On Monday, the Pentagon officially declassified three videos featuring what it calls “unidentified aerial phenomena” spotted by Navy pilots off the west coast.
The videos, which leaked to media outlets back in 2007 and again in 2017, are in black and white and appear grainy, so it is difficult to discern the specific “UAPs,” but, the Pentagon said, it felt compelled to substantiate the videos’ authenticity since they were already in the public domain.
After a “thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“DOD [Department of Defense] is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos. The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified,'” the Pentagon continued.
“According to the New York Times, a clip from 2004 was filmed by two navy fighter pilots and shows a round object hovering above the water, about 100 miles (160 km) out into the Pacific Ocean,” the BBC reported Monday. “Two other videos filmed in 2015 show objects moving through the air, one of which is spinning. In one, a pilot is heard saying: ‘Look at that thing, dude! It’s rotating!'”
“My gosh, they’re all going against the wind! The wind’s 120 knots out of the west!” the voice, assumed to be the pilot of one of the Navy planes, exclaims.
The Pentagon is hesitant to label the items featured in the video as “unidentified flying objects,” likely since the term is closely related to the study of extraterrestrial life (and associated conspiracy theories), and, instead, refers to the objects as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” and notes that they could be foreign planes or robotic devices.
In 2017, The New York Times reported extensively about the Pentagon’s efforts to collect and analyze video, largely taken by military pilots, of these “unexplained aerial phenomena.” Established and supported by then-Senator Harry Reid, the classified Pentagon program was considered the clearinghouse for suspected “alien” encounters, but it shuttered in 2012, shortly before Reid retired.
After The New York Times report, the Navy and Air Force established a uniform procedure for reporting UFOs.
In 2018, a group called To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, founded by Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge, who has dedicated his life to the study of UFOs after leaving the band (which now tours with a different lead singer), requested the Pentagon declassify the videos, which had gone viral.
One of the pilots, who witnessed the 2004 incident, spoke to media in 2017 about the encounter: “As I got close to it … it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,” he said. “This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.”
DISRN.com also notes that the two pilots involved in that encounter were sent up to intercept the object which a Navy vessel had been tracking “for weeks.” The object was “roughly 40 feet long hovering roughly 50 feet above the water that quickly descended when approached.”
The Pentagon has not said whether it plans to declassify any further videos.