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NASA Had a UFO Briefing With a Dept. of Defense Task Force. No One Knows Why

But the truth is still out there.

NASA Had a UFO Briefing With a Dept. of Defense Task Force. No One Knows Why
An illustration of fictional UFOs. gremlin / iStock

Several agencies of the U.S. government are discussing UFOs.

The Department of Defense (DoD) established the UAP Task Force (UAPTF) in August of 2020, created to "improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena]," and in its first month of operation, the organization held a briefing with NASA to discuss UFOs in a secure setting, according to a document obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request initially reported by The Black Vault.

In other words, NASA was asked to discuss UFOs, in addition to its Earth- and space-based means of observing alleged sightings with the new DoD organization in a highly secure virtual meeting.

And no one knows why.

A new government organization briefed NASA on UFOs

"During the course of its work, the UAPTF has reached out to organizations across DoD, the Intelligence Community, and the U.S. government," said Susan Gough, a Pentagon spokesperson, to The Black Vault. "For security reasons, we will not detail the contributions of specific organizations to the UAPTF's work, nor the areas discussed with every organization as part of the UAPTF's investigations." Gough has remained an unswerving voice for UAP or UFO comments from the U.S. government, and made the statement after working with NASA to write a comprehensive reply. All to say Gough was speaking both for the UAPTF and NASA.

This came on the heels of and in reaction to a June 2 press conference in which NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and NASA Science Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen talked about UFOs. The FOIA case (21-HQ-F-00507) requested emails sent from or received by Zurbuchen, and revealed a small pile of records, contained within was a special clarification that the public had yet to learn: Back on September 13 of last year, the Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of International Interagency Relations Mike Gold sent a "Weekly Update" email to multiple addresses, including Zurbuchen, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and more. And the update featured Gold speaking about a forthcoming briefing "at the request of the UAPTF."

All attendees of a "secure" video teleconference were named in the document, including International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager Joel Montalbano, Former Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs Suzanne Gillen, Director of the Export Control and Interagency Liaison Division Margaret Kieffer, and Gold. Before he worked at NASA, gold was employed by Bigelow Aerospace from 2003 to April 2016. This places him in the company when Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), a subsidiary of his then-employer, reportedly researched UFO sightings for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). That program was called the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Application Program (AAWSAP).

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Verified UFO sightings could transform human science

Yes, there are a lot of acronyms. If you want to say it's intentional obfuscation, we'll neither confirm nor deny the possibility. "The list of organizations included in the UAP Report to Congress were the ones who provided specific input in the preparation of the report," said Gough in The Black Vault report. "It was not a comprehensive list of all the organizations which the UAPTF has contacted in the course of its work," implying that there may have been other parties, like NASA, who were due for inclusion in the report, as the email suggests. But the question remains, why did the nascent organization wish to brief NASA on UFOs?

The UAPTF may have desired access to data from the ISS' onboard systems, to evaluate the usefulness of its Earth observation systems for ongoing investigations of UFOs reported within the atmosphere. The Pentagon doesn't confirm this, but it didn't deny it, either: "It is worth noting... the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an organization with broad scientific responsibilities, including atmospheric research, etc." said the statement from Gough. "Such information is vital to fully understanding the environment in which Navy aviators operate and the conditions that may have been present during any particular observation." In addition to assisting evaluations of atmospheric UFOs, witnessed in viral videos for years, the organization could, at least hypothetically, also be interested in alleged UFO sightings captured by cameras equipped on the ISS.

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"Through our Earth-observing satellites, NASA collects extensive data about Earth’s atmosphere, often in collaboration with the other space agencies of the world," read one answer to NASA's online FAQ section. "While these data are not specifically collected to identify UAPs or alien technosignatures (sic), they are publicly available and anyone may use them to search the atmosphere. While NASA doesn’t actively search for UAPs, if we learn of UAPs, it would open up the door to new science questions to explore. Atmospheric scientists, aerospace experts, and other scientists could all contribute to understanding the nature of the phenomenon. Exploring the unknown in space is at the heart of who we are.” Indeed, the verified detection and subsequent study of UFOs, whether from Earth or alien technology, could potentially transform not only specific sciences like propulsion, materials science, and engineering, but the way we conceptualize ourselves, empirical science, and our place in the universe. We aren't getting the answers today, but whether we want to believe or not: The truth is still out there.

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