The Director Of National Intelligence on Friday released a highly anticipated report outlining what the government knows so far about unidentified flying objects (UFO) and the threat they pose, but it offered scant conclusions about such phenomena.
The DNI announced Friday afternoon that it has submitted a preliminary report to Congress on the progress that the U.S. Navy’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force has made in understanding unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), more commonly known as UFOs.
The intelligence report said that U.S. intelligence cannot explain 143 of the 144 cases of UFOs observed and reported by military aircraft from 2004 to 2021.
The one incident that could be categorized was identified as a large, deflating balloon, but “the others remain unexplained,” the report said.
“The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP,” the DNI said in its report.
Most of the unidentified aerial phenomena probably represent “physical objects,” the report said, since a majority of the the phenomena were registered across multiple sensors including radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.
The DNI also noted that in a “limited number” of incidents, unidentified aerial phenomena reportedly appeared to exhibit “unusual flight characteristics,” but it cautioned that those observations could be the result of “sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception” and “require additional rigorous analysis.”
There are also probably multiple types of unidentified aerial phenomena requiring different explanations, the report said. The phenomena fall into several categories including airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or U.S. industry developmental programs, and foreign adversary systems, the DNI said.
Other unexplained phenomena fall into a “catchall ‘other’ bin,” the DNI said, but the report does not mention aliens or suggest extraterrestrial activity as an explanation.
The agency said that the occurrences are “clearly” a flight safety issue and may also be a national security issue.
The report also said that some observers may not have reported what they saw due to fear of “disparagement.”
“Although the effects of these stigmas have lessened as senior members of the scientific, policy, military, and intelligence communities engage on the topic seriously in public, reputational risk may keep many observers silent, complicating scientific pursuit of the topic,” the report said.
The DNI was tasked last year with producing an intelligence assessment of “the threat posed by unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) originally submitted the request for a report on the threat of unidentified aerial phenomena on behalf of the Senate Intelligence Committee last summer. The committee said it was “concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat.”
The committee’s mandate was eventually included in the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill that former President Trump signed into law in December. The bill gave the DNI 180 days to craft a report on UFOs and submit it to Congress.
The DNI said that the report “provides an overview for policymakers of the challenges associated with characterizing the potential threat posed by UAP” as well as a means to develop policies, technology, and training for the military to address UFO encounters.
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