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The Wide Angle: Is a UFO Hoax a Ticking Time-bomb for Biden?

by Dave Troy

Feb 27, 2024 | The Wide Angle


Is there life elsewhere in the universe? Statistically, it’s likely. But don’t count on the tightly-knit band of UFO activists who have monopolized the subject to be the ones to deliver the news. For decades, a highly entrepreneurial group of researchers, scientists, and journalists has been at the center of the movement to “disclose” the existence of extraterrestrial visitors to Earth — and they’ve scored what may be their biggest legislative victory yet.

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed in December, includes a provision that requires the federal government to provide any and all records on UAP (unidentified anomalous phenomena, a new and broader term for what had been previously called UFO’s) to the National Archives, which in turn is supposed to make them available to the public.

And come June 2024 — 180 days after the bill was passed in December, and smack in the middle of election season — activists hope that a deluge of new UAP information will be disclosed. The new law requires that all UAP-related records created more than 25 years ago must be made public — unless personally blocked by President Biden.

Daniel Sheehan, J.D. Harvard Lawyer. UFOs, Aliens, Disclosure.

Daniel Sheehan, a lawyer who has claimed involvement in drafting UAP legislation. (Unraveling the Universe Podcast)


Daniel P. Sheehan, an attorney based in Santa Cruz who has claimed involvement in various UAP-related legislative efforts over the last several years, has been making the rounds on fringe podcasts and at conferences to share the good news.

As Sheehan told Nathan Williams of the Amazing People podcast in a December 2023 episode called The UFO Lawyer, “Any and all of the information that is 25 years old or more has to be revealed to the American public and to the world. Now that includes Roswell, that includes the Aztec events. It includes all kinds of extraordinarily important events that have taken place in this field, you know, prior to 1998. Okay, unless the president himself, that would be President Biden, unless he puts his own demand that this be postponed for any particular reason. And then that has to be specified, and it has to be made known to the public.”

Sheehan presents this as an ultimatum to Biden, of sorts: either release what you know about Roswell (and the alleged, lesser-known Aztec UFO incident), or face the wrath of a rabid community of enthusiasts — some of whom are threatening violence.

Jeremy Corbell, a discredited UFO celebrity who has 225,900 followers on X, and who claims to have played “a major role in influencing members of Congress,” has been escalating calls for violence.

Corbell has tweeted “this is a war, a UFO Vietnam,” and that “his followers should get mad, rage, and weaponize.” And that he “won’t stop fighting for UFOs until the bodies hit the floor.” Corbell adds, menacingly, that “UFO debunkers should beware.”

Many of us have become numb to this kind of incitement coming from the far right. But the UAP issue enjoys broad popularity across the political spectrum. And one independent presidential candidate is taking notice: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Fundraising email from the Kennedy ‘24 campaign. (Author’s files, February 2024)

Fundraising email from the Kennedy ‘24 campaign. (jtaylor822 on reddit, February 2024)


In a recent fundraising email, Kennedy vowed that if elected, he would order the release of information regarding “non-human aircrafts,” “non-human life forms,” “reverse engineering by the Department of Defense and federal contractors,” and “Roswell.” And Kennedy isn’t the only politician who’s become enmeshed in this issue.

Early in 2023, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) shepherded an early draft of UAP disclosure legislation, and has been vocal about the need to better understand the issue — in part because some UAP sightings may be a result of advanced technology programs of rival nations. In the summer, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sponsored the “UAP Disclosure Act of 2023,” a sweeping 64-page bill that required not only disclosure of all UAP records, but imposed penalties for failure to meet the bill’s stringent requirements.

Much of Schumer’s language was stripped out in the House reconciliation process, and only 24-pages remained — those that require agencies to give UAP records to the National Archives. And those provisions present a potential vulnerability for the Biden administration come June. What if there’s literally nothing new in any government vault regarding the apocryphal (but enduringly popular) “Roswell incident?”

It will put Biden in the position of saying, “we have nothing new to report,” or he will have to say, “there are records we decline to disclose, for reasons.” In either case, he will be accused of conducting a coverup by the increasingly violent-sounding UFO activist community.

While Kennedy, Jr. has expressed support for the disclosure agenda, Donald Trump has been less forward on the topic, while still engaging with it and acknowledging its popular appeal. But unsubstantiated chatter I’m seeing in UFO extremist circles suggests enthusiasm for a Trump-Kennedy ticket (or even what one enthusiast described as a “co-presidency,” where Trump worries about international affairs, while Kennedy takes on a portfolio of things he cares about — such as healthcare and UFO’s).

Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., anti-vax advocate Charlene Bollinger,and Roger Stone, Jr. in a 2021 Instagram post. (AP Photo)

Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., anti-vax advocate Charlene Bollinger,
and Roger Stone, Jr. in a 2021 Instagram post. (AP Photo)


Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump charged (and later pardoned) for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, floated the prospect of a Trump-Kennedy joint ticket. The New York Post first reported that the Trump campaign was in contact with the Kennedy camp; the joint ticket idea was then enthusiastically endorsed by Jim Hoft, editor of the Gateway Pundit, the far-right fake news website.

Russian geopolitical theorist Aleksandr Dugin has collaborated with Kennedy, as has Catholic traditionalist cleric Carlo Maria Viganó, a frequent collaborator with both Flynn and Steve Bannon. This network has mirrored and amplified QAnon conspiracy messaging.

Abp. Carlo Maria Viganó, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Aleksandr Dugin in a 2021 video. (Youtube)

Abp. Carlo Maria Viganó, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Aleksandr Dugin in a 2021 video. (Youtube)


There are other crossovers. Robert Bigelow, an aerospace entrepreneur who has been central to the UFO activist network and whose company was awarded major contracts to conduct investigations into paranormal activity at his Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, has donated $20 million to a PAC supporting Trump. Bigelow also gave an additional $1 million to help offset Trump’s mounting legal fees.

Christopher Mellon, a former member of the intelligence community and a member of the powerful Mellon Family, is also central to the UFO activist network, and has been instrumental in coordinating with lawmakers such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) on UAP-related legislation.

And a controversial Super Bowl ad touting Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s family legacy was paid for by American Values 2024, a super-PAC largely supported by Timothy Mellon, a cousin of Christopher Mellon’s. Timothy Mellon is also a major Trump donor, and as of October 2021 had raised 98% of the donations to a Texas border wall fund. Nicole Shanahan, a lawyer and tech entrepreneur who was also previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, donated $4 million to the PAC and contributed creative guidance for the nostalgia-driven Super Bowl spot.

The Kennedy-aligned super-PAC, founded in 2022, was previously called the People’s Pharma Movement, and was specifically oriented around Kennedy’s interest in vaccines and healthcare.

Birthing the “Noosphere”

For my part, I should disclose that over the last three years, I’ve interviewed Daniel (Danny) Sheehan several times, twice at his office in Santa Cruz. Now 78 and with a mop of curly gray hair perched atop a broad face with dark eyes, he is an affable, interesting conversationalist, and a font of knowledge on many topics. His bio lists some of the most notable cases of the 20th century: the Pentagon Papers, the Karen Silkwood case, and an infamously unsuccessful case that attempted to unearth, via discovery, the roots of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955. (Wikipedia)

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955. (Wikipedia)

Overlooking Danny’s desk, placed high by a window, is a large black and white portrait of the French-American Catholic theologian, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard proposed that Jesus  perhaps represented a more evolved version of man; and he, along with Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky and French mathematician Edouard LeRoy, coined the idea of the Noosphere, a point at which Earth and humanity would go through a phase change and evolve into something more enlightened, or “Christic.” This term, coined by Teilhard, so moved Sheehan he named his first advocacy group the “Christic Institute.”

Sheehan would likely tell you that the aliens have come here to help humanity evolve — and become more like Teilhard’s notional Space Jesus.

Vladimir Putin has endorsed the Noosphere concept as a basis for “sustainable development.”(Photo: Liubov Gordina at APEC Summit, Brunei, November 15, 2000)

Vladimir Putin has endorsed the Noosphere concept as a basis for “sustainable development.”
(Photo: Liubov Gordina at APEC Summit, Brunei, November 15, 2000)


Another person enamored with the Noosphere is Vladimir Putin — though he prefers his compatriot Vernadsky’s conception to Teilhard’s. Vernadsky believed that our transition from the Biosphere to the Noosphere (literally, knowledge-sphere, from the Greek nous) was likely to be violent and catastrophic. Putin’s current Chief of Staff, Anton Vaino, even claims to have invented an absurd “Nooscope” device to monitor our transition into the Noosphere.

(See previous Wide Angle coverage of the noosphere topic Combatting Putin’s War with a Forward Vision for the West and Washington Has Lost the Plot.)

And many of the people most involved in the UFO activist network, such as Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, have been deeply connected to the Institute of Noetic Sciences — a think-tank dedicated to bringing about the Noosphere and founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Willis Harman, and oil, gas, and gold prospector Paul N. Temple. Temple also notably funded the Christian group The Family, which was famously the subject of Jeff Sharlet’s book and subsequent Netflix miniseries of the same name.

While I don’t believe we’re likely to meet our peers from elsewhere in the universe anytime soon (why would they show up now, of all times?) there is ample evidence of people who would like to accelerate geopolitical shifts here on Earth.

Excessive Secrecy Poses Security Threat

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, who recently resigned as head of the Department of Defense’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) — the latest such effort to aggregate and investigate UAP reports — penned a scathing Scientific American op-ed in January 2024 calling out the network of UFO activists. AARO also compiled a report, submitted to Congress and to be published sometime this year. According to Kirkpatrick, AARO found no evidence of the existence of any alien life, or a government cover-up.

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, former head of AARO. (Photo: NASA/Joel Kowalsky)

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, former head of AARO. (Photo: NASA/Joel Kowalsky)


In a follow-on interview with Scientific American, Kirkpatrick agreed with editor Daniel Vergano’s characterization of Washington’s latest obsession as “a tremendous game of telegraph that’s been going on for a long time. And it’s spun up now from the world of ufology to entertainment, to the Congress and genuine congresspeople … pounding the table and demanding answers.”

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) warned about the dangers of overclassification and excessive government secrecy. Opportunists foreign and domestic are happy to amplify and take advantage of popular distrust in government. The United States should normalize its security protocols to ensure that information is not unnecessarily classified. Seeding public suspicion that government vaults contain dark secrets that, if revealed, would cause an ontological shock is a gift to our adversaries, and we should actively counter it.

The fact that a fringe group of activists mirroring messaging from hostile foreign powers has injected frivolous legislation, rooted in myth, into our most important defense bill is alarming. Legislators need to practice better discernment and not be swayed by popular mythology, even as they themselves may have become susceptible to tempting questions planted by decades-long information warfare campaigns.

H.L. Mencken observed, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” But the people they elect should work to make systemic changes that defuse suspicions over time, rather than be guided by modern myth-makers.

The offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Warner were contacted while researching this story, but they did not respond. For additional reporting into the claims of alien visitations, together with portraits of several of the leading adherents referenced in this article, see Spaceship of Fools (Art Levine, Washington Spectator, July 23, 2023).


Dave Troy is an investigative journalist focused on exposing threats to democracy. Based in Baltimore, his background as a technologist with an interest in studying online extremism affords him a unique perspective. His work has appeared at MoMA in New York, and he is a fellow with New America Foundation’s Future Frontlines. Dave writes regularly about information warfare, history, and politics. He is the host of the podcast Dave Troy Presents, and speaks regularly at conferences on disinformation, extremism, and information warfare. Contact information is available at davetroy.com.

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