On Friday, the office of the director of national intelligence released the long-awaited report (opens a PDF) on unidentified flying objects (UFO), which it referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), that have been spotted moving through restricted military airspace by military personnel over the last several decades. The report revealed that U.S. Intelligence actually knows very little about these events but it was a first step in acknowledging that they exist.
The report analyzed 144 reports of these mysterious events and revealed that only one of them could be explained. Investigators found no evidence that the rest were due to either extraterrestrial life or a significant technological advancement by a foreign adversary. They did however speculate that both these scenarios could provide a possible explanation.
"We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained," the report said.
What other experts think
Experts around the world were quick to weigh in with their opinions on the report. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) released a press release pointing out the difference between their work and that of the new report.
"Since the UAP analysis and SETI research have a region of overlap — the possibility of alien beings — there is frequent confusion by the public and media regarding the degree to which they are similar. We hope to mitigate this lack of understanding by pointing out differences in the assumptions, data, and verification methodologies for both UAPs and SETI," read SETI's statement.
SETI further explained that the report relied on unplanned observational evidence whereas SETI conducts deliberate experiments similar to many other science investigations (e.g., the hunt for the Higgs boson).
Meanwhile, congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement: "Through the Intelligence Authorization Act, the Congress and the Intelligence Committee required the preparation and release of today’s report, as it has become increasingly clear that unidentified aerial phenomena are not a rare occurrence and our government needs a unified way to gather, analyze, and contextualize these reports."
The UFO Report is out. The implications are profound. UFOs, as we have known for a long time, are real, defy conventional explanation, and until more is learned, pose a serious potential threat to U.S. national security. But don’t just take my word for it: https://t.co/UqOiGt6QXT— Christopher K. Mellon (@ChrisKMellon) June 25, 2021
“We should approach these questions without preconceptions to encourage a thorough, systematized analysis of the potential national security and flight safety risks posed by unidentified aerial phenomena, whether they are the result of a foreign adversary, atmospheric or other aerial phenomena, space debris, or something else entirely."
Finally, Marco Rubio, a Senator and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman, also released this statement to press: "For years, the men and women we entrusted to defend our country reported encounters with unidentified aircraft that had superior capabilities, and for years their concerns were often ignored and ridiculed. The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern.”
It seems that the report left people with more questions unanswered than ever before. It acknowledged a very real phenomenon, one it could find no logical explanation for. Will time give the people the answers they seek?