All you need to know about the upcoming congressional UFO report
The elite of the intelligence and military officials are due to issue a report any day now (should be until the end of the month) shedding more light on unidentified flying objects spotted on United States territory and air. The work, commissioned by Congress, gathered a lot of popularity as law-representatives, and generally, everyone is guessing about what it might contain. Initially, the report was due to be published on June 1, however, it’s not binding for the law directing intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to bring it into existence at all. That’s why they’re taking their time to publish the work and we really can’t do anything about it, unfortunately.
UFOs usually go hand in hand with aliens in our minds, and especially in pop culture. Nevertheless, the people who research this mystery believe that UFOs should be associated with what they truly are, their actual name ‒ unidentified flying objects. More often than not, what we think is a UFO might turn out to be a weather balloon or maybe a drone. There are cases, however, when what we see can’t necessarily be explained.
The upcoming report has become even more popular since, back at the end of May, a moviemaker posted a 46-second clip portraying radar footage, which he insists shows a couple of objects flying close to a Navy ship off the coast of San Diego. Jeremy Corbell (the moviemaker/UFO enthusiast, who made the 2018 documentary ‘‘Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers’’) said the footage showed a ‘‘significant UFO event series’’. He mentioned the clip was taken from the USS Omaha back in the summer of 2019. At one point, an unidentified man is heard saying: ‘‘Holy shit! They’re moving fast. … They’re turning around.’’ This also isn’t the first instance when the moviemaker has caught UFOs on video and posted them online. There is an 18-second-long video he posted, where we saw three UFOs flying above the USS Russell in 2019. Today, in 2021, the clip’s authenticity has been verified by the Navy.
Even though the announcement about the report indicates an increasing consensus within government agencies, Capitol Hill, and the public that UFOs are something people are worried about, we’re still not sure about just how much from the report will be made available, because there’s the problem of national security considerations. What we do know for sure, however, is that once the report is out, it will be a subject of a lot of discussion and investigation, inciting people to hypothesize even more about everything flying on United States air.
What can we expect to see/read in the report?
We’ve been fascinated with the sightings of UFOs for so long. What the report from the federal agencies will probably uncover is that there has been a lot of curiosity towards UFOs demonstrated by government agencies too.
Back in March, while giving an interview for Fox News, John Ratcliffe (previous President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence) declared that the intelligence communities did indeed know about many instances of ‘‘unidentified aerial phenomena’’, which have been spotted ‘‘all over the world’’. He added that ‘‘Some of those have been declassified,’’ as well as: ‘‘And when we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for. Or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.’’
We can expect from the report to shed more light on the New York Times report from 2017, stating that many Navy pilots had spotted UFOs while in flight. Afterward, the Pentagon declassified a clip of these instances, where we could see high-speed objects surpassing the officers’ jets. Even though the pilots were shocked by the contours of the aircraft (often referred to as Tic-Tac or cigar-shaped), more disturbing were the high velocities and immediate stops, with no apparent propulsion systems identified.
Additionally, the upcoming report may provide us with more information regarding the findings by the Pentagon UFO tracking program (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, established with the help of former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid back in 2007).
There’s not a lot of clarity about what else we’ll see in the report. A lot of parts from it could also potentially be edited for national security concerns and it’s guaranteed that this would anger some lawmakers and all dedicated UFO spotters.
How was the UFO report established?
Lawmakers incorporated a directive for the UFO report in the December $2.3 billion omnibus spending and coronavirus-relief package. And then everything was set in motion.
The Office of Naval Intelligence, the FBI, and the Defense Department’s recently established Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force were then legally obligated to gather all existing information on UFO sightings that can’t be explained in any other logical way than an unidentified object. The institutions were given six months to produce the report, which had to also consist of ‘‘a detailed description of an interagency process’’ for how such data will be gathered and examined in the future, and propositions for further UFO research and funding.
In a lot of the instances, however, what people claim to be a UFO turns out to be a potential weather incident, routine natural happenings, or perfectly logical weather balloon/a failure in the sensor systems and cameras.
Naturally, officials have warned that the analysts didn’t simply decide right away that aliens were to blame for these instances. Rather, the Pentagon and intelligence officials are mainly worried that the objects are next-generation tech, which comes from America’s competitor (e.g., China) and could eventually become a national security issue.
Even the legal directives, which required the realization of the report, suggest that this might indeed be what this is about. Members of Congress mentioned that ‘‘a potential adversary may have achieved breakthrough aerospace capabilities that could put United States strategic or conventional forces at risk’’.
Back in May, in an interview for CBS’s 60 Minutes, Former Navy pilot Lieutenant Ryan Graves stated: ‘‘You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue. But because it looks slightly different, we’re not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We’re happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.’’
What’s going to happen once the report is out?
The report could be delivered to Congress any day now and no matter, this will be the most significant U.S. government account of UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) ever made public.
Back in the very beginning of June, the New York Times revealed that senior administration officials, who were briefed on the UAP report, had established no proof that the objects (sighted by Navy pilots over the last 10 years) are not of this Earth. Yet, the Times claims that intelligence officials ‘‘still cannot explain the unusual movements that have mystified scientists and the military.’’
As stated by the Times, the report additionally concludes that the ‘‘vast majority’’ of 120 incidents investigated did not involve U.S. military or government technology, which seems to ‘‘eliminate the possibility that Navy pilots who reported seeing unexplained aircraft might have encountered programs the government meant to keep secret.’’ Sadly, for the people finger-crossing that the report will uncover a lot of new info, the ruling out of U.S. technology ‘‘is about the only conclusive finding in the classified intelligence report.’’ A senior official briefed on the intelligence shared with the Times that the U.S. officials knew the technology was not American ‘‘without hesitation’’.
Whatever we see/read in the report, we will probably not stop discussing these problems soon. Before the report is out, lawmakers are trying to convince us to look at the problem seriously from now on.
Sen. Marco Rubio (ranking member and former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee) shared with ‘60 Minutes’: ‘‘I want us to take it seriously and have a process to take it seriously. Maybe it has a very simple answer … Maybe it doesn’t.’’ He also mentioned that a lot of his Senate colleagues appear ‘‘very interested in this topic and some kinda, you know, giggle when you bring it up.’’ The Senator, nevertheless, doesn’t consider this a joke, saying: ‘‘I don’t think we can allow the stigma to keep us from having an answer to a very fundamental question.’’
The White House also expressed an opinion regarding the report’s suggestions but was adamant to point out that it will not meddle with the independent review system. At the end of May, at a press briefing, Jen Psaki (White House press secretary) shared: ‘‘Our team at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is, of course, actively working on that report. And we take reports of incursions into our airspace by any aircraft identified or unidentified very seriously and investigate each one.’’
A few of the government officials, however, appear to be doubtful about the report and also about an expansive pressure towards the military and intelligence communities to inspect UFOs, as reported by a New Yorker profile of the frictions inside the Pentagon. Some view these problems as a sure way to spend a lot on not-so-needed undertakings.
Unease inside government agencies, nevertheless, really isn’t weakening the momentum of the problem, and legislators, previous presidents, and military officials are all beginning to express their curiosity on the subject.
Back in May, in a New York Times op-ed, Reid (former Senate Democratic leader) mentioned that: ‘‘Until recently, many military pilots feared the possibility of retribution for reporting sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena. But I believed that an unofficial taboo regarding the frank discussion of encounters could harm our national security and stymie opportunities for technical advancement.’’ He also added: ‘‘I believe that there is information uncovered by the government’s covert investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena that can be disclosed to the public without harming our national security. The American people deserve to know more ‒ and hopefully, they will soon.’’.
When is the report going to be out?
The legislation signed by President Trump on December 27 stated intelligence officials should be ready with the report in the next 180 days, which means around the end of June. However, according to the Washington Post, it’s possible that the due date isn’t kept.
Two aspects may push the report’s due date back. Agencies have missed comparable congressional reporting due dates before and the provision isn’t technically binding, as the language was incorporated in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the bill, not the bill itself.
One senior Senate (who knows his legislation) explained: ‘‘In other words, it isn’t statute, but the agencies/departments generally treat report language as bill language.’’
Because the Senate Intelligence Committee requested an unclassified analysis, the report should at some point be accessible for all Americans to check out. (A representative for committee chairman Mark Warner’s office couldn’t comment on how long the delay might be between the report’s delivery to the Committee and its release to us.) Nevertheless, the legislation claims that the report ‘‘may include a classified annex’’ which could anger amateur UFO fans.
Regardless of whether you’re a skeptic and don’t believe in aliens or whether you do indeed think they insist, the report is a huge step forward.
In a recent piece for the New Yorker, which dived into the history of the movements attempting to make people see UFOs in a serious way, former Pentagon official commented on the skepticism, saying that we don’t know the full story and that ‘‘There’s data he will never see ‒ there’s much more that I would include in a classified environment.’’ (Naturally, this argument isn’t what those of us with no access to classified UFO data expect.)
President Joe Biden has managed to avoid sharing his opinion about unidentified aerial phenomena. At the end of May, at a press conference, a reporter asked the president ‘‘President Obama says there is footage and records of objects in the sky … and he says we don’t know exactly what they are ‒ what do you think?’’ Biden simply said ‘‘I would ask him again,’’ then smiled and left.
Since leaving office, on the other hand, Barack Obama has shown us that he is indeed curious about the subject. Days before the question to the current president, Obama was on The Late Late Show With James Corden, where Reggie Watts (the show’s music director) asked what Barack thought about the paranormal. Obama answered that ‘‘When it comes to aliens, there are some things I just can’t tell you on-air,’’ and added: ‘‘Look, the truth is, when I came into office, I asked ‘Is there the lab somewhere we’re keeping the alien specimens and spaceship?’ They did a little bit of research and the answer was no. But what is true ‒ and I’m actually being serious ‒ is that there’s footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are. We can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory, they did not have an easily explainable pattern. I think that people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what that is. But I have nothing to report to you today.’’
Donald Trump, however, never appeared to think much of UFOs while he was president. There were only a few times when he shared his thoughts about this and said that he’d ‘‘take a good, strong look’’ at the matter and told George Stephanopoulos that if there was any proof of the existence of aliens ‘‘you’ll be the first to know’’.
Last month Luis Elizondo (a former US counter-intelligence agent) shared with ABC News that some of the objects that have been sighted ‘‘can outperform anything that we have in our inventory.’’
The report doesn’t confirm or rule out alien activity but it’s safe to say everyone will be curious to read it when it does come out. The report may simply unravel more questions (like Reid’s involvement) than it will provide answers but at least it’s a step toward being transparent.