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Former Skinwalker Ranch Owner: We Were Almost So Secret, the President Couldn’t Know About Us

A scene from Skinwalker Ranch (History Channel)

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Former Skinwalker Ranch owner Robert Bigelow opened up in a recent interview about how close his programs came to being too secret for even the President of the United States to know about them. While he still hasn’t revealed his data to the current Skinwalker Ranch owner, Brandon Fugal, it appears the secrecy almost went even deeper at one point in the past. 

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Bigelow Said His Program Was Almost an ‘Unacknowledged’ Special Access Program

In a recent interview with Jeffrey Mishlove, Bigelow opened up about his thoughts on top-secret programs and how close his came to being completely “unacknowledged.” He said there are two types of special access programs (SAPs): acknowledged and unacknowledged. His program was almost the latter. 

“We were very close to being an unacknowledged SAP,” he told Mishlove. “Special access programs, unacknowledged, no president of the United States is allowed to … know that, to have that information. It’s beyond their level… (With) acknowledged programs, some can be revealed to a President and some cannot… Part of the reason might be to preserve denial… But the unacknowledged (programs) don’t have any opportunity at all for them to know. It’s way outside of their ball game.”

While Bigelow didn’t specify exactly which program was almost an unacknowledged special access program, it was likely Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), which — in part — conducted research at Skinwalker Ranch. That program has always been acknowledged as a black box program, and the data gathered hasn’t been released to the current Skinwalker Ranch team. 

Bigelow’s Programs & Skinwalker Ranch Have a Long History of Secret Government Involvement

A scene from The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch (History Channel)
A scene from The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch (History Channel)

Skinwalker Ranch and Bigelow have a long history of secrecy and government involvement. In 2007, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid launched the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP) to study UAPs. Bigelow, who owned Skinwalker Ranch at the time, persuaded Reid to start the program, CNN reported in 2007. Then in 2008, Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) revived its Skinwalker Ranch lab to study UAPs there, according to a website called Enigma Labs.

BAASS won a contract from AATIP (Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program) and later wrote a 494-page report about UFO sightings that has not been released publicly, Wikipedia noted

After AATIP was shut down, the Pentagon in 2020 admitted that it had another similar program called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force (UAPTF), Baltimore Sun reported. And Bigelow’s people were involved in that one too. 

Jay Stratton, who worked with Bigelow at Skinwalker Ranch before Brandon Fugal purchased it, has been involved in almost every UAP program iteration: AAWSAP, AATIP, and UAPTF, 8 News Now reported. In fact, it was Stratton who brought Travis Taylor of Skinwalker Ranch onto the UAPTF in 2019, 8 News Now reported.

 David Grusch, the UFO whistleblower who has alleged there’s a reverse UAP retrieval program, served on the UAPTF at the same time as Taylor. After the July 2023 House UAP hearing, Stratton and Lue Elizondo co-authored a letter sharing how pleased they were with the hearing and the witnesses. 

When Bigelow sold the ranch to Fugal, he told Fugal he would not be giving him any data from his research there. 

In a multi-hour interview with the Shawn Ryan Show on YouTube, Fugal shared: “He (Bigelow) said, ‘Well, I’m selling the property on an as-is basis, I’m not willing to turn over any data.’ Not only because the ranch was part of a Pentagon-funded black budget program between 2007 and 2013, but he went on to say that he felt that he wanted to keep that private. And I agreed… I didn’t push. I asked respectfully and I respected his response…”

In an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove in August 2023, Bigelow said he sold the ranch, in part, because of the “hitchhiker” effect. 

“Harm coming to people was number one,” he said. But, he acknowledged, his interests were also changing. 

“Number two, we were going full bore in the aerospace company by 2017,” he recalled. “That was before COVID and before my wife’s passing. And she passed in February of 2020. And so I was her caretaker in 2019, 18, 17, 16…”

He said he just wasn’t really sure what to do with Skinwalker Ranch anymore. 

“I guess maybe outgrowing it [Skinwalker Ranch] isn’t quite the right word because how can you ever outgrow something so phenomenal?” Bigelow said. “I think it is we weren’t too sure what else we should do with it.”

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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