Whitley's Journal

Tales of My Author Tour: Speaking at the Pentagon Bookstore

On May 11, 1998, I was scheduled by my publisher to give a short speech and autograph books in the Pentagon Bookstore. When I arrived, I was disappointed to find that the public could not get in. At the same time, this also meant that my audience would consist exclusively of Pentagon employees, which was quite interesting to me. I wondered what sort of people would show up to hear me.

As I prepared to speak, I looked around at my audience. A number of them were in Air Force uniform. The others were all in civilian clothes. I did not see any uniformed Army or Navy personnel. Two of these Air Force officers, a man and a woman, sat on a couch directly in front of me. They glared at me with fixed expressions of hate. When I began to speak, they ostentatiously picked up newspapers and read them in my face.

At the back of the small crowd, three more uniformed Air Force personnel stood alternately listening and chatting among themselves. I could not tell their mood. But the two directly in front of me never softened their expressions in any way. In fact, they looked almost paralyzed with hate. In my memory of six author tours on the UFO subject, I do not recall seeing such expressions on any other faces. To my eye, they were not sane expressions. Frankly, they were frightening. I don't see why Air Force personnel would hate me. My book Majestic lays the blame for the cover-up at the feet of the intelligence community, not the Air Force. In general, my books do not attack the military.

Could it be that they were fundamentalists? Lately, some fundamentalist leaders have been making statements to the effect that people who believe in aliens should be stoned to death. Maybe that's what brought this hatred out. It is certainly true that the combination of fundamentalism and the military or federal enforcement groups is worrisome, and that concern goes far beyond UFO issues. It used to be that Protestant America worried about Catholic politicians submitting to Papal authority. Now, there is a very real concern that people in powerful positions within the government may try to evolve policy or act according to the instructions of politically active fundamentalist leaders.

But I have no proof that these two people were fundamentalists. They were, however, scary. It is not pleasant to be hated for no apparent reason, especially not by people in uniform.

By and large, the crowd was pleasant enough. They asked, I must say, excellent questions. The whole event will appear on C-Span, so look for it. In my lecture, I say that I don't think that there is a government coverup, and I don't, certainly not the kind of coverup that is usually imagined. I DO think that there are a lot of secrets being kept about the UFO issue, but I suspect that they are also being kept from Congress and the White House. Thus there may be illegal activity relating to this subject within the military and the intelligence community, but I would be surprised if there was any flow of knowledge into and policy back from the elective government. So all the secret keeping is simply criminal activity, and any alleged classification of it is unlikely to be legally constituted.

I say this because I am aware of the efforts made by various congressional committees with a right to know to ferret out these secrets. One aide told me that he felt sure that there was a coverup, but within the military, not the elective government. He gave me an interview for Breakthrough. Also, the GAO report on Roswell generated at the request of Congressman Steve Schiff of New Mexico claimed that records essential to the investigation had been lost or destroyed, probably illegally.

What we need, I feel, is a far-reaching effort by the elective government to regain-or assert for the first time-control over this issue. Only if that happens are we going to learn what is really known within the military and the intelligence community. I suspect that it is more than the mainstream

press believes, but less-shockingly less-than most conspiracy theorists suppose.

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