“Of the 144 data points … we have no clear indications that there is a non-terrestrial explanation for this. But we’ll go where the data takes us, ”said a senior US government official.
The report speculates on several possible explanations, from natural phenomena to new development aircraft to what is simply referred to as “others” – a classification that encompasses a range of potential realities, including the possibility that at least some of the encounters were simple, earth-bound explanations .
“[Unexplainable sightings] pose a threat to aviation safety and could pose a greater threat if some cases represent an elaborate rally against US military activity by a foreign government or demonstrate breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary, ”the report said.
The intelligence agencies use five different categories to try to classify the objects, according to the report; but only one of the 144 sightings examined in the report was definitely categorized. Eighteen of the UFOs observed – or in US government parlance unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – contained potentially advanced technologies that the US government does not fully understand; 11 included encounters in which vehicles came dangerously close to American personnel.
“The UAP we documented … shows a range of flight behaviors, which really highlights that not all UAPs are the same,” added the official. “There isn’t a single explanation for UAP.”
Some of the 18 incidents “appeared to remain stationary in high winds, moving upwind, maneuvering abruptly, or moving at considerable speed with no apparent propulsion means,” the report said. It also notes that some “were discovered near military installations or from aircraft that [U.S. government’s] most advanced sensor systems. “
The The nine-page public report was separated from a top-secret part, which is likely to lead to allegations that the government is shielding important information. But the public release of the report marks a turning point on an issue that has long been the focus of public fascination and derision, as well as the deep suspicion that the government is hiding its full knowledge of UFOs.
“[I]It has become increasingly clear that unidentified aerial phenomena are not uncommon and our government needs a unified way to collect, analyze and contextualize these reports, ”said Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “As we continue to receive updates, we will share what we can with the American people as excessive secrecy will only fuel further speculation.”
The five categories of possible explanations for the encounters include: general items such as birds, balloons, or recreational drones; Weather or other atmospheric conditions; new aircraft being developed by US government agencies or private companies; and an unknown design from a foreign opponent. The report also contains an aggregate category of possible explanations, which it describes as “other” and which “additional scientific knowledge may be required” in order to fully understand it.
The government’s inability to categorize more than one of the 144 unexplained sightings is attributed in part to a limited process of collecting such data, as well as different approaches, if any, by various government agencies. The report calls for the reporting procedures to be expanded and standardized.
“We honestly still have some work to do to really assess and address the UAP threats,” said the official.
Another major obstacle is the lingering stigma surrounding UFOs, preventing pilots and other personnel from giving their testimony for fear that it could harm their careers. Almost all of the sightings investigated by the Pentagon and ODNI were reported by Navy pilots.
Congress mandated the report in last year’s Intelligence Authorization Act, and lawmakers sitting on the armed forces and intelligence committees of the House and Senate can review the secret part. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, led the push following revelations in 2017 that a Pentagon office was pursuing a series of inexplicable sightings reported by Navy pilots. However, decades earlier, former presidents as well as former Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Called for greater focus on the phenomenon.
Rubio hailed the report as “an important first step,” but said the Pentagon and intelligence agencies “have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats pose a serious national security problem.”
The report points to several calls for action that Congress can support, including expanded research efforts and additional funding, to develop a systematic government approach to the collection and analysis of EAP data that officials believe is incomplete.
“Additional rigorous analysis by multiple teams or groups of technical experts is required to determine the nature and validity of this data,” the report said.
The report is also the result of years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by former Pentagon and intelligence officials and outside UFO enthusiasts who claimed that military and intelligence leaders did not take what some claim is a “blind spot” seriously enough. for national security.
“The hurdle is and was reliable data. We’re in a better place because the Navy put a process in place in 2019 to overcome this problem and the task force is building on those improvements, ”said David Norquist, the Trump administration’s assistant secretary of defense who set up the UAP task force.
“The path ahead is to reduce stigma, expand data collection and use data analytics to better understand UAPs,” he added.
For some national security veterans urging the government for a more solid investigation, the report is an important step in solving a mystery that has either been ignored by the authorities or relegated to the brink of information gathering and analysis and scientific research.
“We now know what it is not,” said Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon official and professional defense specialist who oversaw UAP research before retiring in 2017 from disappointment that managers didn’t take the break-ins seriously. “It’s not a secret US technology.”
“There are only two options here,” he added. “Either we are dealing with one of the greatest intelligence failures in history, or we are dealing with the greatest mystery of all time.”
“I’m thrilled that they had the courage and that this conversation is now taking place,” added Christoper Mellon, a former Pentagon Intelligence officer and senior Senate Intelligence Committee officer, who advocated more research into the phenomena. “At this point it cannot be denied that the UAP issue raises serious concerns that we cannot ignore.”
He also said the most important finding is that the US government “has confirmed that none of these properties are built or known to us”.
It also greatly downplays the notion that a potential adversary has made a major technological breakthrough without the knowledge of US intelligence agencies.
“There is no evidence that these objects came from Russia or China,” Mellon said. “This theory seems particularly weak when you consider how long this phenomenon has been observed.”
As the report also testifies, the number of sightings recorded is likely a very low estimate.
“We know from experience that few military personnel were willing to report UAPs,” Mellon said.
So what’s not in the full report? Mellon suspects the government is still shielding some data.
“It is far from clear how much information the [Pentagon task force] from organizations led by 4-star flag officers and agency directors, ”he said. “There is no doubt that some important information was not disclosed, possibly for a variety of reasons. Congress should inquire about it. “