We recently posted a story regarding charges brought against the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI)’s founder, Dr. Steven Greer. You can read that story here. He was charged “in connection with allegedly operating a commercial venture on a national wildlife refuge,” while holding a night-sky watching event. The Board of Directors for CSETI has sent us a response to these allegations which we are posting with their permission, unedited, in it’s entirety.
CSETI Responds to False Allegations
Regarding recent false allegations of violations by Dr. Greer and other CSETI members of various federal regulations at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in NC, the CSETI Board wishes to make the following points.
First, CSETI events are in no way a commercial operation as alleged. CSETI is a 501 c3 non-profit organization in good standing with the IRS and in no way is a commercial enterprise or business. Any tuition is usual, customary and used to offset appropriate expenses of the non-profit, including CSETI educational and research programs and the work of the ground-breaking Disclosure Project (see www.DisclosureProject.org).
Secondly, regarding the event in question, in April 2010 CSETI held a research and educational program at the Outer Banks of NC. A person (who for now shall remain nameless) registered for the program who had worked for 16 years with the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge office as an Administrative Officer. This person, having recently retired from that office, stated that she could obtain any and all needed permits for CSETI to conduct our night time research under the stars on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Proof of this fact is contained in an unambiguous email from this former US government official to CSETI Educational Program Coordinator Debbie Foch, and follows:
Debbie Foch: “Thanks so much for sending this, __________. So, we don’t have to send in a permit application or anything? Just print these out and have the drivers in our car teams sign and date them and keep them on the dash of the cars?
Retired Administrative Officer from Refuge office: “ Yes, each person will need to have one, signed , with them and each car will need one in the dash. I can get a stack from the office next time I’m over that direction. That’s all that is needed, nothing needs to be sent in or be official.”
On the day of our first night of research, this person took Dr. Greer, Debbie Foch, Linda Willitts and Trudy Guyker- all long-time senior members of CSETI- out to the site that she had selected and for which she had obtained the permits she said we needed. At no point during this site visit did she ever indicate that we needed anything other than the permits that this former federal Administrative Officer had obtained. Dr. Greer never spoke with or had any dealings with this person prior to this meeting and in no way had any involvement in securing the Permits. Debbie Foch, who dealt with this former federal Administrative Officer, reasonably trusted that- given this person’s long-time employment with the very office and agency that provided such Permits- she had obtained the necessary permission on our behalf.
Third, on the night of the incident, the ranger that came onto the site immediately recognized this former federal official and exclaimed: “(First Name of person) you should know better!”. It was clear that this person and the ranger were on a first name basis and knew each other. All vehicles and persons present had with them the exact Permits given to us by this former federal official, and these were shown to the ranger.
Fourth, notwithstanding the above facts, which are incontrovertible and provable, the ranger removed the CSETI team and gave us a violation notice. Another ranger who was present that night stated to us that we could get the correct Permit from their office and that, in fact, that office had given permits to sky watch groups for night use in the past, and that this should be no problem. Additionally, a local deputy suggested another specific place (not on the Wildlife Refuge) where we could go and said we would not need a permit for that location. However, when we went to that exact site on a subsequent night, we were again approached by rangers, but allowed to stay.
Fifth, when Linda Willitts called the permit officer, Steve Thompson, on CSETI’s behalf, he stated that because we were a UFO group that he would never grant us a permit. We were shocked and dismayed by this statement. This clearly shows bias and discrimination against CSETI’s views and beliefs. This bias was further voiced and confirmed by comments made by Bonnie Strawser (of the same federal office) to the Outer Banks Sentinel.
The Board of Directors of CSETI is working to resolve this situation. The facts show that we were misled by an experienced former federal official, whose expertise we trusted. It is further noted that this person “who should have known better” was not charged with any violation, even though she was also present on the Wildlife Refuge that night. It is not known why this person, who would have a higher burden of expectation to know the details of federal rules and regulation, was not charged, while others were. This may show further bias and discrimination. It is apparent that some bias against UFO groups is involved in this situation. Furthermore, it can be proven that CSETI obtained the permits we were told we needed, and in fact has been granted permits by Joshua Tree National Park, Zapata Falls national recreational area in CO, and other sites.
Board Of Directors, CSETI
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