, "Well, that’s a good start."
Greer was asked to provide materials for James Woolsey so that he could review and search inside the CIA for material. The information, however didn’t help as he told Greer during the December 13th briefing. Woolsey "made internal inquiries" within the CIA about UFOs, but was reportedly "denied access."
"You have given me information," Woolsey told Greer, "so that I could go into certain compartments, and ask about what is going on related to this subject. They have all told me nothing. They told me, well we had Project blue book, but the Air Force closed it in 1969. . ."
What he had been given by those under his command was basically the standard UFO cover story, and according to Greer, Woolsey was furious about the situation that he and President Clinton had been cut out of a major piece of national security apparatus. "He was gravely shaken," according to Greer. "He was almost in tears." Woolsey stated, "You know, they are treating me like a bag-man, that goes up to Capitol Hill, gets their 30 billion dollars for the intelligence community, and brings it back. You know I really don’t know anything that’s going on that’s sensitive."
This lack of power by Woolsey was supported by another story that had occurred before the briefing. As well as the information Greer had provided which Woolsey couldn’t reference in CIA files, Woolsey was also receiving other requests for information related to UFOs. One of these requests dealt with deletions that had be made in already released CIA UFO documents.
In September 1993, only a couple of months before the meeting between Greer and Woolsey, John Peterson had approached Woolsey with a series of documents that he had received from UFO researcher Stanton Friedman. Friedman wanted to know why the CIA had deleted large sections from some material he had been sent. Peterson agreed to question Woolsey about it. Woolsey, in turn, stated that he would look into the matter. He, however, was not able to provide much insight.
The UFO briefing for Woolsey was set up for December 13, 1993 by Petersen, who had an inside knowledge of the workings of the military and intelligence in Washington. He had worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and also on the National Security Staff at the White House. At the time of the briefing he was the Director of the Washington area think tank known as the Arlington Institute. Mr. Peterson and his wife hosted the Woolsey clandestine UFO briefing in his Arlington townhouse. The briefing was identified as a dinner party in official records maintained by the CIA.
This according to Greer’s version of the story, was a cover story. " The cover for this meeting in Arlington was a dinner party, " Greer told one audience. " Now the way things are done in Washington, just so you know. Nothing important ever happens in an official meeting. Nothing ever, ever, ever, ever, forget about it. It happens at Georgetown dinner parties, blah, blah blah. That’s where everything is done. That is true. Forget about it. It doesn’t happen the way you think."
The briefing of Woolsey was conducted by Dr. Steven Greer, International Director of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI). Greer also headed up the Project Starlight Coalition (PSC). It was a group CSETI had formed in July 1993, described by Greer as "a voluntary association of researchers, scientists, world leaders and concerned citizens who are dedicated to affecting a non-harmful disclosure on the UFO/ETI (Unidentified Flying Object / Extraterrestrial Intelligence) issues in the near future."
The strategic plan of the Project Starlight Coalition was to 1) collect and identify the best evidence related to UFOs/ETI; 2) identify top-secret military and intelligence witnesses to the matter who were willing to come forward and disclose what they knew; 3) create a team of briefers and advisors for executive Branch officials and military officials who would conduct briefings, and recommend near-term disclosure of the subject and the end to secrecy related to the subject; 4) and to educate the world leadership and the world’s population regarding the reality of UFOs/ETI.
Dr. Greer was informed that he would be the first to brief Woolsey on the subject. Dr. Greer, like Laurance Rockefeller and Dr. Scott Jones, had been busy attempting to brief as many members of the Clinton administration on UFOs as possible. During one interview Greer mentioned some of the people inside the Clinton Administration who had been briefed by himself or his briefing team:
Despite the many briefings Greer was providing for White House staff, he is not directly mentioned in the 1,000 pages of OSTP files that were released by the White House. This is because the OSTP files are from Dr. Jack Gibbons’ office, and Rockefeller did all the briefings with Clinton’s Science Advisor. Files dealing with the Greer briefings and contacts will not be available until January 2006 when the rest of the White House files from the Clinton administration are available as FOIA.
Greer had close connections with Laurance Rockefeller who was briefing Dr. Gibbons. Three months before conducting his briefing for Woolsey, Dr. Greer had met with Rockefeller at his ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During this meeting Dr. Greer briefed Rockefeller on his concept of briefing key politicians and other VIPs, to help initiate a release of all withheld UFO material. Later, after the Woolsey briefing, Greer also provided Rockefeller with "a package of evidence, assessments and other documents," to assist him with his personal briefing of Bill and Hillary Clinton in August 1995.
Greer arrived at the Woolsey briefing believing that the President, his military advisors, his intelligence people, and his advisors inside the White House, had not been briefed on the UFO subject. Further, he believed that any briefing information they had been given on the UFO subject was probably disinformation.
Greer arrived at this discouraging conclusion after conducting interviews with dozens of "deep-throat informants" inside the UFO program. Those witnesses had told Greer that most of the people inside the White House and within the intelligence community had been cut out any knowledge about the UFO program. People like the President and the CIA Director, had no idea what was going on. Dr. Greer therefore entered the Woolsey meeting feeling that he had the responsibility to provide the Director "the scientific data, along with a well-conceived assessment, and set of recommendations."
As Greer was already aware of before the briefing, Woolsey was not in a good position to be in possession of any critical ultra secret information. He was first of all, an appointee of the President. He could be replaced at a moment’s notice, based on the President’s pleasure and the prevailing political situation. Secrets are not generally given to situations of uncertainty. CIA directors come and go, but the CIA goes on and on.
Secondly, as mentioned above, Woolsey came to the job with no real experience beyond small encounters on the edge of the world of intelligence. Two such encounters were a stint as undersecretary of the Navy under Jimmy Carter, and being retained by a CIA intelligence officer for counterintelligence, who was reprimanded during Iran Contra.
Thirdly, Woolsey came into the top intelligence job on a promise by President Clinton to cut intelligence spending by about $7 billion over a five-year period. Woolsey would have been seen to most in the world of intelligence as nothing more than an outside administrator for the intelligence departments who carried an axe to work each day. To make the situation worse, Woolsey had declared during his confirmation hearings that he might even be able to do better than the $7 billion cut proposed during the campaign by Bill Clinton.
Finally, Woolsey misunderstood what was required, and was unaware that he would be lied to. "Jim underestimated the manipulative quality of the agency bureaucracy, where lying and deceptions are institutionalized," said a former senior national security official. "He was too trusting, and that made him easy prey. He wasn’t ready for people lying to him when he was loyal to them."
Further complicating Greer’s effort to convince the DCI of the reality of the UFO situation, and to get him to end the cover-up by publicly releasing critical information, was the clash of two main ideas at the briefing . Greer on one hand viewed the aliens as good guys here to usher earth into the galactic community. As part of this paradigm, Greer believed that the military should stop shooting at the aliens. Further, Greer believed that the military-industrial group that controlled the UFO information should quit trying to use the presence of the aliens as a reason to fund an intergalactic war with the aliens.
Woolsey, on the other hand, was a hawk on defense. He was a defender of the strategic defense initiative. He favored U.S. strategic modernization. Where Greer saw a world coming out of the cold war, and now able to turn its attention to outer space, Woolsey described the world as " a more lethal version of the world that existed before 1914," due to the existence of modern weapons and delivery systems.
Dr. Greer saw a world basically at peace, giving the government an opening to disclose the UFO/ETI secret that had been withheld due to the Cold War. Woolsey saw the world as full of new, possibly more dangerous enemies. The Soviet Union dragon had been slain, but as Woolsey saw it, "We now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes, and in many ways the dragon was easier to keep track of."
To off set the lack of information, Greer included as a part of the briefing a "summary of points regarding Project Starlight" that had been prepared for members of the Clinton Administration. This summary stated in part that CSETI:
In an interview years after the event, Greer was asked whether President Clinton had requested the UFO briefing for his intelligence director. Greer responded:
Other information that came to light years after the 1993 briefing showed that Woolsey was indeed out of the loop not only with the UFO situation, he was also on the outside with President Clinton. Clinton had come into Washington ignorant of intelligence, and not very interested in what intelligence agencies like the CIA were doing.
The New York Times reported, for example, that when the Clinton administration invaded the island of Haiti in 1994, they did not contact the CIA for assistance until the very last minute. When the CIA dropped leaflets in support of the invasion using voodoo symbols, they were called on the carpet for "showing support for one religion over another." Woolsey found himself in the position of "receiving more criticism from his congressional overseers than any other cabinet-level official in the Clinton administration."
Even though Woolsey had the most power than anyone else in the Administration to come up with an answer to the UFO mystery, he found that he had no support for his intelligence mission from inside the Clinton White House. No one inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue cared at all about the CIA. It was an administration where the priorities were domestic issues such as health care and the economy. "Woolsey," wrote the New York Times, "had little support in the White House that apparently thought little, and cared less, about the CIA or it’s director." When Clinton first came to office, he proposed that spending on intelligence would be cut by $7 billion over the next five years. The cold war CIA seemed to be on the chopping block.
Records show that in the first two years Woolsey was Director of all U.S. Intelligence agencies, he only met twice with Clinton in private. The situation was so bad that when a deranged pilot crashed his light plane on the White House grounds in fall 1994, White House staffers passed around the joke that the pilot was James Woolsey attempting to get a meeting with President Clinton. In December 1994 Woolsey resigned realizing he would never get the support he needed and deserved from President Clinton. " I sort of wandered in," said Woolsey, "and wandered out."
The meeting between Dr. Greer and James Woolsey lasted three hours. This was a long time compared to most briefing which only last 30-60 minutes. Prior to the meeting Dr. Greer had been told by John Petersen that Dr. Woolsey and his wife had experienced a daylight sight of a UFO in the late sixties in New Hampshire. Woolsey and his wife confirmed this sighting during the first minutes of the briefing.
Woolsey and his wife were, because of their sighting experience, very interested and aware about UFOs. Woolsey’s pre-existing belief in the existence of UFOs even led him to cut off Greer after only fifteen minutes of Dr. Greer presenting the evidence. Woolsey was no longer interested in listening to sighting reports and viewing documents. He stated, "Yes, I know they exist. Now talk to me about what all of this means."
To answer this question, Dr. Greer spent two and a half hours answering the implications of the extraterrestrial presence on earth. He detailed, based upon testimony from high-ranking military and government witnesses, why he believed the aliens are here, how the secrecy had been maintained over the years, and what the social and economic effects of disclosing the E.T. presence would be.
According to Greer’s recollection of the briefing, the CIA Director was upset that the UFO story was being withheld from him. "He felt terribly wronged," said Greer, "that something like this would not be something that he would have found out about after many months of being at the top of the intelligence community."
Greer recalled that at times the evidence being presented caused the Woolsey to become very intense. "I mean," said Greer, "there were times when, well, he would just hold his head in his hands going, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh! Oh! Wow!’ I mean he was just exclaiming as we went through documents that we have acquired, as we went through cases, as we went through photographic evidence, as we went through other types of scientific evidence."
According to Greer, much of the panic exhibited by Woolsey came not from the facts surrounding the E.T. presence, but from the fact that he had no control over the CIA files on the subject, or Greer’s threat to force a public disclosure about the subject. In response to Greer’s request for Woolsey’s cooperation in initiating a UFO disclosure, Woolsey pleaded with Greer to understand his limited position. "I can’t release," he told Greer, "what I don’t have access to." Greer described it as a "poignant stunning moment."
James Woolsey’s wife, Dr. Sue Woolsey, was also present for the briefing and was very interested in the material that Greer was presenting. Sue Woolsey had made a name for herself, holding a position which gave her an expertise in evaluating scientific evidence. She was Chief Operating Officer of the National Academy of Sciences.
At one point in the discussion, Mrs. Woolsey even stopped Greer to ask him a question that was bothering her. How, she asked, were the aliens communicating over the vast distances in space? Dr. Greer provided his understanding that the mind of the alien was used to interact with the hardware. This is how time and space problems were overcome. To this Sue Woolsey said, "I thought it had to be something like that."
Dr. Greer provided Woolsey a strategic outline of a disclosure plan CSETI had come up. It was based on testimony from a series of high-ranking military and government officials who were aware of the inside story of the UFO cover-up. The witnesses were prepared to testify openly about what they knew, and this would force the disclosure. Greer made it clear that the disclosure would go ahead with or without Woolsey’s cooperation.
Greer also outlined for the CIA Director the specific actions he felt the CIA and the Clinton White House should make to assist in a smooth disclosure. Finally Dr. Greer asked Woolsey to locate documents related to specific known events and known projects related to UFOs. For this Greer provided Woolsey specific dates and events to search out. Woolsey agreed to do what he could to help.
Woolsey kept his promise to look into the cases for which he had been given dates, places, or documents. Shortly after the briefing, the CIA Director passed back to Greer the results of his investigation. He reported through Petersen that " the files weren’t there." He had searched, but there were no documents within the intelligence community that he could get to that would answer the questions Dr. Greer was seeking answers for. Woolsey had run into the "empty file syndrome." The Director had confirmed that he, as the head of the Intelligence community in the United States, was effectively "out of the loop" on UFOs.
Woolsey also found out during his term as Director that lying about things like UFOs to the director was standard practice. As a former senior national security official told Andrew Cockburn of the New York Times:
Woolsey Orders UFO Study
Inspired by the December 1993 briefing, and possibly green-lighted by President Clinton, Woolsey created an "order for the review of all Agency files on the subject of UFOs." This internal request led ultimately to the CIA publishing a new UFO study in 1996 titled "CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-1990."
The report, however, turned out not to be an independent assessment of the many rumored UFO files inside the CIA, but rather a new whitewash report detailing the CIA view about the agency’s involvement in the UFO phenomena during the years 1947-1990. It was first published in the classified intelligence publication Studies in Intelligence. In 1997, the CIA released an unclassified version of the paper which was published on the CIA Internet web page.
The report was written by Gerald K. Haines, a CIA and National Reconnaissance Office historian. In the introduction to the paper, Haines confirmed Woolsey’s role in requesting a new review of the UFO evidence inside CIA files:
The release of the new whitewash CIA study on UFOs might have got the CIA off the hook regarding its UFO cover-up involvement, but it put the USAF back on the hook. It was a move that upset the top brass in the Air Force.
The reason for this was, that during the 1993-94 period, the Air Force had put in a lot of time and money into a new study on the rumored UFO crash at Roswell for the OSTP and the President. The Air Force also sponsored a major campaign to promote the conclusion of the Roswell report to the public. All this effort was expended to convince the tax-paying public that the Air Force had honestly looked at the facts surrounding UFOs, found nothing worth investigating, and now had nothing to hide.
The conclusion of the new CIA report, however, was that the Air Force had effectively lied about more than half of its public statements regarding UFOs from the 1950s on. This, the CIA report stated, was done to cover for covert CIA operations. "Just when it looked as though the Air Force had won a major battle in the UFO public relations war with its publication of "Roswell: Case Closed," wrote Project 1947 Director Jan Aldrich, " the ‘die hard issue’ of UFOs was resurrected."
In the report, Haines claimed that more than half of the UFO sightings during the 1950s and 1960s were actually not UFOs, but misidentified secret spy planes such as the U-2 and SR-71. The damaging part to the Air Force was Haines’ allegation that the Air Force Project Blue Book, set up to investigate UFO reports, actually consulted with the CIA U-2 staff personnel in Washington, and helped to coordinate dismissive explanations for the public to cover for the CIA aerial spy operations. In short, the Air Force was anything but honest as they were claiming following the release of their Roswell report.
The CIA came to their conclusion despite the fact that their final report failed to cite a single example of a case that could have been explained by a spy plane. It was a conclusion that was basically dismissed outright by all UFO researchers.
Woolsey’s attempt to open up the UFO files, and to produce a report telling of the CIA involvement since 1947, appeared then only to incite the CIA officials who controlled the UFO files. They simply used the Woolsey request for a UFO investigation to produce yet another report that reinforced the debunking efforts first proposed by the CIA Robertson Panel in 1953.
As the CIA account of the Air Force UFO deception broke in the press, the Air Force was forced to quickly deny what the CIA was now claiming. Brigadier General Ronald Sconyers was sent to put out the new UFO blaze. Sconyers told the press, "I cannot confirm or deny that we lied. The Air force is committed to providing accurate and timely information within the confines of national security."
Woolsey Plays Duck and Cover
James Woolsey resigned from his CIA Directorship in December 1994 under heavy attack from all sides. He claimed he had appreciated the opportunity to serve and returned to his former life as a lawyer. The UFO link to the highest intelligence officer in the Clinton administration was gone.
The fact that Woolsey had been briefed by Dr. Greer was kept quiet until 1998. It was made public by Dr. Greer because of statements made by Webster Hubbell, Clinton former Attorney General. In a book Hubbell wrote about his time in the Clinton White House, Hubbell made public the fact that he had been asked by President Clinton to look into the UFO mystery.
Greer’s release of the fact that he had briefed the head of the CIA on UFOs, and that the CIA director had expressed strong opinions about the reality of the phenomena initiated a negative response from James Woolsey even though he was no longer in the Clinton administration.
The negative reaction, however, did not come until September 17, 1999, just prior to the release of Dr. Greer’s book " Extraterrestrial Contact" in which the Woolsey briefing was fully discussed. Contact with Non-human Intelligence (CNI) News Director Michael Lindemann received a fax from John Peterson, Woolsey’s friend, and the man who had hosted the secret briefing in his Alexandria Virginia townhouse. The September 16, 1999-letter read as follows:
Petersen and Woolsey’s complaint about not being informed of Dr. Greer’s disclosure of the meeting, was actually a bit outdated. Dr. Greer had already disclosed the secret Woolsey briefing in an interview he had done with radio show host Art Bell almost two years before in response to the Webster Hubbell statement about being asked by President Clinton to look into UFOs. The information released in that interview was much more detailed than the short couple of paragraphs in the introduction to Greer’s book Extraterrestrial Contact. The interview distribution was not wide enough to have reached Woolsey or Peterson.
CNI News Director Michael Lindemann contacted Dr. Greer and asked him to respond to the denials made by the Petersens’ and Woolseys’. Lindemann did not mention the fact that the information had been public for quite a while already. Dr. Greer responded in part:
The quick reply to Petersen and Woolsey went unanswered by Mr. Petersen and the former CIA Director. CNI director Michael Lindemann, claiming information from sources close to the event felt that the use "briefing" might not have been the proper word for Greer to use. Usually briefings are not done over dinner and with wives present. There was no question raised that Greer had been with Woolsey and that UFOs were discussed.
Woolsey told a reporter who questioned him about the Greer UFO affair that Greer had misrepresented the 1993 event. Greer, however, has not retracted any part of his story. In 2001, this author had a chance to present all the Woolsey material discussed here to the reporter, and the reporter in question seemed to conclude that Woolsey was perhaps being less than truthful with him.
Since the Woolsey denial of the account of his involvement into UFOs, Woolsey has returned to the world of Intelligence. He sits on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. He acts as a consultant to CNN for the Afghan War. This may be because he is more at home working for Republican administrations such as the time he spent working with the Bush White House.