The following analysis has been conducted by the Committee to Reform MUFON for the benefit of the Members of MUFON. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and sound judgment in this analysis.
The Gagged-for-life Star Team Confidentiality Agreement
What follows below is the MUFON Star Team confidentiality agreement, which must be signed by all Star Team investigators, this version being the one in use as of last summer. It is an amazing document which seems to require a permanent, never-to-end secrecy of all Star Team cases—the most important cases MUFON handles.
MUFON’s mission is to develop UFO information and provide that information to Members and the American people. That is what the Committee to Reform MUFON believes, and as far as we know, almost all Members of MUFON believe the same thing—every shred of case information is to be provided to the public (except witness names). Yet here we have a document which will make you wonder if the leadership of MUFON truly believes in the Mission as we understand it.
The Following Conditions of Confidentiality Must be Agreed to if the Applicant Is to be considered for STAR Team Membership
Any and all communication is to be directed only to the MUFON International Director or the Director of Investigations.
Strict confidentiality is in force from the moment of deployment notification. Discussion of destination and travel method communications within your immediate family is acceptable. Friends, family or other are not to be informed of any Team findings.
There is to be no media communication of any type, including reporters, television, radio, email, or other source or places of public discussion.
All findings including but not limited to the following: measurements, photographs, video of any kind, drawings, renditions, witness testimony, hearsay evidence, writings, and conclusions, are the sole property of MUFON International. Books and letters of any kind are forbidden to be written concerning an event.
All notes, reports, witness writings and findings are the exclusive property of MUFON International.
Photographs, video taken by a witness remain the witness property unless surrendered to MUFON International. Physical Evidence and Media Release Forms must be signed in all cases where material and evidence is obtained from witness or other individuals.
4Any information, evidence or findings shall not be given to any Law Enforcement or Government Agency without approval from MUFON’s International Director or by Due Process of Law. Any violation of the conditions of confidentiality will be cause for immediate disciplinary action.
Without Exception, Everything Concerning a STAR Team Deployment is Strictly Confidential and Must be Maintained at the Highest Level of Security
The requirements set out in this document should not be confused with MUFON’s traditional practice of keeping witness identity confidential on request. MUFON has always offered to keep the names and addresses of witnesses confidential, but that is not what this document is talking about. This document is about keeping the information of the case confidential, apparently forever.
No expiration date
No “expiration date” of the case information is mentioned, or even implied, in this Star Team agreement. By expiration date, we mean the conditions on which the confidentiality will end—the most obvious one, the one we expect to find, being the completion of the case. We expect the agreement to say that when the investigation is complete, the confidentiality will end. But it doesn’t.
Instead, the investigator is notified he or she will not be writing books about any Star Team cases. Books are written in the future. No books? No end to the confidentiality. Gagged for life, it would seem. This requirement must be a surprise to those MUFON investigators who get into investigation work precisely so they can write books and articles. Instead, under the regime set forth here, the UFO investigator seems to be operating simply as a tool of MUFON International, and all information collected becomes the “sole property” of MUFON International.
The most important cases
We are at pains to make sure all Members of MUFON reading this understand that the confidentiality agreement shown here is presented to only a handful of MUFON field investigators, those participating in the Star Team. It is equally important to under-stand that the Star Team handles the most important cases that come in to MUFON.
Since late 2008 when the first Star Team was established, all the important cases have been taken away from the states and from the approx. 500 regular field investigators in MUFON, and reserved exclusively for the Star Team. During 2009, when the Bigelow contract was in effect, Star Team investigators numbered about 80 and they were paid employees of MUFON. Today, Star Team investigators number probably no more than 20, and they are volunteers. The confidentiality agreement shown here was written for these post-Bigelow volunteer investigators.
MUFON defines an “important case” as a close approach to a witness, a landing case, a case in which an entity is seen, or a case with multiple witnesses. The virtue of the Star Team, as it was advertised within MUFON, was the Team’s rapid response capability. Star Team members are told to have a suitcase packed and be ready to depart on a moment’s notice. When Bigelow funding was available, the investigators’ airfare and hotel was paid. The idea was to get to the scene of an event quickly.
The Star Team was supposed to be for us, wasn’t it?
Having a rapid response capability was said to have long been the “dream” of MUFON’s Board of Directors—and who would disagree with that? We would all stand on the sidelines and cheer as MUFON’s intrepid investigators flash as lightening to the scene of an important case, because then they could gather all the vital information and—bring it back to us. That is what we expect, isn’t it MUFON? That they would bring the information back to us.
In keeping with MUFON’s Mission, we expect the information on all cases to be reported to everybody—to the Members of MUFON, to the American people, to the world! And so reading the Star Team confidentiality agreement, with not a hint the information will ever be disclosed, comes as a shock. And who is “MUFON International” which becomes the “sole” owner of the information? Well, that would be the MUFON Board of Directors.
Do you need a security clearance?
And here is another remarkable thing about the Star Team confidentiality agreement. Who has authority to see and read the cases? Do you need a “security clearance” to read a Star Team case?
The agreement says the investigator cannot tell his or her spouse about the case, ever; cannot tell “friends, family or others” about the case, ever; and the investigator may not write about the case, ever. “Everything. . .is strictly confidential and must be maintained at the highest level of security.” All information goes directly to the International Director or the Director of Investigations. They apparently do have authority to read the cases. Does anyone else? The terms of the agreement seem to suggest Star Team cases could not be put in CMS, since many Members of MUFON could go there and read them.
In the meantime, the reality is MUFON has publicized a number of Star Team cases and many Star Team cases are in CMS. So what are we looking at? Will the investigator be standing there mute and silent to his wife, and unable to write an article about any case, while MUFON FIs read the case in CMS or Members read it in the MUFON Journal? That is absurd. So what are we looking at? Conflicting impulses within MUFON?
Who wrote the confidentiality agreement?
The fact is someone’s impulse led to the Star Team confidentiality agreement. Like other documents in MUFON, such as the background check form, no one knows who wrote it. It just appeared. But someone wrote it and their guiding impulse was to make the information about MUFON’s most important cases a secret. And someone approved the form as well. Was that the Board of Directors? And Chase Kloetzke, former Star Team manager, she proudly distributed the agreement last summer.
In other words, persons in MUFON wrote, approved, distribute and are demanding signatures on a piece of paper which says that the information on MUFON’s most important cases is a permanent secret—and that is a complete and total violation of MUFON’s mission as most members understand our Mission.
Here at CRM we wonder who those persons were who wrote, approved and demand signatures on a piece of paper in total violation of MUFON’s Mission? We wonder why we don’t know their names and why they don’t step forward and speak to the Membership and tell us how it comes to be that a piece of paper in total violation of MUFON’s mission circulates in the organization.
As for Chase Kloetzke, former manager of the Star Team, her role in all this is interesting. In January 2011 Chase authored an article in the MUFON Journal which describes a May 6, 2010 Tennessee investigation during which Chase, and others, observed an alien being in a farm field standing 6 feet from their location.
The “Chase case” is not in CMS in full
Chase held on to this information from May to January, 9 months, and she never did accurately write the case up for CMS. Her write-up, in case # 22904, says nothing about seeing the alien in the field. “I was asked to write about this case for the Journal,” Chase says in her article. We should all be thankful Chase finally lived up to MUFON’s Mission and reported the case, and thankful someone urged her to write about it.
In the meantime, for Chase to withhold the information from CMS is entirely consistent with the Star Team confidentiality agreement. The information was shared with a limited number of people in MUFON, and that too is consistent with the Star Team confidentiality agreement. Chase endorsed the agreement; in an August 2010 email she wrote about “the VERY important confidentiality form.”
All MUFON activities are confidential, according to Chuck Reever
In this she echoed the view of her boss, Chuck Reever, the then, since resigned, Director of Investigations, who wrote in a June 15, 2010 email, “The Star Team Manager must hold all MUFON activities as confidential. This also applies to all Star Team members.” [Emphasis added] So, according to now Board Member Chuck Reever, “all MUFON activities” are confidential—not just the Star Team cases.
Chase was manager of the Star Team from July 2010 until she resigned in February 2011. She was appointed to the job after she had been a FI for only 6 months. According to those who know Chase, the reason she held the information for 9 months was because “she thought her credibility would be damaged if she admitted seeing the alien in the field.” Apparently Chase did not realize that probably half the members of MUFON have seen aliens—in their bedrooms. But if Chase held the information to protect her reputation, she needn’t have had any qualms about it since the Star Team confidentiality agreement gives her the green light to withhold information from the Members of MUFON.
Why did Chase resign?
Chase Kloetzke has not explained to the Members of MUFON why she resigned in January 2011. All that is known is the resignation was hostile. Chase did not resign because she had a sick husband or was overwhelmed with duties at work. She resigned due to a substantive disagreement with the MUFON Board of Directors, but apparently it was not over the Star Team confidentiality agreement because Chase lived up to that.
Chase appears to believe that even though the cause for her resignation was a substantive policy disagreement with the Board, that is a private matter which she has no responsibility to describe to the Members of MUFON even though it no doubt affects us. In this, she mirrors the beliefs of the Board that their activities, their policies, the direction they move the organization is entirely a private matter—that MUFON as well as the UFO information the organization collects is their “sole property” to dispose of as they wish.
This idea is at the heart of the protest mounted by the Committee to Reform MUFON. We believe MUFON’s mission and the UFO information MUFON collects is the “sole property” of the human race. MUFON’s Mission is transcendent. MUFON’s Mission, and MUFON the organization, cannot be owned by a self-appointing clique which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of UFO information as it sees fit.
If that is the posture of the MUFON Board, then what is the difference between the MUFON Board and the United States government? Everywhere in the UFO community it is held that the US government has NO RIGHT to withhold information about the UFO phenomena from the American people.
MUFON is a Public Trust
That is what we believe, isn’t it MUFON? And because we believe that, we founded MUFON. We said, All right, if the government will not tell us the truth then we will find the truth for ourselves and we will publish it! There is no wiggle room on this issue. Every shred of UFO case information collected by MUFON must be made available, without delay, to the Members of MUFON and to the American people. The Mission of MUFON is not private and discretionary. It is a Public Trust which it has fallen on the UFO community to implement and safeguard until such time as the public can avail itself of the value it represents.
Don’t sign the gagged-for-life agreement!
As for the Star Team investigators, why do you sign an agreement such as the Star Team confidentiality agreement? This agreement violates MUFON’s Mission and your duty to the Members and the public. Furthermore, the agreement takes away your dignity and independence as a UFO investigator and reduces you to a mere functionary and agent of the Board of Directors. And if you were told to suppress information on a case you investigated and threatened with being thrown off the Star Team and loss of your FI badge, how would you react to that? In addition, can any of you explain the meaning of the following obscure provision in the agreement you have signed?
4Any information, evidence or findings shall not be given to any Law Enforcement or Government Agency without approval from MUFON’s International Director or by Due Process of Law.
What exactly does this mean? Why would you sign a statement referring to “Law Enforcement or Government Agency” without knowing what it means?
The Committee to Reform MUFON urges all Star Team investigators in the strongest possible terms to not sign the Star Team confidentiality agreement, but instead to demand a reasonable agreement where confidentiality ends when the investigation is completed. We also urge you to make sure your investigated Star Team cases are actually in CMS, and remain there, and we further urge you to write up each Star Team case and submit it for publication in the MUFON Journal.
The Star Team confidentiality agreement is a disgraceful thing which should be obliterated from MUFON.
The 3rd party paragraph
We turn now to another, related, MUFON policy—the so-called “3rd party paragraph.” It can be seen at the bottom of the public witness intake form on MUFON’s website. Hit “Report a UFO” on the homepage and you will read this at the bottom of the intake form:
Since our investigation may involve third parties, we need to know whether you would consent to the release of your contact information to 3rd parties not connected to or affiliated with MUFON. If you elect to make your contact information available to 3rd parties, you may be contacted by third parties for additional details and information concerning your report. Your contact information includes your name, telephone number, and mailing address.
Just before she was fired as a state director, one of the members of the Committee to Reform MUFON was asking questions about this curious paragraph. In Dec. 2010 she had sent emails to Clifford Clift, Jan Harzan and Chuck Reever asking, Why is this paragraph on the intake form and who are the 3rd parties MUFON shares information with? She received no reply.
Recently another member of MUFON asked about the 3rd party paragraph in an email to Clifford Clift. He responded:
So we can use labs, consultants and other people who will benefit the investigation. If we don’t have 3rd party, then we can’t let these people be involved with the event. Answer your question? There are no conspiracies and no intent by MUFON to hide things from members. Trust MUFON.
Richard Lang & James Carrion on the 3rd party paragraph
Compare Cliff’s answer with what Richard Lang and James Carrion say about the 3rd party paragraph. Richard Lang was Manager of the Star Team during 2009 when the Bigelow contract was in effect. In a March 6 blog, Richard wrote:
Shortly after the start of the SIP [Bigelow] project, MUFON CMS was modified to include the “3rd party Release Agreement Question.” This question allows the witness to decide if they want their personal contact information released to 3rd parties like BAASS [Bigelow]. . .Those who answered “Yes”. . .would be subject to being contacted by such 3rd parties as BAASS.
The Committee to Reform MUFON had already learned from former ID James Carrion that the 3rd party designation was placed on the intake form to protect MUFON from legal liability for violating witness privacy since Bigelow had access to CMS during the contract period. During the contract period Bigelow’s investigators contacted and visited numerous witnesses, even before MUFON got there. They took samples at will, and told some witnesses “Don’t talk to anyone else about your experience.”
When we read Clifford Cliff’s answer about “labs and consultants,” we checked with James again. On April 11, he wrote:
It has nothing to do with consultants. It was put there specifically for the Bigelow project. If it is still there, the question is, is information still being funneled to Bigelow?
The 3rd party paragraph is for Bigelow Clift’s email talks about “labs and consultants,” but the 3rd party paragraph doesn’t say anything about that. It says: “your name, telephone number and mailing address.” The paragraph obtains permission to transmit the identity of the witness.
It is a pity the Members of MUFON cannot rely on the International Director Clifford Clift to truthfully answer legitimate questions.
A mechanism, if somebody wants to use it
So between the Star Team confidentiality agreement and the 3rd party paragraph, what are we looking at? Some people would say we are looking at a mechanism for capturing and blacking out information on MUFON’s most important cases, along with authorization to send information out of the organization. The mechanism for capturing and blacking out cases is the Star Team and its confidentiality agreement. Sending information out is covered by the 3rd party paragraph. Incidentally, according to Richard Lang, “95 percent” of witnesses check ‘Yes.’
Is MUFON actually using the mechanism to black out the most important cases? And is MUFON sending witness information to 3rd parties? That is an interesting question. As noted, many Star Team cases can be found on CMS, although some are missing, and some Star Team cases have been published in the MUFON Journal.
CMS is a thicket
Anyone who thinks this question can be answered by simply tracking Star Team cases in CMS is probably kidding themselves. There are thousands of cases in CMS. Only about 500 MUFON Members actually have access to CMS, there are varying levels of access, few people thoroughly understand the system, and any irregularities in CMS can be explained as “an error.” Since Star Team cases have been officially designated “confidential,” it seems unlikely any Member asking for an accounting of the cases would get it. On the contrary, everyone in MUFON knows if you ask too many questions, you may be fired or lose your FI badge—so who is going to ask all these questions and do all this checking?
Our own checking yielded the information some cases are missing from CMS. The Committee to Reform MUFON has also been told that during the Bigelow contract, some Star Team cases disappeared from CMS before they were even assigned to investigators.
As for sending witness information out of MUFON, when Clifford Cliff says Bigelow is no longer involved with MUFON, the Membership is supposed to gather from that that MUFON is no longer sending information to him. On the other hand, the Committee to Reform MUFON has been informed of “outside interference” in three recent Star Team cases. We do not know who the interfering party was, or how they learned of the cases.
The US Government wouldn’t want to destroy MUFON
In considering these questions, we have to ask ourselves: If a US government intelligence agency wanted to control MUFON, what would the objective be? The objective would be to keep MUFON up and running collecting UFO information from the public combined with a way to keep some part of the information from being published.
The part the government wouldn’t want published would be the really good current cases that could contribute to proving the reality of UFOs, as well as cases where the involvement of the US government or persons acting for the US government was evident. And since an intelligence agency wouldn’t want to reveal it was operating within MUFON, it might send in a front company such as Bigelow Aerospace with a cover story such as that Robert Bigelow hoped to learn the principles of alien technology so he could commercialize space vehicles.
In that connection, we note that according to one of James Carrion’s blogs, Bigelow actually told MUFON he had “undisclosed backers” who put up part of the contract money.
Why doesn’t the Board safeguard MUFON’s reputation?
No one on the Committee to Reform MUFON believes the MUFON Board of Directors would knowingly cooperate with government intelligence activities, but somehow the mechanism for making it happen has been put in place. Anyone with a discerning eye can look at MUFON’s operations and see the mechanism, so what we want to know is why does the Board of Directors leave the mechanism in place? For appearance’s sake alone, why does the Board leave in place features of MUFON’s operations which could make it look like MUFON is cooperating with an intelligence agency?
Why doesn’t the Board look at the 3rd party paragraph and say, ‘Gee, that looks bad. Let’s take it down’? But no, MUFON doggedly clings to the thing to the point that if you ask about it Clifford Clift will give you evasive, illogical explanations that make the ID look bad for saying them. Why is the ID willing to make himself and MUFON look bad for a no-longer-necessary paragraph?
As for the Star Team agreement, why doesn’t MUFON have a reasonable Star Team agreement? Surprisingly, the current Star Team agreement is more restrictive than the one used during the Bigelow contract. Richard Lang’s old agreement had an “expiration date” of sorts which said the investigator gag would be lifted if and when the case was published in the MUFON Journal or a Symposium Proceedings.
What sense do these policies make?
In particular the appearance MUFON is cooperating with an intelligence agency is created because it is hard to find motives to explain MUFON’s policies. What does it buy the MUFON Board to claim “sole ownership” of MUFON case information? What does it buy the Board to swear Star Team investigators to lifelong secrecy? What does it buy the Board hang on to the 3rd party paragraph?
These policies have a big downside! They violate MUFON’s Mission, and they make the organization look bad, so there must be excellent reasons the Board insists on having these policies, despite the downside. Unfortunately, no one on the Committee to Reform MUFON can figure out what these excellent reasons might be.
What will it take to “Trust MUFON”?
Clifford Clift says, “Trust MUFON.” Let’s see the Board of Directors end its love affair with confidentiality and fall in love with transparency instead. Let’s see the Board scrub the organization of all policies which cause anyone to doubt the integrity of MUFON. Let’s see the Board manage MUFON as a Public Trust and acknowledge that the UFO information MUFON collects is the “sole property” of the human race.
Submitted by the Committee to Reform MUFON