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‘They Defy The Effects Of Earth’s Gravity’: As UFOs Go Mainstream, The Government Searches For Answers

This is part 1 of a series documenting the U.S. Government’s response to UFOs. The segment originally aired on Morning Wire

For decades, the term UFO – or unidentified flying object – has conjured images of crazed conspiracy theorists, with conversations on the topic typically relegated to fringe corners of the internet. But that stigma has begun to collapse in recent years as it’s become clear that something unexplained is in our skies. 

Hundreds of credible, documented UFO cases have perplexed our leading scientists and military officials and prompted action from Congress and the Pentagon, which have deemed the issue a serious national security threat.

Now, after years of denying the legitimacy of UFOs, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged a decades-long effort to investigate and explain the phenomena.

Out Of The Shadows

UFOs have long held a unique place in American culture, with countless stories of strange craft in our skies told by those convinced they’d seen something unexplainable. 

But those tales were often backed up, at best, by grainy camcorder footage or blurry polaroid pictures, and, at worst, by the word of eyewitnesses. 

For decades, the federal government led the American people to believe they were staying out of the matter, lending credibility to those who believed stories of UFOs were nothing more than urban legend. But behind the scenes, officials at the highest levels of government had spent decades – and hundreds of millions of dollars – investigating the phenomena in secret. 

First, there was Project Blue Book, a top secret Air Force initiative that investigated thousands of UFO reports from 1947 to 1969. According to internal documents, the project concluded most of the sightings involved conventional aircraft or spy planes, but 701 incidents were classified as “unexplained.” 

After Project Blue Book was disclosed to the public in 1976, it appeared the government had given up on its efforts to investigate the matter. But in 2017, a ground-breaking New York Times report revealed the existence of a modern-day Pentagon UFO program called AATIP — Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. 

AATIP was tasked with compiling evidence of what they deemed UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) and attempting to investigate and, more importantly, explain their origins. 

According to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who for years pushed for UFO research behind the scenes, much of the funding for AATIP came from “black money” programs to keep it from the public.

But in recent years, the public, and lawmakers alike, have begun to demand answers on what the government has found. 

Evidence Mounts

According to Pentagon officials, AATIP and other similar programs have turned their focus toward UFOs reported near military bases, studying service members who say they’d suffered physical effects after encounters with unidentified craft, and according to the New York Times, analyzing “metal alloys and other materials … recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.” 

Perhaps most notably, the government also began gathering video recordings and radar data from reported UFO incidents, including footage captured by military planes and ships. While the vast majority of those videos remain classified, some have leaked to the general public. 

Three such videos, which leaked in 2017 and 2018, show U.S. pilots tracking craft that behaved in unusual ways, accelerating at incredible speeds and bewildering pilots in pursuit. 

As the videos circulated online there were questions about their legitimacy, but in 2020, the Pentagon confirmed they were authentic cases of “unidentified aerial phenomena.” 

In one of the videos from 2015, a craft moving at high speed is recorded flying into strong winds while spinning like a top in a way that pilots say seemed to defy the laws of known physics. 

Another video, which garnered the most attention, came from a UFO incident off the coast of San Diego. 

It was 2004 and the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was conducting training operations 100 miles off the coast when advanced radar systems began picking up “multiple anomalous aerial vehicles” operating over the horizon. 

Those craft were observed on multiple tracking systems descending 80,000 feet in seconds and hovering at 20,000 feet for hours on end before shooting back up into the sky and disappearing from radar. 

Navy Commander David Fravor oversaw the F-18 Squadron on the Nimitz and was dispatched with his co-pilot and another F-18 to investigate. When they arrived, Commander Fravor said the ocean was smooth, but there was a patch of “roiling whitewater” where waves were breaking on a large object that appeared to be just below the ocean surface.

Above that object was a smaller, 40-foot long “tic-tac shaped craft” darting back and forth erratically at high speed. According to Fravor, the craft had no wings, no markings, and no visible signs of propulsion. 

When Fravor descended to get closer to the object, it began ascending towards them, mimicking their flight pattern until it was within a short distance of the F-18. Then, according to Fravor and his co-pilot, it vanished. 

Seconds after the craft disappeared, the USS Princeton – a Navy cruiser in the area – picked it up on radar 60 miles away. 

According to Navy Senior Chief Kevin Day, an operations specialist aboard the USS Princeton, the craft at one point descended 28,000 feet in .78 seconds, meaning it was traveling around 24,000 miles per hour. Despite its incredible rate of speed, Day says the object produced “no sonic booms.”

According to Day, the technology was far beyond anything in our arsenal. “If they had been hostile, there is absolutely nothing we could’ve done to protect ourselves from these things.”

When Fravor returned to the Nimitz, another F-18 squadron was scrambled in pursuit of the object and was able to capture it briefly on the plane’s imaging system, before it disappeared again. 

“Beyond Anything We’re Capable Of”

According to Christopher Mellon, the former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Intelligence, those incidents are just the tip of the UFO iceberg. 

Mellon served under Presidents Clinton and Bush and says the military has hundreds of similar videos and reports that show craft with technology far exceeding our own, making high-speed turns at a right angle, hovering totally stationary in high winds above the open ocean for hours on end, and climbing tens of thousands of feet in seconds.

“These vehicles seem to have unlimited loiter time, which we don’t have. … Then the acceleration is beyond — far beyond anything that we’re capable of … there’s nothing we can build that can endure that amount of force and acceleration,” Mellon said, in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2021.

Lue Elizondo, the man who spent years heading up AATIP at the Pentagon, has offered similar accounts.

“Over the past several decades we in the Department of Defense and the intelligence community have been noticing things in our airspace that don’t have wings, they don’t have cockpits, they don’t even have an obvious sign of propulsion, and yet still they’re able to defy the natural effects of earth’s gravity,” according to Elizondo.

Cabot Phillips is the Senior Editor at the Daily Wire. He can be heard regularly on the Morning Wire podcast.

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