The U.S. government wants to take reports of unidentified flying objects more seriously based on several unexplained sightings reported by military pilots over the years, though there’s little evidence that Earth is being visited by aliens, according to a new intelligence report.
The Director of National Intelligence said in a report released Friday that pilots will be encouraged to report “unexplained aerial phenomena” -- the government’s preferred term for UFO sightings -- in an effort to collect additional data. That’s a change from the government’s previous stance toward the phenomena, which often involved ignoring or downplaying reports.
The report calls for an effort to “standardize the reporting, consolidate the data and deepen the analysis” of UAP occurences, saying reported events likely fall into a swath of categories. That includes airborne clutter, like birds and balloons, natural atmospheric phenomena and even “foreign adversary systems.” A final “other” category would be a catch-all for unexplained events. The word “alien” doesn’t appear in the document.
The DNI report follows the Pentagon’s formal release earlier this year of videos -- long circulated in the public domain -- showing American military pilots tracking unidentified flying objects that rotated or quickly switched directions in mid-air.
Earthly speculation for the objects has ranged from technical glitches in military software to evidence of high-tech and secret Russian or Chinese weaponry -- or evidence that humans aren’t alone in the universe.
The nine-page release followed a closed-door briefing on its contents last week to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees by the FBI and Navy officials.
Lawmakers, including House Intelligence Committee Democrat Michael Quigley of Illinois, said the report is most notable for a shift in attitude by intelligence and military officials from decades of publicly dismissing reports of unidentified aerial phenomena spotted in the sky to seeking and uncovering more knowledge about them.
Representative Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat who chairs a House subcommittee that considers unexplained aerial phenomena, says he intends to hold a public hearing on the topic at some point.
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