NASA held a public UAP meeting on Thursday, September 14, that initially left more questions than answers. At the beginning of the meeting, NASA announced that they were appointing a UAP Director to lead the research into anomalous sightings. But like many games where a mystery character is announced whose identity is kept secret, NASA seemed to be taking a similar approach with their director. NASA representatives insisted multiple times throughout the meeting that they have no plans to reveal the director’s identity, despite vowing to maintain public transparency.
But after multiple people fjiled FOIA requests to try to obtain details about the director, NASA belatedly decided to reveal the director’s identity after all.
To review a comprehensive, in-depth breakdown of all of UFO whistleblower David Grusch’s claims, with citations, see our story here. Scroll to the end of this story to see NASA’s full UAP report.
The New UAP Director is Mark McInerney
NASA updated its press release several hours after its UAP meeting to reveal the new UAP director’s name: Mark McInerney.
NASA’s press release noted: “McInerney previously served as NASA’s liaison to the Department of Defense covering limited UAP activities for the agency. In the director role, he will centralize communications, resources, and data analytical capabilities to establish a robust database for the evaluation of future UAP. He also will leverage NASA’s expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and space-based observation tools to support and enhance the broader government initiative on UAP. Since 1996, he has served various positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the National Hurricane Center.”
Mark McInerney, NASA’s new Director of UAP research. I genuinely wish him well in his new role & hope he does not receive the kind of attention the press conference suggested was the reason for initially refusing to name him. #UAP #UFOs pic.twitter.com/7sCOluRwU8
— Graeme Rendall (@Borders750) September 14, 2023
John Greenewald Jr. of Black Vault noted on Twitter (aka X) that McInerney appeared to have quickly removed his LinkedIn profile after his name was announced.
On X, Grant Lavac noted that McInerney appeared in some previous FOIA records that suggested he may have attended the Five Eyes UAP forum with Dan Evans.
McInerney’s background includes spending more than a decade as an operational meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and working with the Meteorological Development Laboratory and NOAA’s System Engineering Center, helping build tools for forecasters, EarthData reported in 2020. As of 2020, he was working with NASA helping move data from its Earth Observing System Data and Information System into the cloud.
He told Earth Data: “My background is both in meteorology and in software engineering and distributed computing. I married these two using it operationally as a forecaster to do analysis of the data, but then later went to the Meteorological Development Laboratory and NOAA’s Systems Engineering Center to build the tools that the forecasters use. This background was really helpful since I was using a vast amount of Earth observation data from satellites, aircraft, balloons, and field observations.”
A big part of his job involved collaboration, which helps unveil why he was a good choice for serving as the UAP director.
He told Earth Data: “We’re building our commercial cloud environment, but NASA also is working with other federal satellite-based agencies to build in a similar fashion so you have this interoperability inside the commercial cloud across these agencies. This is important since NASA has vast amounts of viable datasets that the science community needs. But this science community also needs to be able to incorporate data from NOAA and USGS. We all work together to make sure agencies are building capabilities that are supported broadly.”
NASA’s New UAP Director Who Will Oversee UFO Research & Work as a Liaison with AARO
Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, announced that NASA has appointed Director of UAP Research, following the release of the UAP team’s Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Independent Study Report. (You can read the full report later in this story.)
Nelson noted: “The top takeaway from the study is that there is a lot more to learn. The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin but we don’t know what these UAP are. That’s why I’m announcing that NASA has appointed a NASA Director of UAP Research. They are being tasked with developing and overseeing the implementation of NASA’s vision for UAP research. We will use NASA’s expertise to work with other agencies to analyze UAP. We will use AI and machine learning to search the skies for anomalies as we have been searching the heavens and will continue to search the heavens for habitability. And NASA will do this transparently.”
Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the science mission directorate, then also spoke briefly about the new director.
First she noted: “UAPs are one of our planet’s greatest mysteries and it’s really due to the limited number of high-quality data that that surrounds such incidents and often renders them unidentifiable. While there are numerous eyewitness accounts and visuals associated with UAP, they’re not consistent, they’re not detailed, and they’re not curated observations that can be used to make definitive scientific conclusions about the nature and the origin of UAP.”
Then she spoke about what the new director’s job will be.
“As you heard we, have appointed a Director of UAP Research. In their role, they will centralize communications resources and data analytical capabilities across the federal government to establish a robust database for the evaluation of any future data,” Fox said. “Additionally, our Director of UAP Research will also leverage NASA’s expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and space-based observation tools that will support and enhance the broader government initiative into UAPs. They will serve as NASA’s point of contact for government entities, but especially for the All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office or AARO. And this will ensure our coordinated efforts and effective communication channels.”
So essentially, the director’s job appears to include:
- Developing and overseeing NASA’s UAP research vision
- Centralizing communications and data analysis across the federal government
- Establishing a robust database for UAP reports
- Overseeing using AI, machine learning, and space tools for UAP research
- Serving as NASA’s point-of-contact with AARO and other government entities
It should be noted that the NASA team later said during the meeting that they are purposefully not analyzing classified data so that they can share their findings with the public, so the database that the director is establishing will likely not include any classified analysis.
NASA Did Not Initially Plan to Reveal the Director’s Identity, But Said They Had Already Been Working with the UAP Team for Some Time
Throughout the UAP press conference, different members of the NASA independent study team, along with Nelson, spoke about the need for transparency and how NASA is going to make sure that all of its data is publicly available.
However, the transparency seemed to end with the director’s identity. Multiple team members made it clear that they would not be revealing who the new director is. Hours later, NASA changed its mind.
NASA tells Reuters they’ve chosen the UAP director but not ready to name him yet.
— Post Apocalyptic (@PostApocalypt) September 14, 2023
At about 23 minutes into the press briefing, a reporter from Reuters asked NASA about the new director and what kind of funding would be given to the position.
Nicola Fox replied, “Yes, we have already appointed the person. They’ve been working there for a while now, like during this study to help be a point of contact.”
She added that budget discussions involve the federal budget and won’t be discussed publicly. Reuters’ reporter then pushed a bit more and asked if they would name the official.
“We will not give his name out,” Fox said, potentially indicating the director is a man.
News Nation asks about keeping director name private.
Evans says they are withholding name and just received report. Need to create cohesive response and they will “potentially” reveal director’s name later.
And why didn’t they have access to classified material? Nelson says… pic.twitter.com/pE6eGluSi7
— Post Apocalyptic (@PostApocalypt) September 14, 2023
Near the end of the briefing, around 56 minutes in, News Nation asked if they ever plan on revealing the UAP director’s name. Is this temporary or a “forever” decision?
“At this time, yes, we are withholding the name,” Evans said. “Let’s not forget that we’ve only just received this report and what we need to do now as an agency is come together and provide a cohesive and coherent response to it that addresses multiple findings and recommendations. OK. We’re only announcing initial actions today. Will that person’s name be disclosed? To answer your specific question, potentially yes, but again we need to ensure that the scientific process and method is free.”
Spergel Said They Weren’t Revealing the Name, in Part, Due to Public Threats
Later, at around 31 minutes into the press briefing, David Spergel, Chair of NASA’s independent study team, reiterated why they’re not revealing the director’s identity. Spergel said that he divides the emails and tweets they receive into two types: honestly curious people and people who want to harass the team members.
He said the panel has received actual threats to their security, and this played a role in why they won’t reveal the director’s name.
“Not only were some of the things our panel members received … simply trolling, some of them actually rose to threats,” Spergel said. “And as a result…we at NASA take the sanctity of the scientific process and the security and safety of our team extremely serious. And yes, that’s in part why we we are not splashing the name of our new director out there, because science needs to be free… Science needs to undergo a real and rigorous and rational process, and you need the freedom of thought to be able to do that. Some of the threats and the harassment have been beyond the pale, quite frankly, towards some of our panelists…”
It’s not clear at this time if the director is employed with NASA or a member of NASA’s independent study team, or someone else entirely.
Multiple FOIA Requests Were Filed Seeking the Director’s Identity
In response to NASA’s secrecy, multiple people have already filed FOIA requests seeking the UAP director’s identity.
D. Dean Johnson tweeted on X that they filed a FOIA request seeking the name and formal title of the director.
John Greenewald of Black Vault tweeted on X that he has already filed a FOIA request seeking the director’s identity, and he noted that reasoning he used to back up his request. He noted that FOIA’s Exemption (b)(6) for privacy doesn’t apply to individuals with governmental positions, and conflicts with NASA’s mission for open governmance. It’s also a matter that should be open to public record.
See NASA’s Full UAP Report
You can read NASA’s UAP report in the embedded link below.
It remains to be seen if these FOIA requests will force NASA’s hand. But the irony of NASA vowing transparency while vigorously hiding their new director’s name can’t be ignored.