The newly released US intelligence community report on unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP) offers more questions than answers. It doesn’t mention aliens, says UAP might be a national security threat – and asks for more funding.
Released on Friday afternoon by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the entire unclassified report clocks in at only nine pages, including two pages of appendices with definitions of terms.
The dataset it is based on relies on US government reports of incidents between November 2004 and March 2021. However, no standardized reporting mechanism existed until the US Navy set one up in 2019, and the Air Force adopted it the following year.
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.
The report mentions 144 reports, of which 80 “involved observation with multiple sensors.” While some UAP “may be attributable to sensor anomalies,” most “probably do represent physical objects” given they were “registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.”
If and when the incidents are resolved, the report said, the US intelligence community believes they will break down into five potential categories: “airborne clutter” such as birds, balloons, drones or plastic bags; natural atmospheric phenomena such as ice crystals; US government or industry research projects, foreign adversary systems, and “other.”
ODNI was “unable to confirm” that classified research and development programs by the US government or industry “accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected.” Some UAP sightings “may be” technologies developed by China, Russia or someone else.
If that is the case, UAPs would “represent a national security challenge” as well as a threat to flight safety, but US spies said they “currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary.”