A United States government report on sightings of unidentified flying objects (U̳F̳O̳s) found no evidence of a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ activity but did not rule them out, officials told US media.
“The review of 120 incidents should conclude that US technology was not involved in the majority of cases. But beyond that, the report does not provide definitive assessments of what the sighted, intercepted and unidentified objects might be, ”officials said.
A declassified version of the report is expected to be delivered to lawmakers in June.
The report is the product of a military task force set up last year to investigate decades of unexplained aerial sightings in US airspace.
The Department of Defense said it wanted to “improve its understanding” of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), also known as U̳F̳O̳s, and determine if they pose a threat to national security.
The report was ordered as part of a pandemic aid package signed by former US President Donald Trump last year. Its release captured the public\’s imagination in the United States, where U̳F̳O̳ sightings have long been a source of intrigue and a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ conspiracy theories.
What do we know about the report?
Details of the study were first reported on Thursday by the New York Times newspaper, followed by broadcaster CNN and the Washington Post.
These media outlets claimed to have spoken to multiple US government officials about the results of the long-awaited report. Officials said that of the more than 120 documented incidents over the past two decades, most were reported by US Navy personnel, while some involved foreign military personnel.
Extraterrestrial activity taken into consideration
CNN said it spoke to three sources who said the report did not rule out e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ activity as a possible explanation in some of these cases.
However, there is no evidence that the aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years have been a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ spacecraft, the Times reported.
Citing intelligence officials, the paper said experimental technology from a rival power, such as C̳h̳i̳n̳a̳ or Russia, could explain at least some of the aerial phenomena. The newspaper and CNN said intelligence officials were concerned about the national security implications of this conclusion.
What U̳F̳O̳ incidents have been reported?
Some sightings were discussed in a recent CBS News report that renewed interest in U̳F̳O̳s last month.
The 60 Minutes program interviewed US Navy pilots who said they saw unexplained planes that flew faster and were more maneuverable than anything seen before. They certainly weren\’t aircraft from Russia or C̳h̳i̳n̳a̳.
A retired pilot, Ryan Graves, said his fighter squadron began seeing U̳F̳O̳s hovering over a confined airspace off the coast of Virginia in 2014. He said the objects had no visible exhaust plumes and they were traveling at speeds that seemed to defy the limits of known technology.
Graves said pilots under training off the Atlantic coast have had similar sightings “every day for at least a couple of years.”
Last month Luis Elizondo, a former US counterintelligence agent, told ABC News that some of the objects that have been spotted “can surpass anything we have in our inventory.”
“The question is: what is it? What are?” He said. “The bottom line is we just don\’t know.” In April last year, the Department of Defense released three declassified videos of what it said in official statements and showed “unexplained, non-terrestrial aerial phenomena.”
The department said it wanted to “close any public misunderstandings about the existence or otherwise of the footage”, which had already leaked in 2007 and 2017, but one thing for sure is that “it was real”.