U.S. intelligence officials have found no evidence that dozens of unidentified aerial phenomena documented by Navy pilots are alien spacecraft, according to details from an upcoming government report published by The New York Times.
Despite the findings, the long-awaited report doesn’t explain decades of unusual sightings in American airspace and doesn’t firmly discount the theory that they might be alien in nature. The Times, citing people familiar with the findings, said officials concluded the unidentified objects are not linked to the U.S. military or advanced technology being tested by the American government, a conclusion that will likely throw cold water on the hypothesis that the phenomena were actually secret research programs.
But officials said some of the phenomena could be linked to secret, experimental technology being tested by political rivals, such as Russia or China, and are possibly hypersonic devices.
An unclassified version is expected to be released to Congress by June 25, although it will contain a classified annex, the Times added. But officials familiar with the full document said many questions remain and that investigators found 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 past 20 years and heavily focuses on how difficult it still is to understand the objects, which pilots said can accelerate or change direction in unexplainable ways.
The effort to document the findings began in 2007 when then-Senate Majority Leader 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 testing site for the Air Force 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 technical advancement,” Reid wrote in the Times last month. “Which is why, along with Senators [Ted] Stevens and [Daniel] Inouye, I helped create that secret Pentagon program in 2007.”
The initial effort languished after about five years but was relaunched last year as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force after President Donald Trump signed a budget package that included a request for the top officials to craft an unclassified report on unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The task force is led by the Pentagon’s Department of the Navy and centers on Navy pilot sightings in recent years.
President Barack Obama added fuel to the country’s resurgence in UFO frenzy during an appearance on “The Late Late Show” last month, telling host James Corden that there is “footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are.’’