Right in time for Halloween, U.S. intelligence agencies were due on Monday to deliver a classified progress report on UFOs to Congress, with an unclassified summary of the report expected to be posted online later this week. Earlier this month, NASA also announced the 16 members of its new unclassified independent team, consisting of prominent scientists, an astronaut and a science journalist, to look at the phenomenon from “a scientific perspective.”
Monday’s report comes after Congress called for the establishment of a permanent office to study UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena, the government’s new and improved term for UFOs) at the Pentagon last year and then held its first public hearing on the topic in more than 50 years this spring. That hearing discussed an unclassified report issued by a Department of Defense task force in 2021.
Many UFO investigation proponents like myself were underwhelmed by the Pentagon’s unclassified 2021 report, which offered an explanation for only one of the 144 incidents the department said were being investigated. But at least it correctly acknowledged that it couldn’t rule out any explanation, including extraterrestrial origins. After all, in some of the incidents, Navy pilots publicly stated that they’d encountered exotic objects that were “not of this world” and “accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
But leaked details and communications from officials ahead of Monday’s report and the announcement of NASA’s new team suggested that some in the government are eager to put the issue to rest without a full, open-minded investigation — just as it did in the last open attempt to get to the bottom of the phenomena back in the 1960s.
It’s particularly frustrating that NASA seems to be drawing its conclusions before even really getting started. In its tweet announcing the UAP panel members 10 days ago, NASA declared: “There is no evidence supporting the idea that UAP are extraterrestrial in origin.” This statement seems to prematurely signal its conclusions so no one will be surprised when the final report repeats the same finding.
Meanwhile, the headline of a New York Times article on Friday based on what it said was classified information from the intelligence report read, “Many Military U.F.O. Reports Are Just Foreign Spying or Airborne Trash.” Nodding to the Halloween timing, the author of the article, Julian Barnes, tweeted what might have been the subtext: UFOs are nothing “spooky or hypersonic” — in other words, just ordinary things, there’s nothing to see here and it’s time to move on.