“Of the 144 data points… we have no clear indication that there is a non-terrestrial explanation for them. But we’ll go where the data takes us on this, ”a senior US government official said.
The report speculates on several possible explanations, ranging from natural phenomena to new development planes to what is simply referred to as “other” – a classification that encompasses a range of potential realities, including the possibility that at least some of the encounters challenge the simple, earthly explanations.
The intelligence community uses five distinct categories to try to classify objects, according to the report; but only one of the 144 observations examined in the report was definitively categorized. Eighteen of the observed UFOs – or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), in US government parlance – featured potentially advanced technology that the US government does not fully understand; 11 included encounters in which vehicles came dangerously close to US personnel.
“The UAPs we have documented… demonstrate a range of aerial behavior that really emphasizes that not all UAPs are the same,” the official added. “There is no single explanation for UAP.”
the The report includes a separate classified portion, which is likely to lead to claims that the government is protecting critical information. But the public release of the report marks a turning point for a topic that has long been central to public fascination and ridicule, as well as a deep suspicion that the government is hiding its full knowledge of UFOs.
The five categories of possible explanations for encounters include: common objects such as birds, balloons or recreational drones; weather or other atmospheric conditions; new aircraft developed by US government entities or private companies; and an unknown conception of a foreign adversary. The report also includes a catch-all category of possible explanations that it calls “other”.
The government’s inability to categorize more than a single one of the 144 unexplained observations is attributed in part to a limited process for collecting this data, as well as the different approaches taken by various government agencies, where applicable. The report calls for expanding and standardizing reporting methods.
“Frankly, we still have a bit of work to do to really assess and address the threats posed by the UAP,” the official said.
Another major hurdle is the lingering stigma surrounding UFOs that prevents pilots and other personnel from testifying for fear it could harm their careers. Almost all of the sightings examined by the Pentagon and ODNI were reported by Navy pilots.
Congress mandated the creation of the report in last year’s Intelligence Authorization Act, and lawmakers who sit on the House and Senate armed services and intelligence committees will be able to review the classified portion. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Deputy chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, led the campaign after revelations in 2017 that a Pentagon office was following a number of unexplained sightings reported by pilots from the Marine. For decades, however, former Presidents as well as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Have urged more focus on the phenomenon.
Rubio called the report an “important first step,” but said the Pentagon and the intelligence community “have a lot of work to do before they can really understand whether these air threats present a serious national security problem.”
The public testimony of pilots and the leaked videos also caught the attention of Congress. Last year, the Pentagon established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, which compiled the Congressional report.
The report hints at several calls to action that Congress can facilitate, including an expanded research effort and additional funding to develop a systematic government approach to collecting and analyzing PAU data.
The report is also the result of years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by former Pentagon and intelligence officials and outside UFO enthusiasts who have maintained that military and intelligence leaders have not taken up the phenomenon. seriously enough, which some say presents a “blind spot”. for national security.
For some national security veterans urging the government to conduct a more robust investigation, the report is a major step towards solving a mystery that has been ignored by authorities or relegated to the fringes of collecting and analyzing information. information and scientific investigation.
“We now know what it is not,” said Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon official and career counterintelligence specialist who oversaw UAP research before retiring in 2017, frustrated that his superiors did not take the intrusions seriously. “It’s not secret American 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 am delighted that they have had the courage to do so and that this conversation is now taking place,” added Christoper Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who advocated for more research on the phenomenon. “At this point, it is undeniable that the issue of the NAP raises serious concerns that we cannot afford to ignore. “
He also said the most important takeaway is that the US government “confirms that none of these objects are built by us or known to us.”
It also strongly minimizes, he said, the idea that a potential adversary has made a major technological breakthrough without the knowledge of US spy agencies.
“There is no evidence to suggest that these objects are 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 attests, the number of sightings recorded is also probably 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 protecting some data.
“It is far from clear how much information the [Pentagon task force] could spark organizations led by 4-star flag officers and agency directors, ”he said. “Without a doubt, some important information has not been shared, potentially for various reasons. Congress should inquire about this.