There's been a strange story unfolding in the little village of Sunspot, New Mexico. Sunspot is home to a large national astronomical observatory, located in the remote Sacramento Mountains in Otero County. The facility is, I believe, owned by an NGO though subsidized and regulated by various government agencies; and has some connection with New Mexico State University.
So last week, the owners of the observatory ordered the building evacuated and closed indefinitely because of an unspecified security issue. Soon, the area was taken over by FBI agents---accompanied by helicopter gunships. Otero County Sheriff Benny House was not notified in advance, and FBI agents have not coordinated with him. Neither the FBI nor AURA (the company owning the observatory) will respond to media questions; and on Friday, the Postal Inspection Service seized and closed Sunspot's post office.
A few citizen-activists have shown up and been shooed away by heavily-armed guards. The Internet, and to some extent even the Mainstream Media---is buzzing with theories of all sorts. Naturally, Ufologists speculate an extraterrestrial contact of some kind. We tend to doubt it so; if alien life were making contact it wouldn't make logical sense to evacuate the observatory. Astronomers and astrophysicists would be the very kind of experts the FBI would need. Besides, the CIA, NORAD, or DHS/NSA would be in charge since the FBI is essentially a domestic police force.
Interesting that this should happen just as there have been some good discussions on government transparency recently on various blogs. The lack of transparency in this case is disturbing. It's actually quite uncharacteristic of the Trump Administration which has been noteworthy for coordinating federal operations with local authorities. That fact hasn't escaped the notice of Sheriff House, who's been doing considerable protesting to the local press.
The problem in a case like this is that we haven't all the facts. But someone who does have them has decided it best not to reveal them for now. Despite the outward appearances here, the FBI is being partially transparent. They're not hiding the fact that they're there and doing something. In a dictatorial police-state, we wouldn't know that they were there at all let alone why.
Generally we don't engage in speculation here. But unless this action is some kind of elaborate training exercise, the situation is likely more serious than anyone is letting on. It can't be overlooked that this incident coincides with the 9/11 Anniversary. Some may wonder what kind of terrorist attack would involve a remote observatory. If, for example, they were planning an attack involving a satellite in some way, an observatory might have the equipment to carry it out.
That's only a guess, though, just like all the others floating around. The only reason that we can see for the secrecy is that the FBI fears compromising an investigation. At any rate, it's probably best in circumstances like these "to trust but verify." In other words, keep an eye on the situation. Public vigilance is just as important as government transparency.