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Why does the Pentagon report raise new questions about UFO sightings?

Is there evidence that there are aliens? The long-awaited report presented to Congress by the United States intelligence community on Friday, June 25, did not offer an answer to that question. Why?

The report states that there is no explanation for the dozens of sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) reported by military pilots, but does not rule out the possibility of their extraterrestrial origin.

Phenomena of seeing unexplained phenomena in the sky are defined by the term – unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), more commonly known as UFO – unidentified flying object.

These observations could be the result of sensor errors, deception, or observer misperceptions and require further thorough analysis,” the report said.

What did the report do?

The report has dealt with 144 testimonies of military pilots since 2004 and all but one remain unclear. It was made after the request of the Congress, after the American army reported numerous incidents with objects that move unpredictably in the sky. In August 2020, the Pentagon assembled a working group that dealt with the issue of unidentified air phenomena in order to analyze the testimonies of military pilots.

The task of this working group was to “detect, analyze and catalog” these phenomena, as well as to “gain insight” into the “nature and origin” of UFOs, the Pentagon said.

The published document, a short nine pages long, is part of a larger confidential report that assesses “the threats posed by unidentified air phenomena and the progress made by the US Department of Defense’s UAP working group in understanding this threat.”

Although testimonies have been recorded since 2004, most of the 144 cases analyzed come in the last two years when the U.S. Navy introduced a standardized reporting mechanism.

Why is this document important?

This is an important thing, especially considering that the U.S. government has denied the existence of flying objects that they could not explain and identify.

The publication of the report is an important moment in the history related to UFO mysteries, mostly because of the institutional context that gives the opening of the topic to the public, no matter how succinctly it was presented. The institutional context shows that the US Congress will take the views of such phenomena more seriously in the future.

“This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is only the first step,” Rubio noted.

Until now, reports of UFOs have been labeled by state institutions as unfounded knowledge or ‘information pollution’ – meaning that something like this should be ruled out, ignored or forgotten.

The Pentagon’s UAP working group represents a sudden reversal of this long-standing policy. Reports of UFOs, mostly given by military personnel, are no longer ‘polluters’. They are now important data with implications for national security.

Conclusions and open questions

Some of the most intriguing cases come from naval pilots who reported seeing UFOs – and filming some of them – on the east coast of the U.S. over a period of several months in 2014 and 2015.

The pilots, including some who have spoken publicly about it, say the mysterious objects were moving extremely fast, with agility and acceleration they had never seen before. And in some incidents, pilots said the facilities dived underwater.

In 143 of the 144 reported cases, it is stated that “there is not enough data to attribute the incidents to certain explanations”.

Crucially, it was said that for the aircraft “there are no clear indications that there is any extraterrestrial explanation of origin”, which is also not excluded.

The UAP phenomenon “probably doesn’t have a single explanation,” the report said. Some could be technologies from other countries like China or Russia, others could be natural atmospheric phenomena like ice crystals that can be registered by radar systems, while the report also suggests that some can be “attributed to the development and classified programs of American entities.”

The only case they could identify “with great certainty” was identified as a “large bubble that deflates,” the report said.

It adds that the UAP has posed “a clear question of flight safety and could pose a challenge to U.S. national security.”

The working group is now “looking for new ways to increase the testimony” of the report and gather more information, adding that “additional funding” would be needed for further study.

The historical context of institutional UFO research

In 1966, the U.S. Air Force faced increasing public pressure to solve the UFO issue. The effort to do so, then known as the Project Blue Book, became a burden on government organizations and a public relations problem.

The government funded a two-year scientific study of UFOs based at the University of Colorado, headed by prominent physicist Edward Condon. The findings, published in 1969 as the final report on a scientific study of unidentified flying objects, enabled the air force to complete its investigations into UFOs.

Condon concluded that nothing has emerged from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that would contribute to scientific knowledge. He also said that “further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will benefit in progress from that.”

Unlike the new Pentagon report, Condon’s report did not find UFOs that demonstrated advanced technology. The most problematic cases were solved by ambiguous categorization.

“This unusual sighting should be categorized as some almost certainly natural phenomena that are so rare that they have apparently never been reported before or recorded so far.”

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