Does anybody care about UFOs anymore?
The Defense Department's latest disclosures about UFOs have not made a dent in the news cycle.
We live in times that are so crazy that most people may simply not have the energy to care when the U.S. military reveals what it knows about UFOs.
In April, the Pentagon officially released videos taken by Navy pilots showing strange flying machines that no U.S. government official can identify. And on May 12, the military website The War Zone first published official reports of eight close encounters between Navy pilots and UFOs.
Under normal circumstances, these revelations might pique the American public’s interest, but at the moment folks are a little stressed out about other things, including – but not limited to – the Biblical plague sweeping the nation, a second Great Depression, murder hornets, and the cancelation of “Love Island.” (This reporter is still waiting for producers from “The Bachelor” to call him back about a possible guest appearance next season.)
More than folks noted on Twitter that the Defense Department’s latest disclosures about UFOs barely made a dent in the news cycle.
“Hey so the government said there are UFOs and we literally don’t give a s**t,” is one of many tweets that shares the same theme.
Your friend and humble narrator needs to interject at this point to make clear the Pentagon has not said it has evidence that alien ships have visited earth.
The Defense Department has acknowledged that military pilots sometimes see things that cannot be explained immediately, said Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough.
“It remains characterized as ‘unidentified’ if we cannot definitively identify it,” Gough told Task & Purpose.
Still, the fact the U.S. military is more comfortable with pilots reporting unidentified aircraft is a big deal because those pilots should be taken seriously when they document sightings of advanced technology that cannot be identified.
“I think the military is doing a pretty good job,” said retired Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “They want their pilots to report strange sightings – and they didn’t do that before. So I think it’s a step forward. I think the military is much more in tune with what’s actually happening rather than trying to cover it up.”
Reid told Task & Purpose that he believes public interest in UFOs remains high, but the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has simply drowned out all other news stories. Nothing else will be able to break into the news cycle until the disease is brought under control.
He also said people continue to thank him for securing funding for Defense Department contractors to investigate unidentified aircraft while he was still in office.
“I wish other members of the Senate today would show an interest in this,” Reid said. “I guess they’re afraid to out of fear [of being asked]: Why are they spending time on flying saucers? Never bothered me. I don’t know if it hurt me or not. I thought it was interesting and still do.”
On a related note, Reid said he has visited Area 51 in Nevada but he cannot talk about what he saw there because the work done at the installation is classified.
To UFO chronicler Danny Silva, even sporadic media coverage of UFOs is encouraging because each story chips away at the stigma surrounding sightings of unidentified aircraft.
“The United States does not have full control of our airspace that it claims to,” Silva told Task & Purpose. “That is an uncomfortable fact the armed forces, politicians and the American people need to come to grips with. Moving forward the United States must show greater resolve. These issues must be dealt with sooner than later in the name of security. That will become exceedingly clear to the mainstream as each story continues to break.”
Even though the Pentagon’s recent statements about unidentified flying objects have not gained traction in the media, UFO enthusiasts are thrilled that it has become acceptable to talk about this issue, said Joe Buchman, a retired college professor who twice ran for Congress on a platform of releasing more information about UFO encounters. (Full disclosure: Buchman taught this reporter at Indiana University years ago.)
“Inside the UFO community, this is powerful stuff,” Buchman told Task & Purpose. “Where people used to feel embarrassed or ashamed even, I think they feel vindicated.”
The issue of whether humanity is alone in the cosmos is the question of our time, Buchman said. That is why he has called for whistleblowers to be protected if they reveal information about UFO sightings. He also said he believes defense contractors should be released from non-disclosure agreements relating to UFOs.
But Buchman also said he understands if the government needs to keep some information about UFOs secret, such as what the power source for alien ships is.
“Maybe that’s an energy source that could easily be converted into a planet-killing bomb,” Buchman said. “I don’t know. There may be good reasons for keeping that classified.”
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Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for nearly 15 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.