The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a long-awaited report on Friday about what the U.S. government knows about sightings of UFOs — officially known as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — and concluded that some of the technology that has been observed could pose a threat to U.S. national security.
In recent weeks, former and current members of the U.S. Military have made appearances on news programs to describe incidents they claimed they witnessed that involved technology that far exceeded that which is possessed by the United States — which has the world’s most sophisticated military technology. The report said that 18 out of 144 reported incidents showed UAP that potentially demonstrated advanced technology and that out of those incidents, U.S. military aircraft systems detected radio frequency or a degree of signature management, meaning efforts to avoid detection.
The report cautioned that data collected could be inaccurate due to “sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception.”
The Director of National Intelligence said that the UAP observed by the U.S. government fall into one of five categories:
- Airborne Clutter: These objects include birds, balloons, recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or airborne debris like plastic bags that muddle a scene and affect an operator’s ability to identify true targets, such as enemy aircraft.
- Natural Atmospheric Phenomena: Natural atmospheric phenomena includes ice crystals, moisture, and thermal fluctuations that may register on some infrared and radar systems.
- USG or Industry Developmental Programs: Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however, that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected.
- Foreign Adversary Systems: Some UAP may be technologies deployed by China, Russia, another nation, or a non-governmental entity.
- Other: Although most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis, we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize some of them. We would group such objects in this category pending scientific advances that allowed us to better understand them. The UAPTF intends to focus additional analysis on the small number of cases where a UAP appeared to display unusual flight characteristics or signature management.
The report, which is the unclassified version released to the public, said that UAP could pose a serious risk to U.S. national security if it is a foreign adversary that possesses a “breakthrough or disruptive technology.” The report found no evidence of any kind of alien life.
Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, during an interview with podcast host Joe Rogan earlier this month, pushed back on those who were going around promoting the notion that UAP identified by the U.S. Military were little green men from outer space, noting the lack of evidence in today’s high tech world. Tyson said that if the UAP were extraterrestrial life from outer space, people would be pulling out their smart phones and would instantly start live-streaming footage of the objects, which would go viral on social media.
“I’m thinking, if we were being visited, somebody would have some good footage,” Tyson said. “If we were being visited, I’m thinking maybe Google satellite images would catch spaceships that are not airplanes moving on our surface. If we were being visited, I’m thinking we’d have something better than fuzzy, monochromatic video of objects that apparently only reveal themselves to Navy pilots.”
When Rogan pushed back by saying that there is a lack of evidence because these sightings are far out at sea, Tyson responded, “If you are sure we are being visited by aliens and you don’t actually have really good evidence, then you have to say that, sure.”
“You have to say, this is really happening and they’re observing us and they’re concealing themselves in this particular way. That’s your way to maintain your alien belief system by saying that,” he continued. “And I don’t have a problem with it. Go get them. But all of what has been put forward as evidence for aliens, to me is insufficient evidence to excite my research interest in devoting time to finding it out. … I am not saying defund the military program on UAPs.”
U.S. officials told The New York Times earlier this month that they are concerned that Russia and China could be experimenting with hypersonic technology.
“Russia has been investing heavily in hypersonics, believing the technology offers the ability to evade American missile-defense technology. China has also developed hypersonic weaponry, and included it in military parades,” the report said. “If the phenomenon were Chinese or Russian aircraft, officials said it would suggest the two powers’ hypersonic research has far outpaced American military development.”
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox News earlier this year that the Biden administration was in for a bit of a shock when they viewed intelligence reports on “how quickly China has closed the gap.”
“The things that they are doing, where they’re spending money, and you can’t help but be concerned about China’s ability to challenge us, as I said, in certain places,” Ratcliffe said. “I don’t want to talk about those in detail because it poses a national security threat to acknowledge that, but there are places where China’s, frankly, doing a better job, and it’s further down the curve on some technology issues than we are, and … that’s never been the case before.”