BARRINGTON, RI—Calling it the most scandalous cover-up of the past half century, dim-witted conspiracy theorist Daniel Burgess told reporters Thursday he believes the U.S. government has, for years, been clandestinely exercising total control over the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The 34-year-old dullard cited a wealth of evidence he said proves “beyond a doubt” that every NASA project—from Project Mercury to the moon landings to the shuttle program—has been approved and bankrolled by the federal government.

“Follow the money and you’ll find out who pulls NASA’s puppet strings: Washington, D.C.,” the unfathomable moron said. “The arrangement goes way back, too. Do you think it’s a coincidence that when NASA went to the moon they just happened to plant an American flag there? Don’t tell me the feds had nothing to do with that. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the government’s payroll. All astronauts are.”

“Think about it: The funding has to come from somewhere,” continued Burgess, mentioning records he found online that suggest the federal budget included $16.9 billion for NASA in the year 2013 alone. “And they’ve been careless enough to leave a massive paper trail.”

The simpleminded dope said he also finds it “highly suspicious” that so many astronauts have been ex-military personnel who came up through the U.S. Air Force.

According to Burgess, all the evidence linking the government to the space program is “hidden in plain sight.” Speaking to reporters from the basement of his home, where he waded through copious binders of documents representing more than a decade’s worth of research, he alleged that “every single president since Dwight Eisenhower” has been complicit in NASA’s operation. Richard Nixon approved the development of Skylab, he said, and Bill Clinton conspired to allow the International Space Station to move forward.

“Kennedy was in on all of it, too—he was actually one of the main guys, right from the start of his presidency,” said Burgess, pointing to several pictures of NASA administrator James Webb meeting with John F. Kennedy. “I’ve seen transcripts of his speeches, and I’m convinced: Kennedy knew. He knew about NASA the whole time. In the early ’60s, he talked about wanting to see a man on the moon ‘before this decade is out,’ and guess which organization did exactly that?”

The thick-headed man added that he suspects NASA’s decision to name its launch site the John F. Kennedy Space Center was “no accident.”

Burgess’ website, NASA-Revealed.com, encourages readers to “connect the dots” for themselves, offering hundreds of photographs, videos, and highlighted documents as evidence. The site features a close-up photo of the NASA seal with an arrow pointing to where the letters “U.S.A.” are printed along the bottom. It also notes that on NASA’s own website the official biography of current administrator Charles F. Bolden goes so far as to state that he was “nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

Saying the ruse has gone on long enough, Burgess insisted the American people have a right to know the truth about NASA, and he vowed to stop the government from “pulling the wool over its citizens’ eyes.”

“Whenever I tell people all this, they look at me like I’m crazy,” said Burgess, who admitted that he too was skeptical when he first stumbled on what he now believes is a far-reaching space conspiracy. “But I’ve no doubt now that NASA is collaborating with officials at the very highest level in Washington.”

The slow-witted conspiracy theorist also told reporters the U.S. government has quietly become the nation’s largest landowner by funneling its real-estate investments through a shadow organization called the National Park Service.