The "Black Helicopter Caucus"

Of all the images House members invoke during floor debates, one of the most vivid is the specter of United Nations black helicopters looming on the horizon, poised to overrun U.S. soil as the agents of some shadowy New World Order internationalist regime. This week, as the House debated a bill to require congressional approval before U.S. sites are designated as Biosphere Reserves or World Heritage sites by the U.N., the sound of hovering helicopters echoed throughout the chamber as members invoked them to both dismiss supporters of the bill or head off its critics.

No less than House Resources Chairman Young opened the debate by saying, "We are going to hear a lot today that this is a fear tactic to worry about black helicopters ..." Rep. Bruce Vento, D- Minn., who spoke first among the bill's opponents, charged, "The proponents of this legislation claim that a proposed mine next to Yellowstone National Park ... was halted by environmental forces in black helicopters." Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., later declared sarcastically, "The black helicopters are, indeed, circling over our lands. They are out there circling as we speak." And Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the U.N. programs, saying, "There are no black helicopters; there are no U.N. troops and there is no global takeover."

But Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, the bill's author, refused to humor the Democrats - who mentioned black helicopters far more during the debate than the conservative Republicans who supposedly believe in them. Chenoweth only pointed out that "there is not one word in this simple little piece of legislation that talks about black helicopters."

Fairly or not, some conservatives have been tagged as belonging to a "Black Helicopter Caucus" because of their views and positions.

Said one member, "There is a group - and I do vote with them on occasion - that obviously sees a government conspiracy in everything. Which is an oxymoron, since these people are in the government." The member added that he once walked up to "a group of them and asked them 'What's the black helicopter vote on this?' the way you would ask 'What's the NEA vote on this?' or 'What's the farm vote on this?' - and they laughed."

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., a property rights defender some might include in the group, said, "I find it kind of hilarious. It doesn't bother me. I've heard it on the floor" in reference to some members. Chenoweth said when critics invoke black helicopters, she said, "It always tells me they've lost the argument."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.