By Larry W. BryantA recently formed small group of legal professionals based in Arlington, Va. - the National Security Counselors (NSC - http://nationalsecuritylaw.org ) - has embarked on a bold, creative pursuit of official information not readily available to most of society's inquiring minds.
Their chief tool in this public-interest pursuit happens to be the U. S. Freedom of Information Act. The group's officers and staff have a solid track record in realizing the Act's utility and promise toward greater public understanding of why/where/how/when certain federal agencies behave the way they do. You can get a taste of the group's strategy by perusing the NSC web site's FOIA subpage. There, you'll find samples of their cross-agency FOIA requests keyed to several research themes. One of these themes should pique the interest of this blog's readership: Contingency Plans for a "First Contact" Scenario. The pertinent request letter went out individually on May 13, 2010, to the following agencies: U. S. Air Force, U. S. Army, U. S. Central Intelligence Agency (see the text quoted below), U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency, U. S. Department of State, U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U. S. Navy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the U. S. Strategic Command.
Before quoting the letter's content, let me offer a few comments:
(1) Lawyers prefer to pose questions on matters in which they know (or partially know) the answers; nowhere is that axiom more prevalent than in the national capital region. So, why doubt that the NSC practitioners have access to some insider information on the substance of their request.
(2) You can bet that each of the queried agencies (with the possible exception of NASA, which, alas, seems unable to formulate a contingency plan for its very own survival) will dispatch a "no records found" determination.
(3) I wonder why the NSC request omitted the U. S. National Security Agency, the U. S. Coast Guard, and the U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (For that matter, if a visiting extraterrestrial craft were to land on the White House lawn, shouldn't the U. S. Secret Service have a contingency plan for that moment in history?)
(4) If it turns out that no federal agency has bothered to create (or even to discuss creating) any formal contingency plan for first contact with E.T. entities, then what does that omission tell us about U. S. public preparedness, public opportunity to productively engage the E.T. presence, and public awareness of the potential value/detriment in such engagement?
(5) If the Nov. 2, 2010, ballot initiative for creating a Denver-operated Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission does win the voters' approval, shouldn't the commission's first agenda item focus on my comment No. (4)? Those of you who think so are encouraged to electronically sign the supportive petition at http://tinyurl.com/5xhgzx (which is garnering new signatories daily, thanks to recent, widespread media attention).