WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. government has found no evidence that unidentified aerial phenomena spotted by military pilots were alien spacecraft but cannot give a definitive explanation of the sightings, according to two officials briefed on an intelligence report examining the issue.
The report due to Congress later this month examines multiple unexplained sightings from recent years that in some cases have been captured on video of pilots exclaiming about objects flying in front of them.
The two people briefed on the report told The Associated Press, it found no proof of an extraterrestrial link and does not rule out what pilots may have seen as new technologies developed by other countries. One of the officials said there is no indication that the unexplained phenomena are from secret U.S. programs.
A swarm of unknown objects surrounded multiple Navy warships, including the USS Omaha, off the coast of San Diego in July 2019. NewsNation affiliate Mystery Wire obtained video taken on board the USS Omaha, a littoral combat ship, that showed what has been described as a transmedium vehicle (that is, a vehicle capable of traveling through both air and water) moving, hovering, and disappearing into the Pacific Ocean.
Many of the 120-plus sightings reviewed in the classified intelligence study from a Pentagon task force were reported by U.S. Navy personnel, while some involved foreign militaries.
The two officials that spoke with the AP were not authorized to discuss the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Findings of the report were first published Thursday by The New York Times.
The expected public release of an unclassified version of the report this month will amount to a status report, not the final word, according to one official.
Congress in December required the Director of National Intelligence to summarize and report on the U.S. government’s knowledge of unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs — better known to the public as “unidentified flying objects” or UFOs. The effort has included officials on a Defense Department UAP task force established last year.
Led by the Navy, the task force was established last year to “improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAP incursions into our training ranges and designated airspace,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough told Reuters.
Responding to Reuters’ questions about the task force report, Gough said in an email earlier on Thursday: “We do not publicly discuss the details of the UAP observations, the task force or examinations.”
Gough said the Pentagon’s UAP task force is “actively working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on the report, and DNI will provide the findings to Congress” according to AP.
The Pentagon and CIA have for decades looked into reports of aircraft or other objects in the sky flying at inexplicable speeds or trajectories.
The U.S. government takes unidentified aerial phenomena seriously given the potential national security risk of an adversary flying novel technology over a military base or another sensitive site, or the prospect of Russian or Chinese development exceeding current U.S. capabilities. It also is seen by the U.S. military as a security and safety issue, given that in many cases the pilots who reported seeing unexplained aerial phenomena were conducting combat training flights.
Public fascination with unidentified flying objects has been stoked in recent weeks by the forthcoming report, with UFO enthusiasts anticipating revelations about unexplained sightings many believe the government has sought to discredit or cover up for decades.
The report’s lack of firm conclusions will likely disappoint people excited at the prospect of aliens having reached humankind.
But skeptics caution that the videos and reported sightings have plausible Earth-bound explanations. Mick West, an author, investigator, and longtime skeptic of UFO sightings, said he supported the military looking into any possible incursion of U.S. airspace, especially by an adversary.
“People are conflating this issue with the idea that these UFOs demonstrate amazing physics and possibly even aliens,” West said. He added, “The idea that this is some kind of secret warp drive or it’s defying physics as we know it, there really isn’t any good evidence for that.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this article: Reporting by Steve Gorman/Reuters and Will Dunham/Reuters; Robert Burns/AP and Nomaan Merchant/AP.