When scary things appear in the sky, Witnesses are often reluctant to report them for fear of being ridiculed by others, especially in the government halls.
Fewer people laugh these days.
Unidentified flying objects, or as the government calls them, have been taken more seriously by US officials in recent years, beginning in 2007 with a small, clandestinely funded program that examined reports of military encounters.
The program, first reported in December 2017 by the New York Times, was revived last summer by the Department of Defense as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. The department said the task force’s mission is to “discover, analyze and catalog” sightings of strange objects in the sky that “could potentially pose a threat to US national security.” Service members were re-encouraged to speak up when they saw something, with the idea that removing the stigma behind reporting something strange would give authorities a better idea of what is out there.
Then, late last year, President Donald J. Trump signed a $ 2.3 trillion grant package that included a legislative-inserted provision asking the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to submit an unclassified report on it submit what the government knows about UFOs. This report is due this month.
A drumbeat from U.F.O. Attention
As the public continues to ask questions about UFOs, it seems that more officials are ready to answer them.
“There are a lot more sightings than have been published,” said John Ratcliffe, former director of the National Intelligence Service. said Fox News March. Quite a few of them, he said, “are difficult to explain”.
John Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., said in a podcast last year that some of the inexplicable sightings “could be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something we do not yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say is a different form of life “.
The lead-up to the expected release of the report has received a lot of mainstream media attention in recent weeks, including a 13,000-word article in the New Yorker in April and a segment on CBS “60 Minutes”.
Even former President Barack ObamaIn an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden last month, he admitted that there were “objects in the sky that we don’t know exactly what they are.” (President Biden a question about U.F.O.s rejected a few days later.)
How it all began in 1947
The first thing you need to know is that “U.F.O.” does not automatically mean “foreign”. As the name suggests, U.F.O. refers to any air phenomenon with no immediate explanation. Although reported sightings are common around the world, the vast majority turn out to be things like stars, Satellites, Planes, drones, weather balloons, birds or bats.
The modern history of the U.F.O. Sightings are generally considered to have started on June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot from Idaho, reported seeing nine circular objects moving at supersonic speeds near Mount Rainier. Newspapers described them as “flying saucers,” a term that sparked popular imaginations. Although Mr. Arnold appeared to be a credible witness, government officials were skeptical.
Nonetheless, the government began a secret study called Project Sign, fearing that such objects might be advanced Soviet weapons. This was followed by the Blue Book project, which examined around 12,000 cases from 1952 to 1969, 701 of which could not be explained. It ended with a report that said UFOs were not worth further study. As far as publicly known, there was no official government effort to investigate UFOs until the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program launched in 2007.
Sightings of unidentified objects in the United States increased during the coronavirus pandemic as people who spent long days at home turned to gaze at the sky. According to the National U.F.O. the reports rose by about 15 percent to more than 7,200 in the past year. Reporting center. As in other years, almost everyone had earthly explanations, the center said.
What things do people report?
In November 2004, two Navy fighter jets were launched from the U.S.S. Nimitz was off the coast of San Diego when they came across a whitish, oval ship of similar size floating over the sea, moving in unusual ways. As one of the jets began a circular descent to take a closer look, the object – which had no wings or apparent propulsion system – rose toward it and whizzed away.
“It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Cmdr. David Fravor, one of the pilots, told the Times in 2017.
Commander Fravor told another pilot that night that he had no idea what he had seen: “It had no feathers, wings, or rotors, and it had escaped our F-18.”
But he added, “I want to fly one.”
Other cases include a spinning disk hovering over Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in 2006 and two “sunlight-colored” objects reported as being by a professional pilot in England in 2007 The New Yorker reported.
A video of the Nimitz incident along with two from 2015 were officially released by the Ministry of Defense last year. Recently, the department confirmed that video and pictures leaked to a documentary filmmaker was captured by Navy personnel in 2019 and was investigated by the task force.
What will the report say?
It can’t say much.
As provided in the appropriations package, the report should include a detailed analysis of the U.F.O. Data held by the Task Force and other government agencies. The report is also designed to flag any unidentified aerial phenomena that might be viewed as a threat to national security, including whether they can be “attributed to one or more foreign adversaries”. In addition, there must be “a detailed description of an inter-agency process” for the collection and analysis of U.F.O. Future reports and recommendations to improve and finance data collection and research.
Although the report is intended to be published, it can also have a classified information attachment.
Who is pushing for more information?
In Washington the call for transparency is growing, also from a bipartisan side Political Action Committee that started last month.
An important supporter of U.F.O. Research efforts included Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senator from Nevada who, as the Senate Majority Leader, secured $ 22 million in funding for the 2007 program.
In an essay for the Times earlier this month, Mr Reid said he has had an interest in UFOs since attending a conference in 1996 (to the dismay of his staff who told him the hell to stay off the subject). He said the program was necessary because “an unofficial taboo on open discussion about encounters could affect our national security and hinder the opportunities for technological progress”.
There is support for U.F.O. Researching current senators including Marco Rubio, Florida Republican who added the language to the funding package requesting the government report.
Mr Rubio told 60 Minutes that there should be a process where reports of UFOs are “cataloged and constantly analyzed until we get some answers”.
“Maybe it has a simple answer,” he said on the broadcast. “Maybe not.”