(CNN) — For years, the United States Government largely ignored reports of mysterious flying objects sighted while moving through restricted military airspace. However, it is now slowly beginning to recognize that UFOs, which the Pentagon refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena, are real.
While it is certainly premature to speculate whether these flying objects come from another world, the Army recently confirmed the authenticity of several videos and images showing encounters with unidentified flying objects. This fuels questions about what the Pentagon knows about these incidents and others like it.
Declassified UFO reports are scheduled to be delivered to Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies next month.
The Department of Defense inspector general is also expected to examine how the Pentagon handled UFO reports. A source with knowledge of the matter told CNN earlier this month that further investigations into how these encounters were handled in recent years will be announced in the near future.
This is what we know about UFOs
What is a UFO?
In short, a UFO is a flying object that looks or moves differently from any aircraft used by the United States or any other foreign country.
By their very nature, UFOs are shrouded in mystery and there are still many more questions than answers about these inexplicable incidents.
There have been many UFO sightings in recent years, but only recently have the military verified a handful of those reported encounters.
Last month, the Pentagon confirmed the authenticity of photos and videos taken by Navy personnel in 2019 that appeared to show triangle-shaped objects flickering and moving through clouds.
Another series of photos by Navy officials showed three objects apparently flying in the sky, shaped like a sphere, an acorn and a metallic airship.
Infrared Camera Videos
In April 2020, the Pentagon released three short videos from infrared cameras that appeared to show flying objects moving quickly. In two of the videos, service members react in amazement at how fast the objects are moving. A voice speculates that it could be a drone.
NASA acknowledged the veracity of the videos in September 2019, but officially released them months later, “with the aim of clearing up any misconceptions from the public about whether the images that have been circulating are real or not, or if there was something else. on the videos or not, “Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough said at the time.
“After a thorough review, the department determined that the authorized release of these declassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems,” Gough said in a statement, “and does not affect any subsequent investigations into incursions into military airspace by unidentified aerial phenomena ”.
In 2017, one of the pilots who saw one of the unidentified objects in 2004 told CNN that it was moving in a way he couldn’t explain.
“As I got closer … it accelerated rapidly to the south and was gone in less than two seconds,” said David Fravor, a retired Navy pilot. “This was extremely abrupt, like a ping-pong ball bouncing off a wall” that would “hit and go the other direction.”
Are we talking about aliens?
The fact that the United States Government recognizes that UFOs are real certainly raises the question: Are we alone?
Luis Elizondo, former head of a classified Defense Department program for the investigation of potential UFOs, told CNN in 2017 that he personally believes that “there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”
“These aircraft – we will call them aircraft – are displaying characteristics that are not currently in the US inventory or in any foreign inventory that we know of,” Elizondo said of the objects they investigated. Elizondo claims he resigned from the Defense Department in 2017 in protest of the secrecy surrounding the program and internal opposition to its funding.
But in reality, the interest in the Pentagon’s handling of unidentified flying objects has more to do with ensuring that any potential implications for national security, world-wide or not, are taken seriously.
“It doesn’t matter if they are weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely. We cannot ask our pilots to risk their lives unnecessarily, ”Rachel Cohen, a spokeswoman for Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, told CNN after senators received a report from Navy officials in 2019 about unidentified aircraft.
What will the report say about looming UFOs?
Although experts in the field have applauded the government’s recent moves to share more information on reported UFO encounters in recent decades, many remain skeptical that the upcoming report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies will provide. a comprehensive look at the problem.
That’s because the Pentagon has long been reluctant to acknowledge that some of what has been observed is simply inexplicable despite compelling evidence that these objects display characteristics not normally associated with conventional aircraft, according to Elizondo.
“At best … there is an interim report that will fulfill the intent of Congress with a promise to provide another report after this one,” Elizondo told reporters last month. “Unfortunately, there is much more we do not know than we do. The good news is that we are finally taking it seriously.
The Pentagon has previously studied recordings of aerial encounters with unknown objects as part of a classified program that no longer exists. This was carried out at the behest of former Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid.
The program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon, because the Defense Department assessed that there were higher priorities that needed funding.
Reid, Elizondo and others who have lobbied for the government to release more information about UFOs say the materials released thus far only scratch the surface of what is known.
UFO Working Group
Last year, the Pentagon created a task force to better understand “the nature and origins” of unidentified aerial phenomena, the Defense Department said in a statement.
“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursion by unauthorized aircraft into our training grounds or designated airspace very seriously and examine every report. This includes examining incursions that are initially reported as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing, ”the statement said.
The task force included the videos whose authenticity was confirmed last month.
CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism