Fwd = UFO UpDate: F-16 Scramble - Continued Inquiries With NORAD & ANG
- Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
Originally from: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...> (by way of UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...>)
Original Subject: UFO UpDate: F-16 Scramble - Continued Inquiries With NORAD & ANG
Original Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 12:17:21 -0400
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From: Kenny Young <ufo@...>
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002 19:43:11 -0700
Subject: F-16 Scramble - Continued Inquiries With NORAD & ANG
INQUIRIES WITH D.C. A.N.G.
On July 31, 2002, a brief question and answer session was made
by telephone with Captain Sheldon Smith, P.A.O. of the DC Air
National Guard at (202) 685-9862. Captain Smith was asked what
exact time NORAD advised Andrews AFB & the 113th ANG of the July
26th unidentified radar track.
"NORAD sent notification some time before 2 a.m.," Captain Smith
said, "but we don't normally give out that operational
He was then asked what time the two ANG F-16s were dispatched
and what time were the jets were airborne and Captain Smith
said: "They went up sometime before 2 but we can't give out the
Captain Smith was then asked what time the jets were in the
estimated locality of the unidentified radar track and he said:
"That info is not available to me, the best source for it is
He was also asked if Andrews AFB also had the radar target on
their scopes and he said: "I also don't know if Andrews had it
it on radar or not."
Captain Smith was asked if he knew if the unidentified radar
track was visible on radar sensors simultaneous to the
appearance of the jets scrambled after it and he said: "That is
not something we normally talk about."
The D.C. Air National Guard spokesman was also asked if the F-16
jets scrambled to investigate the unidentified radar target were
on "afterburner" at any time during their investigation or if
they were flying at a low elevation and he said: "I don't know.
Unfortunately on these missions, NORAD has more info than we
Captain Smith was asked if the F-16 jets on a flight path above
Waldorf, Maryland during the episode and he said: "I don't have
I asked Captain Smith if I could prepare the questions again for
him in an email so that would give him a better chance to
research the issues. He furnished me with E-mail contact
information and I posed some additional questions.
Responding to the E-mail query to Captain Smith, DCNG Public
Affairs Officer Phyllis E. Phipps-Barnes replied by informing
that Captain Smith had left on vacation. She then furnished the
following releasable statement concerning the July 26 incident:
"Two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled
approximately 1 a.m. hours July 26, 2002, after radar detected
an unknown aircraft. The unidentified aircraft's track
subsequently faded from the radar. The F-16s investigated, found
nothing out of the ordinary, and returned to base."
Phyllis E. Phipps-Barnes then said: "For operational security
reasons, NORAD will not discuss specific details regarding our
air defense measures or changes in those measures. NORAD takes
all potential threats to North American airspace security
seriously, and continuously evaluates the threat and the overall
air defense posture. This event, like the more than 400 other
airspace security events NORAD has responded to since Sept. 11,
2001, will be assessed for potential threats to North American
She was thanked for her response and then asked why similar
information concerning an event 1-month earlier involving a
navigational error made by the pilot of a small plane
approaching the Flight Restriction Zone has been made available
while similar information concerning the the July 26th incident
is withheld. She was also provided with a timeline of the June
19th 'pilot navigation error' occurrence courtesy of ABC news.
In response to this message, the DCNG Public Affairs Officer
said: "Sir, I have given you the information I am authorized to
give. We receive our guidance from NORAD; I suggest you raise
your questions with the folks there."
On Friday, August 2, an additional message was received from
U.S. Army Major Barry Venable, a Public Affairs officer with
NORAD. What follows below are the comments provided by Maj.
"To answer your question, since Sep 11, 2001 NORAD has publicly
released and/or acknowledged two timelines-one detailing our
response to the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the other
with an incident last fall in Tampa, FL when a young man flew
his small airplane into a building. We did not release a
timeline with regard to the incident you cite, nor for any other
event of the 400-plus airspace security events NORAD has
responded to since Sep 11, 2001. The timeline you provided in
your latest inquiry was a news media report which merely cites
"Defense Department" sources. I leave it to your judgment
whether or not this information is credible, yet it is without a
doubt not "official."
"We do not plan on releasing any further information about this
event. To date, we have acknowledged that we scrambled fighters
to investigate an unknown aircraft detected by radar. The
unknown aircraft faded from our radar screens before the
fighters arrived. The fighters investigated the area where the
unknown radar track was located, detected no other suspicious
activity or aircraft, and returned to base. At no point in their
mission did the fighters "chase" anything. We did acknowledge
that we did not know what aircraft caused the radar signature.
"Any unknown air activity is potentially threatening-that's why
we respond. There are a number of explanations for this
incident. Public discussion of these possibilities or our
determination of actual cause does not serve the public
interest. Doing so might jeopardize our ability to provide an
effective air defense posture by revealing capabilities or
limitations to adversaries.
"We continue to assess this event-as well as more than over 400
other potentially threatening events since Sep 11-and will
factor it into our overall threat evaluation and air defense
posture. Despite the unfortunate publicity arising from the
sensational yet unproven eyewitness account of "blue objects in
the sky," NORAD is treating this event in the serious context of
providing an effective air defense for North America.
"Thanks for your interest. Despite the apparent intrigue, there
really isn't more to be said about this event."
It was previously noted that far more information regarding an
earlier less sensational incident was made available. After a
June 19th intrusion near D.C. airspace, in which a small private
aircraft ventured briefly near the restricted flight zone due to
a navigational error made by the pilot, information was made
available to CNN that the off-course aircraft of June 19th
entered the outer edge of the expanded Flight Restriction zone
around Washington D.C. about 7:59 p.m. Further, a June 21, 2002
New York Times article by Eric Schmitt reports that Air Traffic
controllers in Baltimore first spotted the light aircraft
heading to Washington just before 8:00 p.m.
This revelation informs us of a specific time the June 19th
plane was first 'spotted' while we have been denied information
on when the July 26th UFO target was first spotted. From the New
York Times article we are also made aware of the detection
method used to spot the June 19th plane; that being Air Traffic
Controllers at a Baltimore, Maryland air tower. Meanwhile,
similar information relevant to detection location or sensor as
per the July 26th UFO target was withheld.
Further, ABC News was informed that the June 19 plane "skirted"
the smaller permanent restricted airspace at 10,300 feet inside
the TFR zone. While the flight elevation of the erring pilot was
made available, NORAD and others involved stress the need to
withhold the elevation of the UFO target of July 26 due to
"operational security concerns"
While Major Venable stresses that the timeline of events for the
June 19th 'erring pilot' episode was not the result of an
official release, it is important to note that far more
information was made available concerning that event from which
a timeline was constructed by various news agencies. This might
also indicate the absence of interest in the current UFO-target
case by these same news media agencies who often refer to
internal sources, some of whom may have contributed to the June
19th data. Creation of a timeline regarding the July 26 UFO
target incident is more complicated because vital information
that may or may not correlate with the claims of UFO eyewitness
near Waldorf, MD is not being released.
August 3, 2002
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