U.S. Has No Clarification for U.F.O.s, Does Not Rule Out Aliens

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WASHINGTON – The government still has no explanation for nearly all of the unidentified aerial phenomena reported and investigated by a Pentagon task force over nearly two decades, according to a report released Friday.

A total of 143 reports collected since 2004 remain unresolved, according to the document released by the office of the director of the National Intelligence Service. Of these, 21 reports of 18-episode unknown phenomena may reveal technological capabilities unknown to the United States: objects moving with no observable propulsion or at rapid acceleration that are believed to have the capabilities of Russia, China, or other terrestrial ones Nations exceed. However, the report said that a more thorough analysis of these episodes is needed.

There is no evidence that any of the episodes involved secret American weapons programs, unknown technology from Russia or China, or extraterrestrial visits. But the government report did not rule out these explanations.

The nine-page document essentially refuses to draw conclusions, announcing that the available reporting is “largely inconclusive” and noting that limited and inconsistent data present a challenge in assessing the phenomena.

The report said the number of sightings was too limited for detailed pattern analysis. As they grouped around military training or testing grounds, the report noted that this could be the result of collection distortions or the presence of cutting edge sensors in those areas.

Government officials put forward a plan to develop a better program to monitor and collect data on future unexplained phenomena, if additional funds are available.

The lack of a conclusion on the unexplained episodes begs the question of how seriously the government has taken them so far and whether it has accumulated sufficient scientific expertise to investigate them.

There is too little data to draw a conclusion about many of the episodes, officials said. But both scientific experts and avid amateurs have advanced explanations that range from mundane to otherworldly, and the report has done little to support or reject their theories.

Government officials on Friday were reluctant to acknowledge the potential that the phenomena could be extraterrestrial ships, a signal of how unlikely they see this explanation.

There was no confirmatory evidence in the report that the unexplained phenomena were extraterrestrial spacecraft. But because the government has failed to provide an explanation for so many episodes, the new report is sure to fuel the excitement of those who think they may be.

Among the unsolved incidents are three high-profile videos of aerial phenomena that were recorded by the US Navy and watched by pilots in recent years.

The report released on Friday is an interim report in which previous officials involved in the Pentagon investigation had predicted that the government would first deal with the requirement by Congress to provide an unclassified report on its knowledge of UFOs

The government intends to inform Congress within 90 days of efforts to develop an improved collection strategy and the technical roadmap to develop technologies to better monitor the phenomenon, senior government officials told reporters on Friday. Officials said they would also provide regular updates to lawmakers.

The Pentagon and intelligence agencies have avoided the term UFO and instead refer to UAP, or unidentified aerial phenomena. It was a minor renaming to both lessen public buzz and remove the stigma UFOs can carry to encourage pilots to report their observations and scientists to study them.

The new report set out five categories of possible explanations for the phenomena: a secret technology developed by an opposing power like Russia and China, classified American cutting-edge technology, a naturally occurring phenomenon, clutter in the air like faulty weather balloons and a catchall. other “category. This last group could include extraterrestrial technology.

Of the episodes examined by the task force, however, only one could be identified and categorized: “a large, deflating balloon”, which was classified as airborne waste.

Officials have no evidence that the unsolved incidents show objects that are part of a foreign intelligence program or any significant technological advancement by a potential adversary, a senior government official said. Nor can they confirm that any of these incidents are part of a U.S. government or defense industry program, a senior official said.

Still, the report does not completely rule out a Russian or Chinese airplane or an American secret program.

The report was released under a provision that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, inserted into a huge spending bill passed by Congress.

“The Department of Defense and the intelligence community have a long way to go before we can truly understand whether these airborne threats pose a serious national security problem,” said Rubio.

Of the incidents investigated by the task force, there is “no clear evidence that there is a non-terrestrial explanation,” a senior official said, adding that the government “is where the data will take us” during the investigation would continue.

The report avoids any real discussion of the possibility that the unexplained phenomena are extraterrestrial in nature. It is not the purpose of the government task force to search for extraterrestrial life, a responsibility that falls to NASA, said a senior government official.

Perhaps as a result of this, government officials said that in the future they would only focus on observing the phenomena and have no plans to try to communicate with the objects.

Most of the episodes investigated by the government were reported by the Navy. While the Air Force has tried to distance itself from collecting UFO reports for the past few decades, it has embarked on a new data-collection program in 2020 that is uncomfortable with its own history.

Government officials said further examination of the 21 reports showing unusual accelerations or movements could turn out to be normal explanations. Government analysts have been examining the cameras and sensors that recorded the phenomenon for potential errors, a senior government official said.

The camera sensors that recorded some of the episodes were “generally unsuitable for identifying unknown phenomena,” the report said.

There are plausible but dry explanations for each of the Navy shots that are more likely than some extraordinary technology, said Mick West, a science writer who focuses on debunking conspiracy theories.

In a video, sharp movement of the object could be due to a shift in camera movement. In another case, it is shown that an object that appears to be moving fast is actually moving much more slowly when a relevant trigonometric calculation is applied. An image of a rapidly spinning object sliding above the clouds is caused by infrared glare, Mr West said.

The report appeared to give at least a partial vote of confidence in Mr West’s statements, stating that the angle of view of sensors collecting images or other data is important in determining whether an object “demonstrates breakthrough aerospace capabilities” .

“You don’t make great demands; They say that some of the things they see are behaving abnormally and that more study is needed, ”said Mr West. “Obviously they’re not saying they’re aliens – they’re not going anywhere near that.”

Later on Friday, the Pentagon announced that it would develop methods of collecting data and analyzing reports of unidentified phenomena, and adding staff and other resources to investigate the episodes.

The effort may require some outside expertise, but scientists who have long avoided studying UFOs will likely need to be persuaded.

“Nobody wants to risk being fired by the true believers or ostracized by their peers,” said Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona. “If the Pentagon or the government asked for scientific input and gave them some data and some resources, people would get involved.”