- BBC News World
It has been one of the most anticipated reports in recent years from US intelligence agencies.
Following a request from Congress in 2020, the government promised to publish a report on the information it had on sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), following several unexplained cases that have generated headlines in the last two decades.
Within days of its publication, US media began to leak the details of the document.
Those who expected a concrete and certain answer about the presence (or not) of life coming from other planets will probably be frustrated: the document says that intelligence analysts did not find evidence of extraterrestrial activity … but they do not rule it out either.
According to local media, one of the main conclusions of the document is that no US technology was involved in the more than 120 incidents of foreign object sightings reported in recent decades.
And is that one of the doubts was whether the sightings were the result of secret programs carried out by the US government.
But beyond ruling that out, the report makes no definitive assessments of what the origins of such objects might be.
What is the report due to?
The report is the product of a military task force established last year to investigate decades of unexplained sightings in US airspace.
The Defense Department said it wanted to “improve its understanding” of the unidentified aerial phenomena and determine whether they posed a threat to national security.
The report was ordered as part of a pandemic aid package signed by then-President Donald Trump.
Its publication has captured the imagination of the public in the US, where UFO sightings have long been sources of intrigue and conspiracy theories.
Speculation about the content of the report has grown among UFO enthusiasts before it is delivered to congressmen on June 25.
What do we know about the report?
Details of the study were first reported Thursday by the newspaper. The New York Times (NYT), followed by CNN and The Washington Post.
Those media outlets said they spoke to various government officials about the report’s findings.
Sources said that of the more than 120 incidents documented in the last two decades, most were reported by US Navy personnel, while some involved foreign military personnel.
CNN said it spoke to three sources who said the report does not rule out extraterrestrial activity as a possible explanation in some of these cases.
However, there is also no evidence that the aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years were alien spacecraft, the NYT reported.
Citing intelligence officials, the newspaper said experimental technology from a rival power, such as China 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 finding.
Several intelligence reports have indicated that both Moscow and Beijing have in recent years opted for the development of hypersonic weapons, some of which would even be capable of dodging US missile protection systems.
What sightings have been reported?
Some sightings were discussed last month in a CBS News report, which renewed interest in UFOs.
The network’s 60 Minutes program interviewed US Navy pilots who said they had seen strange aircraft that flew faster and performed maneuvers that current aircraft, even the most sophisticated ones, cannot.
A retired pilot, Ryan Graves, recounted that his fighter jet squad began seeing UFOs hovering over restricted airspace off the coast of Virginia in 2014.
He said the objects had no visible exhaust columns and were traveling at speeds that seemed to defy the limits of known technology.
Graves said pilots training on the Atlantic coast 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 sighted “They can outperform anything we have in our inventory“.
“The question is, what is it? The bottom line is that we just don’t know,” he said.
In April of last year, the Defense Department released three declassified videos of what it said showed “inexplicable aerial phenomena.”
The department said it wanted to “clear up any misconceptions from the public about whether the images”, which had already been leaked in 2007 and 2017, “were real.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.