Updated July 24, 2020, 11:40 a.m. ET
For over a decade, the program, now tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, has discussed mysterious events in classified briefings.
U.S. Navy Releases Videos of Unexplained Flying Objects
The U.S. Navy has officially published previously released videos showing unexplained objects.
[radio transmission] “Whoa, got it — woo-hoo!” “Roger —” “What the [expletive] is that?” “Did you box a moving target?” “No, I took an auto track.” “Oh, OK.” “Oh my gosh, dude. Wow” “What is that man?” “There’s a whole screen of them. My gosh.” “They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots from west.” “Dude.” “That’s not — is it?” “[inaudible]” “Look at that thing.”
The U.S. Navy has officially published previously released videos showing unexplained objects.
Despite Pentagon statements that it disbanded a once-covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, the effort remains underway — renamed and tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, where officials continue to study mystifying encounters between military pilots and unidentified aerial vehicles.
Pentagon officials will not discuss the program, which is not classified but deals with classified matters. Yet it appeared last month in a Senate committee report outlining spending on the nation’s intelligence agencies for the coming year. The report said the program, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, was “to standardize collection and reporting” on sightings of unexplained aerial vehicles, and was to report at least some of its findings to the public within 180 days after passage of the intelligence authorization act.
While retired officials involved with the effort — including Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader — hope the program will seek evidence of vehicles from other worlds, its main focus is on discovering whether another nation, especially any potential adversary, is using breakout aviation technology that could threaten the United States.
Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told a CBS affiliate in Miami this month that he was primarily concerned about reports of unidentified aircraft over American military bases — and that it was in the government’s interest to find out who was responsible.
He expressed concerns that China or Russia or some other adversary had made “some technological leap” that “allows them to conduct this sort of activity.”
Mr. Rubio said some of the unidentified aerial vehicles over U.S. bases possibly exhibited technologies not in the American arsenal. But he also noted: “Maybe there is a completely, sort of, boring explanation for it. But we need to find out.”
In 2017, The New York Times disclosed the existence of a predecessor unit, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Defense Department officials said at the time that the unit and its $22 million in funding had lapsed after 2012.
People working with the program, however, said it was still in operation in 2017 and beyond, statements later confirmed by the Defense Department.
The program was begun in 2007 under the Defense Intelligence Agency and was then placed within the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, which remains responsible for its oversight. But its coordination with the intelligence community will be carried out by the Office of Naval Intelligence, as described in the Senate budget bill. The program never lapsed in those years, but little was disclosed about the post-2017 operations.
The Pentagon program’s previous director, Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official who resigned in October 2017 after 10 years with the program, confirmed that the new task force evolved from the advanced aerospace program.
Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official, was the director of the Pentagon’s previous program on unidentified aerial vehicles. Credit...Roger Kisby for The New York Times
“It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” Mr. Elizondo said. “It will have a new transparency.”
Mr. Elizondo is among a small group of former government officials and scientists with security clearances who, without presenting physical proof, say they are convinced that objects of undetermined origin have crashed on earth with materials retrieved for study.
For more than a decade, the Pentagon program has been conducting classified briefings for congressional committees, aerospace company executives and other government officials, according to interviews with program participants and unclassified briefing documents.
In some cases, earthly explanations have been found for previously unexplained incidents. Even lacking a plausible terrestrial explanation does not make an extraterrestrial one the most likely, astrophysicists say.
Mr. Reid, the former Democratic senator from Nevada who pushed for funding the earlier U.F.O. program when he was the majority leader, said he believed that crashes of objects of unknown origin may have occurred and that retrieved materials should be studied.
“After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Mr. Reid said in an interview.
No crash artifacts have been publicly produced for independent verification. Some retrieved objects, such as unusual metallic fragments, were later identified from laboratory studies as man-made.
Harry Reid pushed for funding the earlier U.F.O. program when he was the Senate majority leader. Credit...Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times
Eric W. Davis, an astrophysicist who worked as a subcontractor and then a consultant for the Pentagon U.F.O. program since 2007, said that, in some cases, examination of the materials had so far failed to determine their source and led him to conclude, “We couldn’t make it ourselves.”
The constraints on discussing classified programs — and the ambiguity of information cited in unclassified slides from the briefings — have put officials who have studied U.F.O.s in the position of stating their views without presenting any hard evidence.
Mr. Davis, who now works for Aerospace Corporation, a defense contractor, said he gave a classified briefing to a Defense Department agency as recently as March about retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”
Mr. Davis said he also gave classified briefings on retrievals of unexplained objects to staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 21, 2019, and to staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee two days later.
Committee staff members did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.
Public fascination with the topic of U.F.O.s has drawn in President Trump, who told his son Donald Trump Jr. in a June interview that he knew “very interesting” things about Roswell — a city in New Mexico that is central to speculation about the existence of U.F.O.s. The president demurred when asked if he would declassify any information on Roswell. “I’ll have to think about that one,” he said.
Either way, Mr. Reid said, more should be made public to clarify what is known and what is not. “It is extremely important that information about the discovery of physical materials or retrieved craft come out,” he said.
Correction: July 24, 2020
An earlier version of this article inaccurately rendered remarks attributed to Harry Reid, the retired Senate majority leader from Nevada. Mr. Reid said he believed that crashes of objects of unknown origin may have occurred and that retrieved materials should be studied; he did not say that crashes had occurred and that retrieved materials had been studied secretly for decades. An earlier version also misstated the frequency with which the director of national intelligence is supposed to report on unidentified aerial phenomena. It is 180 days after enactment of the intelligence authorization act, not every six months.
US Select Senate Intelligence Committee directs Department of National Intelligence
to report on Unidentified Ariel Phenomenon
Senator Marco Rubio's reference to UAP catches observers off-guard
November 19, 2020
Toronto [ZNN] In an unprecedented legislative attempt to respond to growing pressure within the US Senate, Senator Marco Rubio Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has broken with tradition by directing the Department of National Intelligence (DNI) to report on unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) in its annual INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2021. Stemming from Pentagon briefings on UAP/UFOs with Senators, they want to know more.
The terminology unidentified aerial phenomenon has never before been used in modern day Senate committee annual fiscal reports. This has caught many political observers off-guard. The term unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) replaces the acronym UFO - unidentified flying objects - in official circles.
• In the AUTHORIZATION ACT SECTION designated as - ‘Advanced Aerial Threats', the SELECT SENATE COMMITTEE states, [it] "...supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations.”
• The Committee also stated, “… the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat.”
The 'requirement to report' also indicates the SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE must receive a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) from the Department of National Intelligence.
It is unclear why the chair of the powerful SELECT SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, Senator Marco Rubio, decided to inject a segment on UAP into the generally staid annual FISCAL YEAR ACT. However, in an interview, Senator Rubio made his feelings more than clear, “We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises - we don’t know what it is and it isn’t ours…” [Listen to his interview below**]
The background on this legislative move by Chairman Rubio demonstrates he is not the first to seek answers about the matter of UFOs.
• Former Senate Majority Harry Reid along with two other senior Senators raised the same issue. Reid and his colleagues Senators Inouye and Stevens were successful in obtaining $22 million of Senate funding for a UFO investigation program within the Pentagon.
• The program designated AATIP - Advanced Aerial Threat Investigation Program - ran from 2007 to 2012.
• The program was headed by Luis Elizondo a former intelligence officer.
• It is worthy of note that Rubio would insert into the 2021 AUTHORIZATION ACT language identical to the 2007 Pentagon program’s term - "ADVANCED AERIAL THREATS".
According to UAP Washington lobbyist, Steven Bassett* Executive Director of the Paradigm Research Group - this move by the SELECT SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE is an effort to establish Congressional or Senate hearings on the UAP issue. Bassett predicts there will be government hearings - perhaps as early as the spring of 2021. In his comments Bassett re-asserts what former Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta were up to when their respective administrations tried to delve into the UAP matter as far back as 1981 and into the mid 1990’s.
As stated in the legislation, Rubio warns, “...the Committee finds that the information sharing and coordination across the Intelligence Community has been inconsistent, and this issue has lacked attention from senior leaders.”
It appears Senator Rubio and his Co-Chair Senator Mark Warner want answers. Will the Department of National Intelligence comply, or will Rubio's Committee have to find another way to pry loose what US intelligence and military agencies are guarding so closely about UAP?
ZNN contends that implicit in this Senate Committee’s legislative directive to the DNI, Senator Rubio appears to be tactfully and strategically engaging the hypothesis that these craft known as unidentified aerial phenomenon may not originate from the planet Earth. If these tactics work for Senator Rubio, the Extraterrestrial hypothesis may well have entered a new era in US politics.
The entire INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2021 can be found at: FULL SENATE ACT
According to KOMO news staff (July 2, 2019) Washington State has the highest rate of UFO sightings.
“Washington state is the hottest UFO hot spot in the nation, according to a new report released in time for World UFO Day (July 2).
The study, by Satelliteinternet.com, used data collected by the National UFO Reporting Center and found that Washington has had 78.2 sightings of unidentified flying objects per 100,000 population - more than any other state in the U.S.
By contrast, New Mexico, home of the famous Roswell incident, came in at only eighth place with 62.4 sightings per 100,000. Nevada, home of the mysterious Area 51 and the "UFO Highway," came in at a lame 13th place, with 45.7 sightings per 100,000.
Maybe that's because aliens just prefer the beautiful Evergreen State scenery over the dry deserts of Nevada and New Mexico?
In fact, northern states in general had more UFO sightings than those in the South. Montana was a close second to Washington, with 77.5 sightings per 100,000 population. Vermont was third, with 77.0, Alaska was fourth with 75.9 and Maine came in fifth, with 70.2.
Texas had the lowest incidence of UFO sightings, with only 17.3 per 100,000 population, and Louisiana was second-lowest with 19.9 sightings. Rounding out the bottom five were Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.
Many of the sightings in Washington state described unusual pulsating lights, triangular objects, mysterious metal saucers, bright multi-colored glows, a series of lights or cigar-shaped objects in the sky.
But other recent reports go beyond that. One such sighting was made on May 31 at 1:30 a.m. in Seattle:Witnessed an orange orb/light across the street from my house and in seconds, a human like greenish thing leaped into it and vanished.
"I live in North Seattle, WA, and I just witnessed a bright orange orb or ball across the street from 24th Ave NW and 95th Ave. about 1:30 am. I walked out to have a cigarette, looked to my right, saw the orange light object at roof level and then as I watched, a streak of a grey/green human shape leaped into it from the side and then it vanished. I felt like something realized it was being watched so it stopped whatever it was doing."
"I have seen UFO activity in this area, got some of it on my iPhone 6S, but of course, it's not good quality. I uploaded it on Vimeo, ((name deleted)) on Google.
Anyway, it has me shaken up. I feel like I saw something, like a shooting or a kidnap, and I know that no one will believe me. Since I'm the only witness to this. Thank you."
Of course, some people are true UFO believers, while others will never put much credence in UFO sightings.
But surveys from Chapman University show that the belief in intelligent alien life is on the rise in recent years. In 2016, only 27 percent of Americans believed that aliens have visited our planet at some point in the ancient past. In 2018, 41.4 percent of people said that aliens have visited Earth in our ancient past. That’s a rise of 14 percentage points in just two years.
And there are signs that the U.S. military is beginning to take UFOs more seriously. The Pentagon has begun using the term "unexplained aerial phenomena," or UAP, to describe unidentified aircraft or odd light formations spotted by military pilots.
And there are recent reports that the U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots who witness unexplained aircraft because of increases in sightings near sensitive military outposts and at sea.”
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194 UFO sightings reported in Wash. state last year
KOMO News Staff Tuesday, January 7th 2020
"DAVENPORT, Wash. - Some 194 UFO sightings were reported in Washington state last year - about one every 45 hours on average, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
That's greater than the 160 observations reported in Washington in 2018, and reflects a worldwide upturn in sightings of "unidentified aerial phenomena," as the U.S. military now terms these reports.
The National UFO Reporting Center, based in Davenport, Wash., receives reports from all around the world, but says it makes no claims as to the validity of the information in any of these reports." ...more
The Maury Island Incident, June 21 1947, refers to claims made by Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl of falling debris and threats by men in black following sightings of unidentified flying objects in the sky over Maury Island in Puget Sound.
The Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting occurred on June 24, 1947, when private pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at speeds that Arnold estimated at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour (1,932 km/hr).
This was the first post-War sighting in the United States that garnered nationwide news coverage and is credited with being the first of the modern era of UFO sightings, including numerous reported sightings over the next two to three weeks. Arnold's description of the objects also led to the press quickly coining the terms flying saucer and flying disc as popular descriptive terms for UFOs.