Pentagon: We have no evidence of aliens. UFO fans: So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

'We’re pretty much back where we started.'

The Defense Department has reportedly not found any evidence that the unidentified aircraft encountered by Navy pilots come from another planet, but diehard UFO enthusiasts remain undeterred.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Defense Department are expected to present Congress with a report on so-called “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” later this month. The report was mandated by the fiscal 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act.

Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper of The New York Times first revealed that intelligence officials who analyzed more than 120 sightings of unidentified aircraft reported by Navy pilots did not find any proof that the strange craft were extraterrestrial; however, they were also unable to explain how these aircraft were able to reach seemingly other-worldly speeds and maneuver like nothing built on Earth.

In one such incident, two Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz encountered a large object shaped like a Tic Tac back in November 2004. The object later disappeared in front of the two jets.

Former Navy Chief Petty Officer Sean Cahill said he was standing watch on the bridge of the cruiser USS Princeton at the time when the ship’s radar was tracking several of the unidentified aircraft, which could instantaneously accelerate to hypersonic speeds and drop from 80,000 feet to sea level.

The Princeton’s radar tracked the Tic Tac object observed by the two Super Hornets as it moved 60 miles in a second, Cahill said.

Both the Defense Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment about the Times story on the upcoming report to Congress.

The Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force is working with intelligence officials on the report, which the Director of National Intelligence will ultimately present to Congress, said Defense Department spokeswoman Sue Gough.

UFO enthusiasts have been anxiously waiting for the report on unidentified aircraft to become public in the hopes that it will mark the beginning of the U.S. government’s “disclosure” of hidden evidence that extraterrestrial life has visited Earth.

Naturally, many UFO experts were not happy with the Times’ reporting that appeared to pour cold water on their hopes that the hard proof of alien life that they have sought for so long might finally be revealed.

Christopher Wolford, a private UFO researcher, told Task & Purpose that he is waiting to see the report itself.

“It’s hard to take seriously what the NYT said with anonymous sources,” Wolford said.

When the New York Times’ story was first published on Thursday, several UFO enthusiasts on Twitter objected to the initial headline “Government Finds No Evidence That Aerial Sightings Were Alien Spacecraft” because the story made clear that officials could not definitively rule out the possibility that the aircraft that Navy pilots saw could be alien in origin.

The story’s headline was later updated to “U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alien Technology in Flying Objects, but Can’t Rule It Out, Either.”

When asked if the change came as a result of criticism from UFO enthusiasts, New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told Task & Purpose: “It was a routine edit to sharpen the headline.”

For Stephen Bassett, who has advocated since 1996 for the U.S. government to lift its “truth embargo” on extraterrestrial life, the main takeaway from the New York Times story is that most of the unexplained aircraft reported by Navy pilots are not examples of advanced U.S. government technology.

“If it’s not our technology — and our technology is the most advanced in the world – what are the options?” said Bassett, who is executive director of the Paradigm Research Group. “There’s one option: Extraterrestrial.”

However, Bassett said he also feels the Pentagon is not being forthcoming about what it really knows about alien visits to Earth.

“They have ET [extraterrestrial] bodies; they have a crash vehicle — maybe several,” Bassett said. “So, of course they know there is alien technology. But there’s no way that they can publicly say that we have confirmed that because in order to confirm it they would literally have to have one of the craft — and you’re not allowed to say that.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not answer directly when Task & Purpose asked him on Friday if the Defense Department does in fact have alien bodies and space ships.

“The UAP Task Force is really designed to take a look at these Unexplained Aerial Phenomena to try to help us get a better understanding of them,” Kirby said at a Pentagon news conference. “Again, I’m not going to get ahead of the report that the DNI [Director of National Intelligence] will submit that we are helping, obviously, and providing input to. And, I think I’ll just leave it at that.”

Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for the British Ministry of Defence, said he believes the findings of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena report do little to advance the public’s understanding of the issue.

“On the one hand, it says: We haven’t found any evidence that any of this is extraterrestrial,” Pope said. “In the next – if the leak is to be believed – it says: But neither have we ruled out the possibility. So, we’re pretty much back where we started.”

But even if the upcoming report does not include evidence that aliens have visited Earth, the UFO community can take comfort in the fact that American intelligence agencies are far from infallible. After all, the same intelligence community that found no evidence of aliens also thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Featured image: UFO flying in the sky, illustration. (Photo by: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via AP Images)

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Jeff Schogol

Jeff Schogolis the senior Pentagon reporter for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 15 years. You can email him at schogol@taskandpurpose.com, direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter, or reach him on WhatsApp and Signal at 703-909-6488. Contact the author here.

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