Fans of Fox Mulder rejoiced this afternoon as the US Office of National Intelligence released its long-awaited UFO report, though, leaving more conclusions up in the air than identified — the so-called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force checked-out 144 events: ‘These reports describe incidents that occurred between 2004 and 2021, with the majority coming in the last two years as the new reporting mechanism became better known to the military aviation community. We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained.’
Despite the intelligence:
Breaking News: A newly released U.S. report on unidentified flying objects says 143 sightings since 2004 remain unexplained. It does not rule out alien activity. https://t.co/7dXASjgdtu
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 25, 2021
Of course, no official in his right brain would okay aliens — per The New York Times this afternoon:
A total of 143 reports gathered since 2004 remain unexplained, the document released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. Of those, 21 reports of unknown phenomena, involving 18 episodes, possibly demonstrate technological capabilities that are unknown to the United States: objects moving without observable propulsion or with rapid acceleration that is believed to be beyond the capabilities of Russia, China or other terrestrial nations.
But, the report said, more rigorous analysis of those episodes is needed.
There is no evidence that any of the episodes involve secret American weapons programs, unknown technology from Russia or China or extraterrestrial visitations.
But the government report did not rule out those explanations.
The nine-page document essentially declines to draw conclusions, announcing that the available reporting is “largely inconclusive” and noting that limited and inconsistent data created a challenge in evaluating the phenomena.
The failure to reach a conclusion on the unexplained episodes raised questions about how seriously the government has taken them until now and whether it had assembled adequate scientific expertise to examine them.
Too little data exists to draw a conclusion about many of the episodes, officials said. But both scientific experts and enthusiastic amateurs have advanced explanations ranging from the mundane to the otherworldly and the report did little to substantiate or dismiss their theories.
The new report laid out five categories of possible explanation for the phenomena: a secret technology developed by an adversarial power like Russia and China, classified cutting-edge American technology, a naturally occurring phenomenon, airborne clutter such as errant weather balloons and a catchall “other” category.
That final group could include extraterrestrial technology.
There are plausible, but dry, explanations for each of the Navy recordings that are more likely than some sort of extraordinary technology, said Mick West, a science writer who focuses on debunking conspiracy theories.
“They’re not making any big claims; they’re saying some of the things they see seem to show unusual behavior and more study is needed,” Mr. West said.
“Obviously, they’re not saying it’s aliens — they’re not going anywhere near that.”
And adding fuel to the fire of Mulder’s intense gaze:
Former President Barack Obama was asked about UFOs in May on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS.
“What is true, and I’m actually being serious here, is that there is footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are,” Obama said.
(Illustration out front: Still-image from Pentagon-released video, and found here).