Monday, January 15, 2007

O'Hare: The FAA "Cover-Up"

A commenter here on a previous post wrote:

The fact that bothers me the most about this case/sighting, is that the FAA denied anyone reported a sighting until threatened with a Freedom of Information Act request. Only then did they admit that the sighting had been reported, without the request being filed. Why? Did their files have a memory lapse?
This is not on the face of it an unreasonable question, until you realize a couple of things (that Peter Davenport et al won't tell you). It deserves an answer, before the "cover-up" meme runs out of control, and becomes part of the story that is inseperable from the evidence of the sighting itself.

First, government is not some monolithic entity. Often, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is up to, or what information it might have. The FAA is a large organization. To expect everyone within it to know everything that has gone on everywhere is unrealistic. Further, "government" is staffed not by infallible robot drones, but by people - people who make mistakes, just like you, and me.

I speak from experience, having worked for government in the past. I recall once where a phone call was referred to me at the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation (a much smaller entity, to be sure, than the FAA), and a question asked, and I said, "nope, we don't have that information." Sure enough, we did - the person in the office (i.e. the Director of Marketing) next to me had it. That sort of thing happens all the time. If, instead of trying the Director of Marketing the caller had launched a Freedom of Information request, he would have gotten the information - and, no doubt, if he had been like Peter Davenport et al, he would have accused me of being part of a "cover-up".

Further, look at the FAA reporting guidelines. They state specifically that UFO reports are not taken by the FAA, but rather are to be directed to civilian groups or scientific bodies that study this sort of thing. Here is their policy:

9-8-1. GENERAL
a. Persons wanting to report UFO/Unexplained Phenomena activity should contact an UFO/ Unexplained Phenomena Reporting Data Collection Center, such as the National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS), the National UFO Reporting Center, etc.

b. If concern is expressed that life or property might be endangered, report the activity to the local law enforcement department.

It is not unreasonable, therefore, for an FAA employee to mistakenly assume that there was no call to them about a UFO.

Finally, and this is the kicker, if there really was this deep, dark cover up to which Davenport and others have begun to allude, do you really think a simple FOIA request by a reporter would be enough to shake the tree?


The simple answer is almost always the right one in cases like this - the FAA employee who answered the initial inquiry (which was probably not a high priority item) made a mistake, and then, when forced to do some more thorough internal checking, the FAA rectified that mistake.

That's not the "sexy" story, but it's the one that makes the most logical sense.

Paul Kimball


Anonymous said...

Thank God. Finally some common sense.

NUFORC is a good idea. It's a shame that someone like you isn't running it.


Mac said...

Further, "government" is staffed not by infallible robot drones, but by people - people who make mistakes, just like you, and me.

Speak for yourself, Paul! ;-)

rdbrock said...

Davenport's handling of this case (i.e., taking the "coverup hypothesis and running with it)reminds me of something that David Jacobs wrote(before he went off the deep end)in The UFO Controversy in America, about Donald Keyhoe -

"When Keyhoe couldn't see a clear reason for the Air Force's actions, he surmised the reason and treated it as fact."