UFOs are about to make their way to the U.S. Senate. Here's what to know.

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 weeks ago  •  30 comments

By:   Denise Chow and Gadi Schwartz

UFOs are about to make their way to the U.S. Senate. Here's what to know.
U.S. intelligence agencies are expected to deliver a report on "unidentified aerial phenomena" to Congress next month, sparking renewed interest in UFOs.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



U.S. intelligence agencies are expected to deliver a report on "unidentified aerial phenomena" to Congress next month, sparking renewed interest and speculation into how the government has handled sightings of mysterious flying objects — and if there's any worldly explanation for them.

The unclassified report, compiled by the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense, aims to make public what the Pentagon knows about unidentified flying objects and data analyzed from such encounters.

While UFOs have been part of American mythology for decades, this report is different. Legitimate debates over UFO sightings have gained traction in recent years after several leaked photos and videos from the U.S. Navy appeared to show mysterious flying objects in American airspace.

Last year, the Pentagon declassified three such videos captured by Navy pilots, intensifying speculation over the incidents, which have been confirmed by pilots who have observed them and even presidents who have been briefed on them.

Here's how UFO sightings jumped from the realm of science fiction to the halls of Congress.

What do we know so far?


In August, the Department of Defense established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to investigate and "gain insight" into the "nature and origins" of unidentified flying objects. Earlier that year, the Department of Defense declassified three videos taken by Navy pilots — one from 2004 and two from 2015 — that showed mysterious objects flying at high speeds across the sky.

"The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as 'unidentified,'" Pentagon officials said in a statement at the time.

The three videos had leaked years earlier, but Pentagon officials said they declassified the footage 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."

A separate leaked Navy video, captured in July 2019, showed a sphere-shaped unidentified object flying over water near San Diego. The footage, obtained by a documentary filmmaker and shared with NBC News, appeared to show the mysterious object flying for a few minutes before disappearing into the water.

obama_ufo.jpg

Obama questioned on existence of aliens during Late Late Show interview


And on Sunday, two former Navy pilots were interviewed by "60 Minutes" on CBS News about a UFO sighting over the Pacific Ocean in 2004. Cmdr. Dave Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich spotted the unidentified object during a training exercise but were unable to classify it. Fravor described it as a "little white Tic-Tac-looking object," adding that it lacked conventional exhaust plumes and had no wings or visible markings.

It also moved erratically, the pilots said.

In an interview with NBC News that aired in February, Fravor described the 2004 encounter, calling the object "the strangest, most obscure thing I've ever seen flying."

"As soon as we looked down, we see the whitewater, and then we see this little white Tic Tac," Fravor told NBC's "The Overview." "It's pointing north-south and it's just going forward, back, left, right," he said, adding that it was bouncing around "like a ping-pong ball."

Fravor said he approached the mysterious object to take a closer look, and it began mirroring his movements. When the pilot got to within a half-mile of the UFO, it suddenly vanished, he said.

When did this all start?


Interest in UFO sightings, particularly by the military, is not new.

In 2007, the U.S. Defense Department quietly established the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was designed to investigate UFO sightings. The secret $22 million initiative was shut down in 2012, and its existence was acknowledged for the first time in December 2017, following a report about the program published by The New York Times. The Times reported that the program's initial funding came largely at the request of former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

In 2019, the Navy put together new guidelines for pilots to report "unidentified aircraft," in a bid to formalize a process to investigate these types of mysterious sightings. The updated guidance came as a response to "a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," Navy officials told Politico in a statement at the time.

An unidentified aerial phenomenon in a U.S. military video.DoD via To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science

What is a UFO?


While UFOs are often synonymous with "aliens" in pop culture, the designation is not necessarily about extraterrestrials. An unidentified flying object is simply any object that can't be classified as a known aircraft.

Several of the UFO sightings reported by Navy pilots were of unusually shaped objects that flew at high velocities, often maneuvering around in ways that baffled aeronautics experts and with no visible propulsion.

But aliens aside, the Pentagon has been interested in UFOs because they could pose threats to national security. Lt. Ryan Graves, a former Navy pilot, told "60 Minutes" that pilots on training flights have seen unexplained phenomena "every day for at least a couple years."

"I am worried, frankly," Graves said in the "60 Minutes" interview. "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."

Whether the UFO sightings are the result of advanced technology from foreign adversaries or if they have more bizarre, otherworldly origins, government officials need to have the facts, said Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer and the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

"They have the responsibility to always act in a manner that is in the best interest of the United States and the American people," Elizondo told NBC News. "This topic is no different than any other national security issue, and we must remain diligent, deliberate and discerning."

Why is this happening now?


The report that will be delivered to Congress in June is the result of a provision in the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and appropriations bill that President Donald Trump signed last year. The stipulation called for a "detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence" from the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the FBI.

Some senators are pushing other lawmakers and government officials to do more to investigate encounters with mysterious flying objects.

"I want us to take it seriously and have a process to take it seriously," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told "60 Minutes."

Rubio's comments add support to other calls to treat possible UFO sightings with legitimacy rather than as fringe beliefs, a recent shift that was the subject of a feature story in The New Yorker titled "How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously."

Christopher Mellon, a top defense official who served in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said more needs to be done, adding that the process for reporting UFO sightings should be destigmatized.

"My hope is that this administration will provide our military people the support they deserve," Mellon told NBC News. "On this issue, that means determining ASAP what threat if any is posed by the unidentified vehicles that are brazenly and repeatedly violating restricted U.S. airspace over hovering around our warships. Our people are naturally and rightly concerned and almost nothing has been done to address their concerns."


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Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1  Trout Giggles    4 weeks ago

Ever see a "UAP"?

I have. Twice

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Trout Giggles @1    4 weeks ago

Does that mean you had a double?          Sorry.... couldn't resist.

I'm with Hawking's on this one.....  Just look at what we "superior life-forms" do to, what we consider inferior, or lessor creatures on this rock.     

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1    4 weeks ago

I saw one when I was about 8 years old and my dad saw it, too. My dad used to see a lot of strange shit early in the morning when he went out to the pasture to round up the cows for morning milking. Then I saw another one when I was out on a date one night.

I'm with Hawking, too. I don't trust anything from outside our own atmosphere

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.1    4 weeks ago

I was with a girlfriend parked on a dirt road in broad daylight in the middle of nowhere back in the 70's. we were getting ready to smoke a joint when all of a sudden it sounded like a huey helicopter was going to land on top of us. it was so loud we were yelling to hear each other. I got out to look for it and the next thing I knew I was sitting back in the drivers seat, it was almost an hour later on my watch, we couldn't find the joint, and my girlfriend had no recollection of me getting out of or back in the car.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @1.1.2    4 weeks ago

The aliens took your joint???? Those bastards!

I told you they couldn't be trusted!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    4 weeks ago

Reminds me of Bigfoot stealing Victoria's weed

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.5  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    4 weeks ago

my best friend's brother had an experience while alone on a back-country fishing/pack trip about 40 years ago that fucked his head up for a few decades. that area is now notorious in colorado for sightings. he was an artist and drew some pictures in his private journal afterwards of the experience that raised the hair on the back of my neck. his brother showed me the journal when I was inquiring about brother's abrupt change in mental health, since he was considered the most stable in our group. I've known him for 50 years and he's never spoken to anyone about the experience, except to his brother my bff, who is now dead.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.6  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    4 weeks ago

that had to be like '74 or '75 when I was smoking the real columbian 2 hit cough up a lung shit. so if they did smoke that joint, they were either flying by mars before they came down or pancaked their saucer into a crater on the dark side of the moon.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1.1.7  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    4 weeks ago

Those insensitive pricks!  Bogarting your joint that way!!!!!

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1.1.9  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @1.1.2    4 weeks ago

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
1.2  cjcold  replied to  Trout Giggles @1    4 weeks ago

Saw a UFO once at close range. Pulled my.45 and the thingy immediately launched and took evasive action. Never saw anything move that fast. No sound whatsoever!

It instantly turned from a black ball on the ground into a very intense white light (the whole thing). 

Had to put an arm in front of my eyes to keep from being blinded

Was scared shitless but at least I didn't get the anal probe.

Owe my life (and possible probing agony) to a Colt Combat Commander.

 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
2  Hallux    4 weeks ago

There are no lack of UFO pilots in Congress, they should list it as a homecoming.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
2.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Hallux @2    4 weeks ago

Is there any hope that the mothership will come to take them all home?

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
2.1.1  cjcold  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1    4 weeks ago

Guess you should ask Tom Cruise  or John Travolta. 

I'm sure that Scientology has an answer. /s

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
3  Bob Nelson    4 weeks ago

"We come to serve Man", they said.

They showed us a book entitled "Serving Man".

It took some time to realize that it was a cookbook.

(Apologies to Damon Knight.)

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
3.1  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @3    4 weeks ago
It took some time to realize that it was a cookbook.

A classic episode with a classic twist.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
3.1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1    4 weeks ago

th?id=OIP.GlHTUzTxaT1PHwaSDv9MPwHaJq&w=130&h=170&rs=1&qlt=80&o=6&pid=3.1

To   Serve   Man  " is episode 89 (#24 Season 3) of the anthology series The  Twilight   Zone  (1959). It originally aired on March 2, 1962 on CBS. Based on  Damon Knight  's 1950 short story of the same title, the episode was written by  Rod Serling  and directed by Richard L. Bare.

As you say.... a classic!

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Gordy327  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.1    4 weeks ago

One of the best episodes too.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.1.1    4 weeks ago

One of my favourite Twilight Zone episodes - I can still remember the punch that the totally unexpected revelation at the end had. 

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
3.1.4  cjcold  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1    4 weeks ago

Don Johnson and the telepathic dog ate that girl!

Doesn't anybody even care besides me?!?!?!?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Bob Nelson @3    4 weeks ago

"The recollections of one Michael Chambers with appropriate flashbacks and soliloquy. Or more simply stated, the evolution of man, the cycle of going from dust to dessert, the metamorphosis from being the ruler of a planet to an ingredient in someone’s soup. It’s tonight’s bill of fare … on the Twilight Zone"......Rod Serling

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2    4 weeks ago

I don't think I ever saw the Twilight Zone episode. I remember the novella.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
3.2.2  cjcold  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.2.1    4 weeks ago

Hint; Don't bet on how many times your Zippo will light.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
4  gooseisgone    4 weeks ago

I personally have never experienced a UFO but, they obviously exist. 

Bigger question, are they Man Made or Alien?  

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
4.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  gooseisgone @4    4 weeks ago

illegal aliens

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
4.2  cjcold  replied to  gooseisgone @4    4 weeks ago

There are many 'aircraft' at Edwards that will never see the light of day.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5  Buzz of the Orient    4 weeks ago

But where are Klaatu and Gort when the world needs them more than ever?

thumb-1920-578343.jpg

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
5.1  evilgenius  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5    4 weeks ago

Klaatu barada nikto!

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
6  cjcold    4 weeks ago

The aliens land in the city park.

They get out of their craft to explore.

They see a gas station across the street.

One of the aliens crosses the street to make contact.

The alien walks up to a gas pump and says "take me to your leader".

The gas pump does not respond.

The alien thinking that the gas pump just didn't hear him speaks louder.

"Please sir take me to your leader".

The gas pump still does not respond.

The alien (being of short temper) pulls his ray gun and points it at the gas pump.

Sir take me to your leader or I will be forced to zap you!

The gas pump remains stoic.

The alien zaps the gas pump and the gas station bursts into flames.

The aliens across the street are rather taken aback by this calamity.

One alien turns to the other and says

"I figured he might be dangerous what with him standing there with his dick in his ear".

 

 

 
 
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