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John Alexander: Realities and Myths


Richard M. Dolan

March 6, 2011



I first met John Alexander in 2003. Of all the people associated with the topic of UFOs, he is undoubtedly among the most interesting. Indeed, he has become something of the official ufological boogyman. Go to any UFO conference, and if John Alexander is there, he will inevitably be the subject of much private conversation and speculation.


The reasons are self-evident, once you learn a little bit about the man. Alexander spent a long and distinctive career within the U.S. Army. While rising to the rank of colonel, he distinguished himself as a maverick. Consider that in an organization as rigid and bureaucratic as the U.S. Army, he championed such areas of research as psi phenomena, remote viewing, and non-lethal weapons technology. None of this was easy, and yet Alexander was quite successful in the course of his career. He is clearly a formidable individual. 


Then there is the UFO connection. During the 1980s, Alexander initiated and led an extended inquiry throughout many avenues of the Pentagon at high levels to find a UFO related program. As he put it many times, he was convinced such a program had to exist. After all, he himself has long been a believer in the reality of UFOs as something that is not from our ordinary reality, and which could well be extraterrestrial.


Toward that end, he created something he innocuously titled the Advanced Theoretical Physics Group. Later, this was erroneously called the UFO Working Group by the journalist Howard Blum in his 1990 book Out There. Alexander intended this group to be something of a crowbar that would pry open the doors of secrecy. The idea was that by creating a group of top notch specialists culled from throughout the U.S. defense establishment, who would conduct sophisticated analyses of UFO reports, that such a group might gain the attention of the “real” UFO program that had to exist within the Pentagon – so Alexander reasoned.


But they never got the call. After years of door-knocking and briefings with generals and other senior officials, John Alexander never saw evidence that any group or any department was mandated to study UFOs in any capacity. There was much private interest, yes, but no official investigation going on anywhere that he could see. 


Alexander’s conclusion: no department within the U.S. government appeared to be studying UFOs, so therefore, properly speaking, there has been no cover-up. 


This is why Alexander always stands out at any UFO conference. Yes, it’s real, he acknowledges. Yes, it’s possible “they” are here. But no, there is no cover-up. Those who argue that there is one simply don’t understand how governments work, he maintains. 


He has made this argument for a number of years, in various public venues. Now, however, John Alexander has offered much more detail to it in his book, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities. 

As I happen to be one of those who do argue that there is a cover-up, and by implication one of those people who don’t really ‘get’ how things really operate, I found his book of special interest. 

John Alexander, Richard Dolan, and Steve Bassett discussing and arguing about UFOs and cover-ups at the studio of Coast-to-Coast AM, probably around 2008 or so. 

I must say that there is a great deal of merit this book. Anyone who is conducting serious research on the military’s relationship to the UFO phenomenon will find it essential reading, as Alexander provides a wealth of very useful information. 


I have no reason to doubt him when he states that the many generals and senior officials he spoke to were unaware of any UFO data. Alexander wrote that he found such a situation at NORAD, at the Defense Intelligence Agency, at the Central Intelligence Agency, at the National Security Agency, at U.S. Air Force Space Command, at the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program, and even private contractors such as Lockheed’s Skunkworks division. Aside from this very important data, there are many interesting tidbits one picks up in the course of reading this book. Anyone with a passing interest in UFOs – and the government connections to it – should read it. 


That said, there are limitations to this book. I would say one is a problem of logic. Alexander concluded there was nothing to hide, essentially because he looked extensively, and found nothing. Yet, the U.S. defense establishment is utterly immense. It is certainly much too large for the efforts of a colonel who had not been read into such a program to begin with. (Of course, there is endless speculation that Alexander had been involved in such a program and is simply writing disinformation. While I am doubtful of this, proving the matter one way or another may be impossible). In any case, it is simply not possible that his investigation could be comprehensive. At the least, his conclusion strikes me as premature when in fact his investigation could not possibly have covered all the bases. 


Another limitation is Alexander’s treatment of the black budget/SAP world. It is within this structure that all serious UFO cover-up research is looking. Of course, that world is quite opaque to outsiders, yet we know that black programs are often contained within other black programs, and still others contained within those, so that they are nested within each other with extremely deep cover. Within such a structure, hiding a UFO-related program is certainly not out of the question. 


More disturbing still, the few detailed studies of the black budget world indicate that the center of gravity is not among DoD officials, but the private contractors who control the money, access, and technologies associated with their Special Access Programs. 


Failing to address this matter is the book’s greatest weakness. It is not enough to restrict one’s position to stating that rogue black budget programs are illegal – with the implication being that they therefore do not exist. This is what Alexander does. 


And yet researchers have been discussing precisely such a scenario for years: a rogue and illegal operation in which UFO/ET technologies and information have been squirreled away. They are not generally available to the official structure of power that is supposed to exist within the Pentagon and our government.


I was never part of the United States military, and have never been employed by any intelligence agency. I have never held secret clearances of any kind. And yet, I believe it is possible that I have learned more from my sources than has John Alexander. Throughout my journey into the nebulous world of the “control group” that appears to be involved in this subject, I have time and again encountered the same conclusion coming from insiders: that the most sensitive UFO information has devolved into private hands. This is not to say that military personnel do not have access. Clearly some do. They may not, however, wear four stars on their lapel. What matters is not necessarily their rank, but their specific clearance.


Aside from this point, it is necessary to emphasize something that ought to be obvious. We have a substantial body of documentation proving that our jets are scrambled to intercept these things, whatever they are. That means protocols are in place, and that reports are being filed up some chain of command. 


I am not simply talking about reports from ancient times, such as the 1940s and 1950s. Jets have been scrambled to chase UFOs in post-9/11 America. This happened, for instance, during the summer of 2002, when the Air Force admitted (after many witnesses reported the incident) that F-16s had chased an unknown object just outside our nation’s Capitol. (In fact, it turned out to be several orange-bluish objects that utterly outclassed the F-16s). 


Given these types of chases, which occur again and again, can any rational mind honestly maintain that no responsible officer within the military gives a damn? That no office takes responsibility for ensuring our national defense from such unknown objects, nor even the defense of the White House itself? Such a position defies any measure of common sense.


It also defies the known historical record. 


We know, for example, that many of the top decision-makers in America’s national security establishment have evinced strong concern about these unknown objects. The matter is not up for debate, but is demonstrable fact. A 1952 memo to the Director of the CIA by his Chief of Scientific Intelligence stated: 


“Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitude and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major US defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.”


That surely sounds like a national security concern. 


In 1957, Air Force Major General Joe W. Kelly wrote to Congressman Lee Metcalf (D-MT) that “Air Force interceptors still pursue Unidentified Flying Objects as a matter of national security to this country and to determine technical aspects involved.” Kelly quickly added that no UFOs had posed a threat to U.S. national security -- a conclusion that flies in the face of prior facts -- but the point remains that orders were obviously in place to purse UFOs and, moreover, that “technical aspects” of UFOs were important. 


I have looked for any evidence that the U.S. military command structure resolved the UFO matter sufficiently so that it ended its interest. I have seen none. In every decade since, we have report after report of military jets chasing UFOs. 


Therefore, my final rejoinder to the thesis of John Alexander: if you have not found the UFO cover-up, you have not looked in the right places. 


Watch this 10-minute clip of Richard Dolan discussing John Alexander's book on the player below:

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