US senators are demanding to see the Pentagon’s UFO files as they push for influence over a secretive Navy program.
The Senate Intelligence Committee wants defense chiefs to publish a report on the Pentagon’s UFO program and any phenomena it observes.
The committee says it ‘supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force’ – appearing to confirm that such a program still exists.
In 2017 the Pentagon acknowledged funding a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate UFO sightings, although defense chiefs claimed it had ended in 2012.
Senators now want to regulate the program – saying the public should be better informed of its activities.
In April 2020 the Pentagon released footage from three sightings of unidentified objects. One of the videos was captured off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, in 2015 (pictured)
The Senate’s focus on the program stems less out of a concern over extraterrestrials, and more from the threat posed by real-world US adversaries such as China.
The Pentagon admitted earlier this month that a nuclear detonation in space by Russia or China was among the possible threats to US interests.
The US is particularly worried about China’s espionage capabilities, including use of drones and other aerial technology.
The UFO program, managed by the Office of Naval Intelligence, is responsible for ‘collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to US military assets and installations.’
But senators said that information sharing had been ‘inconsistent’ and called for a detailed report on the program’s progress and any phenomena it observes.
The provision is part of the 2021 intelligence authorization bill, which has yet to make its way to the full Senate.
If it passes, the Pentagon will have 180 days to submit a report to Congress.
The Pentagon said in 2017 that an earlier operation called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme had ended in 2012.
‘It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change,’ a spokeswoman said at the time.
But the Pentagon was less clear about whether the UFO program continues to hover somewhere in the vast universe of the US defense establishment.
‘The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed,’ the spokeswoman said.
Another video shows the notorious 2004 ‘Tic Tac’ incident (pictured) that was recorded over the Pacific Ocean
In April this year, the Pentagon released three videos taken by US Navy pilots showing mid-air encounters with unexplained objects.
The grainy black and white footage had previously been leaked and the Navy had acknowledged they were genuine videos.
One of the videos was shot in November 2004 and the other two in January 2015.
In one, a weapons sensor operator appears to lose lock on a rapidly moving object which seconds later suddenly accelerates away to the left and out of view.
In another video which is tracking an object above the clouds, one pilot wonders if it is a drone.
The Department of Defense said it was ‘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 statement said.
Retired US Navy pilot David Fravor, who saw one of the ‘UFOs’ in 2004, said the object he saw had been moving erratically.
‘As I got close to it … it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,’ Fravor told CNN in 2017.
‘This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.’
Former Nevada senator Harry Reid, whose state hosts the top secret Area 51 Air Force facility, welcomed release of the videos.
‘I’m glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage, but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available,’ he tweeted.
‘The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications. The American people deserve to be informed.’