According to details from an upcoming government report published by The New York
Times, US intelligence officials have found no evidence that dozens of unidentified aerial phenomena photographed by Navy pilots
are alien spacecraft.
Despite the findings, the long-awaited report does not explain decades of unusual sightings in American airspace and does not definitively dismiss the theory that they are alien in nature
, according to the Times, citing people
familiar with the findings.
Officials, however, believe that some of the phenomena could be linked to secret, experimental technology being tested by political rivals such as Russia
, and that they could be hypersonic devices.
An unclassified version is expected to be released to Congress
by June 25, though it will include a classified annex, according to the Times. However, officials familiar with the full document said many questions remain and investigators discovered few solid conclusions to explain pilots' accounts of objects, some of which are said to spin like a top 30,000 feet in the air.
The report includes details from more than 120 incidents documented by Navy pilots over the last 20 years, and it emphasizes how difficult it is to understand the objects, which pilots say can accelerate or change direction in unexplainable ways.
The effort to document the findings began in 2007, when then-Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose state includes Area 51, requested $22 million for the Pentagon
to secretly investigate the objects. (Area 51 is a top-secret Air Force testing site that has long been associated with UFO conspiracy theories.)
“I believed that an unofficial taboo regarding the frank discussion of encounters could harm our national security
and stymie opportunities for technological advancement,” Reid wrote in the New York Times last month. “That is why, along with Senators [Ted] Stevens and [Daniel] Inouye, I helped create that secret Pentagon program in 2007.”
The initial effort stalled after about five years, but it was relaunched last year as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force after President Donald Trump
signed a budget package that included a request for top officials to craft an unclassified report on unidentified flying objects
). The task force is led by the Pentagon's Department of the Navy and focuses on Navy pilot sightings of UFOs.
During an appearance on "The Late Late Show" last month, President Barack Obama
fueled the country's resurgence in UFO mania by telling host James Corden that there is "footage and records of objects in the skies that we don't know exactly what they are."
During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden
,” former President Barack Obama was asked about UFOs. https://t.co/ImHhI0go2S
pic.twitter.com/wFVysjXLNg — CNN
(@CNN) May 19, 2021