Citizens Against UFO Secrecy
|Peter Gersten, Director|
Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) is a freedom of information activist group that was formed in 1977 by W Tod Zechel, Brad Sparks, and Peter Gerstein. The organization was formed to advocate for the release of information regarding UFOs that has been classified by government organizations through the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The organization gained notoriety for the amount of Freedom of Information requests it has made, as well as the subsequent court cases that were a result of them. Since 1998, the organization has been headed by Peter Gerstein.
CAUS is a nonprofit organization which stands on the following principles
- It is against any and all secrecy relating to contact with all forms of extraterrestrial intelligence
- The public has the absolute and unconditional right to know about this contact.
Members of CAUS claim that we are
“Being contacted, directly and indirectly by extraterrestrials, and will continue to be contacted at an ever increasing rate as we approach the galactic alignment,” and that “we presently have the technology and resources to discover the truth about this extraterrestrial contact for ourselves and decipher these messages.”
The organization was most active during the 70s and 80s, but presently does not show any activity.
Peter Gerstein, founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, is a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with lawsuits against the U.S. government. In 1977, Gerstein brought suit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using FOIA and received over nine hundred UFO documents from the CIA in 1979, two years after the suit occurred. However, the CIA, left out fifty-seven documents, due to claims of “national security considerations". One year after, on June 24, 1980, Gerstein brought a suit against the NSA with his newly formed organization CAUS. On November 18, 1980, due to the NSA’s top secret affidavit, the judge was satisfied with the NSA’s reasoning to withhold the documents, even though the judge was never cleared to view the top secret information.
Citizens Against UFO Secrecy ultimately arose as a result of the renewal of the Freedom of Information Act in 1974. The group was formed by Peter Gersten, W.T. Zechel, and Brad Sparks in the late 1970s and was based in Connecticut. Peter Gerstein, founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy was originally involved in a case against the CIA for the Ground Saucer Watch organization; however, CAUS ended up finishing the case, as Ground Saucer Watch ran into financial troubles. CAUS proved that many agencies were covering up their involvement in UFO research by releasing the documents of agencies that claimed to have lost interest in UFO research. For example, the CIA stated that they lost interest in UFOs in 1953. This case against the CIA resulted in the release of over 900 government files on UFOs, many that were later than 1953.
CAUS (Plaintiff) vs NSA (Defendant)
CAUS’s request for further information was denied by the NSA, prompting the organization to sue in order to gain the information. The court case between them was overseen by Federal Judge Gerhart A. Gesell. An affidavit was given by Eugene V Yeats, NSA Office of Policy Chief, regarding why the information requested would not be released. The affidavit says that it is in the NSA’s direct interests not to have the documents published, as they are a matter of national security and could compromise the security of the defendant’s organization contains sensitive intelligence regarding the interception of foreign communication; and no meaningful amount of information can be declassified without giving foreign intelligence information regarding US time and methods of information interception.
Alongside the public affidavit, a top secret affidavit also by Yeats was available to only Judge Gesell. The significance of the top secret affidavit is alluded by Gesell’s statement that “the public interest in disclosure is far outweighed by the sensitive nature of the materials and the obvious effect on national security their release may well entail”. The top secret affidavit was released with 75% of it redacted, and was later re-released with less harsh redactions in 1997 with only about 25%. Though it is speculated the information still redacted is mostly composed of UFO intelligence, the actual information CAUS was interested in.
The UFO Cover-up: What the Government Won’t Say written by Lawrence Fawcett and Barry J. Greenwood. Originally released titled Clear Intent May 1, 1984. Renamed in 1990. The UFO Cover-up: What the Government Won’t Say details the Citizens Against UFO Secrecy and their journey towards obtaining government information relating to UFOs, as well as the contents of the files that were released. The authors, Lawrence Fawcett and Barry J. Greenwood, are members of CAUS, which provides a firsthand narrative for the reader. The book contains many details about each and every request for files and the responses, as well as what the responses allowed CAUS to assume. These assumptions are shown to attempt to verify CAUS’s belief that the government has proof of the existence of UFO’s.
Interview and Media Presence
Citizens Against UFO Secrecy never held heavy media presence. Their most noticeable spurt in popularity due to their 1980’s court case against the NSA. When the NSA presented an affidavit to the judge it cause the case to be dismissed, it sparked the curiosity of Americans on what the affidavit said to sway the judge so heavily. The judge wasn’t cleared to learn the top secret information, so the affidavit swayed him without clear evidence of the situation. He nonetheless dropped the case and when the affidavit was released to the public, eighty percent of it was unavailable to read due to the mandatory declassiﬁcation review (MDR) the document went through. This was used as evidence the government is living in secrecy as the document was barely legible do to most sections being blocked out, leaving only small snippets of non-descript information being left. CAUS used this to their advantage by increasing public pressure on the NSA to declassify UFO documents. Their media presence was at its peak during this time but died down as the situation grew stale.
- "Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) -- Peter Gersten". www.v-j-enterprises.com. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
- "COSMIC CONSPIRACY: SIX DECADES OF GOVERNMENT UFO COVER-UPS".
- "The Case for the Extraterrestrial Origin of Flying Saucers. By Stanton T. Friedman | Unidentified Flying Object | Technology (General)". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
- "Affidavit by Yeats" (PDF).
- Rojas, Alejandro (2016-02-15). "Government Says It Has Lost More UFO X-Files". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
- Salla, Michael. "The History of Exopolitics: Evolving Political Approaches to UFOs & the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis" (PDF).
- Lawrence., Fawcett, (1984). Clear intent : the government coverup of the UFO experience. Greenwood, Barry J. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0131366491. OCLC 10777403.
- Clark, Jerome. The UFO Encyclopedia. I, UFOs in the 1980s. Detroit: Apogee Books, 1990.
- Fawcett, Lawrence, and Barry J. Greenwood. Clear Intent: The Government Coverup of the UFO Experience. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1984.