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Is the truth out there? Maybe.
A long-awaited US government report on UFO sightings released Friday was largely inconclusive, describing the strange objects seen by military personnel across the US as a threat to flight safety and possibly national security, but adding that there was no “single explanation” for their appearance.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the senators who pressed for the probe, described the report as “an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step.”
“For years, the men and women we trust to defend our country reported encounters with unidentified aircraft that had superior capabilities, and for years their concerns were often ignored and ridiculed,” said Rubio, who later added: “The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern.”
The report was funded as part of a $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending package enacted by former President Donald Trump this past December. That legislation instructed the Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to provide “a detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data” collected by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the FBI, and the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force and report in 180 days.
Congress also asked the ODNI for information on “any incidents or patterns that indicate a potential adversary may have achieved breakthrough aerospace capabilities that could put United States strategic or conventional forces at risk.”
The UAP task force, headed by Navy intelligence analyst Brennan McKernan, was created last summer to “detect, analyze and catalog” sightings of objects that could pose a threat to national security.
That move was made after a series of high profile, unexplained events were recorded on US Navy ships and made public last year. At least four warships off the coast of San Diego reported sightings of unexplained objects in July 2019 that didn’t match aircraft currently known to exist, some of which appeared to harass the vessels and another that suddenly disappeared into the ocean.
In another incident, from 2004, several Navy aviators from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz encountered unknown aircraft off the California coast that were described as resembling large “Tic Tac” breath mints.
One of the pilots, retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich, recalled in an interview with Reuters this week that the oblong object lacked “any visible flight control surfaces or means of propulsion.”
Following the 2019 incident, the Navy announced it would create a formal process for its pilots to report unidentified aerial phenomena, the official name for UFOs. Last August, the Defense Department created a task force dedicated to the matter. The mission was to “detect, analyze and catalog UAPs” that could endanger the US.
Some lawmakers suggested that the bizarre sightings could have captured advanced technology developed by a foreign adversary.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe disclosed to Fox News in March that “there are a lot more sightings than have been made public” and “some of those have been declassified.”
In May, former President Barack Obama fueled speculation about the nature of UFOs during an appearance on CBS’ “Late Late Show.”
“What is true — and I’m actually being serious here — is that there’s footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are,” the 44th president said.
“We can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory … they did not have an easily explainable pattern.”
Pilots and sky-watchers have long reported sporadic sightings of UFOs in U.S. airspace, seemingly at unusual speeds or trajectories. In most cases, those mysteries evaporate under examination.
The current push for more information about recent sightings began in December 2017, when The New York Times revealed a five-year Pentagon program to investigate UFOs.
With Post wires
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