Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Admits to "TOP SECRET" Records and "SECRET" Video From USS Nimitz "Tic Tac" UFO Incident
On October the 28th, 2019, long-time researcher and friend Christian Lambright submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Navy’s (USN) Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for records relating to the famed USS Nimitz “Tic Tac” UFO encounter. In it, he stated:
“This is a request for records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) as amended including the E-FOIA amendments. Because I am unsure of what department or agency retains the records I am requesting, I ask that you forward a copy of this request to all locations that would have been in position to receive any of the material(s) detailed in the following paragraphs.
This request is to include all releasable portions of records and reports related to investigation of the detection of and encounter(s) with Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) by personnel involved with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operations off the western coast of the United States during the period of approximately 10-16 November, 2004. The designation ‘AAVs’ is used here because it appeared in a summary of these events, so there may also be other terms used in the material I am requesting.
Information supportive of my request comes from a former pilot and now writer who has publicly stated he was allowed to see an exhaustive classified ONI report on these events prior to an article he published in 2015. Other supportive information comes from a contractor/analyst who has stated that an investigation had been conducted by a “GS-15” with the Office of Naval Intelligence.
If any records responsive to my request originated with another agency and require review or handling by that agency, I request that I be informed appropriately of the agency(ies) involved and actions in this regard.
I also request that ANY and ALL partially releasable information be forwarded to the appropriate agency(ies) specified for review, if any, and that I be informed appropriately of actions in this regard.
In order to help determine the category in which to place this request, please know that I am a private individual requesting records for noncommercial research and study purposes. Therefore, I believe this request belongs in the “all other” fee category. However, I am willing to pay reasonable search and reproduction fees up to a maximum of $50.00 over and above the ‘2 hours’ research time and first 100 pages free’ provisions of the FOIA for costs associated with this request if necessary.
If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you explain all deletions by reference to specific categories of exempted information, but as required by law, release any segregable portions that are left after the exempted material has been redacted. I also request that redactions be made using blackout not white-out.”
Less than two months later, on December 9th, 2019, the ONI’s FOIA/PA Coordinator, Camille V’Estres, sent Lambright her reply. Her letter states, in part:
“This is a final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of October 28, 2019, addressed to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Your request was assigned the above referenced Department of Navy FOIA number. You request all releasable portions of records and reports related to investigation of the detection of and encounter(s) with Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) by personnel involved with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) operations off the western coast of the United States during the period of approximately 10-16 November, 2004.
Our review of our records and systems reveal that ONI has no releasable records related to your request. ONI has searched our records for responsive documents. We have discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET. A review of these materials indicates that are currently and appropriate Marked and Classified TOP SECRET under Executive Order 13526, and the Original Classification Authority has determined that the release of these materials would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States. Specifically, under Section 1.4, the materials would trigger protections under subcategory c), the Intelligence Activities of the United States, as well as the Sources and Methods that are being used to gather information in support of the National Security of the United States. In addition, the materials would trigger protections under subcategory e), Scientific and Technological Matters related to the National Security of the United States. For this reason, the materials are exempt from release under the (b) (1) Exemption for Classified Matters of National Defense. As a result these records may not be released and are being withheld.
We have also determined that ONI possesses a video classified SECRET that ONI is not the Original Classification Authority for. ONI has forwarded your request to Naval Air Systems Command to make a determination on releasability…”
From there, Ms. V’Estres goes on to offer Lambright his standard rights of appeal, and a non-determination of fee waiver.
Evidently, the ONI’s response contains numerous issues worth raising. The ONI reviewed their “records and systems” but found “no releasable records” regarding the USS Nimitz “Tic Tac” UFO event. At first glance, this implies that they have nothing themselves to release. But interpreted slightly differently, the statement could also suggest that they in fact do have internal, homegrown records, but those records off limits. This, however, seems unlikely, due to the candid admissions that come next. During these searches, ONI discovered records originating from another agency. Designated as “briefing slides”, these items were deemed to be “classified TOP SECRET” under the well-worn Executive Order 13526, and the originating authority determined that they must stay that way. The reasons given relate, firstly, to “Intelligence Activities of the United States” and “Sources and Methods” which are used to collection national security information, and, secondly, to “Scientific and Technological Matters” related, again, to national security. Finally, the ONI admits to possessing a video which is currently classified “SECRET”. Again, the ONI has no authority to declassify it, but they did at least confess to who does. The originating agency is acknowledged as the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Ms. V’Estres reply letter is imaged below.
At this point, we can have no firm ideas as to what this material is. Moreover, the main purpose of this short piece is not to dissect each-and-every possibility, much of which would be based on assumption. Succinctly though, at first glance one may presume that the “briefing slides” relate to a series of briefings involving the USN. Research partner Keith Basterfield has elaborated on such events here. This, however, is pure supposition. Also, it is important, I think, to reiterate that this material classified TOP SECRET, and we don’t even know who by. The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)? A successor to the elusive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)? Whatever the situation, we can say that it relates to USS Nimitz’s UFO encounter of November, 2004. Afterall, Lambright’s FOIA request asked for nothing else. As for the video, which is apparently classified SECRET and owned by NAVAIR, one is bound to think it relates to the short “Tic Tac” footage taken by pilot Chat Underwood during the famed and still unsolved encounter. Again, this mightn’t be the case. In the meantime, the ever patient Christian Lambright has taken an appropriate course of action to move all this further ahead.