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In his annual performance evaluation for his job at the US Department of Defense (DOD), Luis Elizondo, a career military intelligence officer now in his late 40s, was lauded in 2016 for his ability to manage a highly classified program “in a manner that protects US national security interests on a global scale.” The office Elizondo oversaw had, among other things, “identified and neutralized 6 insider threats” and “co-authored 4 national-level policies involving covert action.” His work performance was rated as “exemplary.” The evaluator gushed that it “cannot be overstated the importance of Mr. Elizondo’s portfolio to national security.”

So it must have come as a surprise to at least some of Elizondo’s superiors when he departed the Pentagon a year later on a sour note. On October 4, 2017, Elizondo submitted a resignation letter—that he later made public—addressed to then Defense Secretary James Mattis, which warned that “bureaucratic challenges and inflexible mindsets” had prevented “anomalous aerospace threats” from being taken seriously within DOD leadership. There was “overwhelming evidence” of these threats, Elizondo wrote, “at both the classified and unclassified levels.” He referred vaguely to “many instances” of “unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities.” The letter urged Mattis “to ask the hard questions” about who else might know about these “phenomena” and their “capabilities.”

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Category: Science