‘There is stuff’: Enduring mysteries trail US report on UFOs
WASHINGTON (AP) - The blob, captured on distant, fuzzy video by Navy pilots, seems to skitter just above the ocean waves at improbable speed, with no discernible means of propulsion or lift. “Oh my gosh, man,” one aviator says to another as they laugh at the oddity. “What … is it?”
Is it a bird? A plane? Super drone? An extraterrestrial something?
The U.S. government has been taking a hard look at unidentified flying objects like this one. A report summarizing what the U.S. knows about “unidentified aerial phenomena” - better known as UFOs - is expected to be made public this month.
There won’t be an alien unmasking. Two officials briefed on the report say it found no extraterrestrial link to the sightings reported and captured on video. The report won’t rule out a link to another country, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss it.
While the broad conclusions have now been reported, the full report may still present a broader picture of what the government knows. The anticipation surrounding the report shows how a topic normally confined to science fiction and a small, often dismissed group of researchers has hit the mainstream.
Worried about national security threats from adversaries, lawmakers ordered an investigation and public accounting of phenomena that the government has been loath to talk about for generations.
“There is stuff flying in our airspace,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the senators who pressed for the probe, recently told Fox News. “We don’t know what it is. We need to find out.”
Congress late last year instructed the director of national intelligence to provide “a detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data” from multiple agencies and report in 180 days. That time is about up. The intelligence office wouldn’t say this past week when the full document will be out.
The bill passed by Congress asks the intelligence director for “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 chief concern is whether hostile countries are fielding aerial technology so advanced and weird that it befuddles and threatens the world’s largest military power. But when lawmakers talk about it, they tend to leave themselves a little wiggle room in case it’s something else - whether more prosaic than a military rival or, you know, more cosmic.
“Right now there are a lot of unanswered questions,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California told NBC this week. “If other nations have capabilities that we don’t know of, we want to find out. If there’s some explanation other than that, we want to learn that, too.”
Luis Elizondo, former head of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, said he didn’t believe that the sightings were of a foreign power’s technology in part because it would have been nearly impossible to keep that secret. Elizondo has accused the Defense Department of trying to discredit him and says there’s much more information that the U.S. has kept classified.
“We live in an incredible universe,” Elizondo said. “There’s all sorts of hypotheses that suggest that the three dimensional universe which we live in isn’t quite so easy to explain.”