Newly-published redacted UFO report admits crafts 'appear to demonstrate advanced technology'
The “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" report issued by the United States Department of Defense last year offered both an intriguing and frustrating insight into what the federal government knows about UAPs, colloquially referred to as Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs.
UFO enthusiasts were (perhaps unrealistically) expecting a treasure trove of data regarding the timeless phenomenon to which they could point as evidence of extraterrestrials having visited Earth. To date, no definitive proof of that exists, and the powers that be have been consistently tight-lipped about whatever it is that is flying around in our skies.
On Thursday, however, John Greenewald – the government transparency activist and founder of The Black Vault, a website that archives declassified documents – published a redacted version of the report, which contains far more information than its heavily-censored predecessor.
Greenewald, who was granted access to former President Barack Obama's administration's UFO files last week, explained how he obtained the update:
This effort by The Black Vault is the result of a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) case filed under 32 CFR § 1704 (not the usual Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] cases generally filed under 5 U.S.C. § 552) less than 24 hours after the public version of the same was released.
The case mandated that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), in conjunction with ALL agencies and military branches that contributed to the report, review their respective contributions, and in the end, release the unclassified/declassified/non-exempt portions.
First, a reminder about the mundane reality. The vast majority of reported sightings have totally rational explanations such as birds, balloons, satellites, drones, atmospheric phenomena, astronomical objects, or misidentified aircraft. But the remaining fraction that researchers have been unable to nail down are extremely interesting. And so are the government's notes about them.
Here are the most tantalizing excerpts from the report:
- Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects given that a majority of UAP registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electrooptical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.
- In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics, including several in which the [redacted] involving [redacted] These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis.
- (U) There are probably multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations based on the range of appearances and behaviors described in the available reporting. Our analysis of the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved they will fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or U.S. industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall "other" bin.
- (U) UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security. Safety concerns primarily center on aviators contending with an increasingly cluttered air domain. UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology.
- (U) Consistent consolidation of reports from across the federal government, standardized reporting, increased collection and analysis, and a streamlined process for screening all such reports against a broad range of relevant USG data will allow for a more sophisticated analysis of UAP that is likely to deepen our understanding. Some of these steps are resource-intensive and would require additional investment.
The document states that while "Some Potential Patterns Do Emerge," most of them cannot be explained:
- In only one instance, the UAPTF was able to identify the reported UAP with high confidence . . In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained.
- Although there was wide variability in the reports and the dataset is currently too limited to allow for detailed trend or pattern analysis there was some clustering of UAP observations regarding shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion. UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds, but we assess that this may result from a collection bias as a result of focused attention, greater numbers of latest-generation sensors operating in those areas unit expectations, and guidance to report anomalies.
This is where it gets juicy, although most of this section is heavily redacted.
“A Handful of UAP Appear to Demonstrate Advanced Technology,” the report declares:
- Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly or move at considerable speed without discernable means of propulsion.
- Additional rigorous analyses is necessary by multiple teams or groups of technical experts to determine the nature and validity of these data. We are conducting further analysis to determine if breakthrough technologies were demonstrated.
Finally – and this should make X-Files fans happy – “Given the national security implications associated with potential threats posed by UAP operating in close proximity to sensitive military activities, installations, critical infrastructure, or other national security sites, the FBI is positioned to use its investigative capabilities and authorities to support deliberate DOD and interagency efforts to determine attribution."
The truth is up there.
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