Considering the total domination of another dystopian news story over our lives, let’s recap the recent progress of those wishing to uncover the depth of the government’s understanding of unidentified flying objects. In December 2017, the New York Times reported on the Defense Department’s founding in 2007 of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program; championed by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it investigated military accounts of UFOs for at least five years. Two years later, an attempt to destigmatize the reporting of unidentified contact in the military, the Navy announced it was “updating and formalizing the process” by which pilots come forward with UFO sightings. A month later, another surge of public interest followed a Times report in which one Navy pilot described seeing Tic Tac-shaped UFOs off the coast of the Southeast United States almost every day. Lawmakers were also intrigued: Politico reported in June 2019 that representatives and their staff were “coming out of the woodwork” to obtain classified information about UFOs.
In this spirit of more formally acknowledging the potential of extraterrestrial encounters, the Pentagon on Monday officially released three unclassified videos that were already available to the public in some form. According to a Defense Department spokeswoman, one of the videos was recorded in 2004 and the other two in 2015; the videos were first leaked in 2007 and 2017, respectively, and the Navy had already verified their authenticity.
“DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough said on Monday. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.’” Gough added that the “unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena,” which is just as well for the Pentagon, considering that one of the videos has been public for 13 years.
The above segment is a snippet from one of the two videos from 2015 released by the New York Times last year, in which Navy pilots reported that they were frequently seeing objects off the Eastern seaboard which had no engine or exhaust plumes, but could reach hypersonic speeds and turn and stop instantly. “Speed doesn’t kill you,” Lieutenant Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot said, of the potential that the aircraft was unmanned. “Stopping does. Or acceleration.”
The 2004 video from two Navy fighter planes shows a 40-foot, oval-shaped craft appearing suddenly at 80,000 feet, then diving to 20,000 feet and hovering. “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Commander David Fravor told the Times in 2017. “It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s … I want to fly one.”