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Fwd = UFO UpDate: F-16 Scramble - Continued Inquiries With NORAD & ANG

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) Originally from: UFO UpDates - Toronto (by way of UFO UpDates - Toronto
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2002
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      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

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      From: Kenny Young <ufo@...>
      To: <ufoupdates@...>
      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
      information."

      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
      exact info."

      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
      NORAD."

      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
      do."

      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
      that info."

      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
      airspace."

      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.
      Venable:

      "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."

      ADDITIONAL COMMENT

      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.

      Filed,
      August 3, 2002
      Kenny Young


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