Pentagon Admits to Interest in 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena'
Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman Christopher Sherwood admitted in a recent statement that the secret government program known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) “did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)," according to the New York Post.
Furthermore, despite the program ostensibly coming to an end in 2012, the Pentagon still investigates sightings of unidentified flying objects, he said.
“The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland,” Sherwood said. “The department will continue to investigate, through normal procedures, reports of unidentified aircraft encountered by US military aviators in order to ensure defense of the homeland and protection against strategic surprise by our nation’s adversaries.”
Former British Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope referred to Sherwood’s statement as a “bombshell revelation”.
“Previous official statements were ambiguous and left the door open to the possibility that AATIP was simply concerned with next-generation aviation threats from aircraft, missiles and drones—as skeptics claimed," he said. "This new admission makes it clear that they really did study what the public would call ‘UFOs’.”
But, said John Greenewald Jr. of popular UFO website The Black Vault, “we should always question claims and seek additional evidence.”
In the New York Post article, Greenewald is quoted as saying that he's "shocked they said it that way, and the reason is, is they’ve seemingly worked very hard not to say that" and that the statement is "pretty powerful...because now we have actual evidence—official evidence—that said, 'Yes, AATIP did deal with UAP cases, phenomena, videos, photos, whatever.'”
Greenewald later qualified his quoted remarks with a written statement posted to social media:
For the record, I don't agree with their "alien spacecraft" reference in the article. In addition, with the power of editing, what did not get conveyed was that I spoke about Mr. Luis Elizondo's claims that AATIP related to UAPs and we need to build off that to create a picture of what AATIP was all about. I have stressed for quite some time, that although those claims are good for one person to make, we should always question claims and seek additional evidence. Even Mr. Elizondo said in the beginning days, we should question even him.
I am glad that there are others out there who are pushing for answers, but more people need to do even more. Many are putting all their trust into one source, and although that might work on some occasions, we need to push for additional answers so things are more concrete and accurate. There are still many answers that need to be found in regards to this story, but it is exciting to see information start to emerge.
As a reminder, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where Mr. Elizondo worked, has recently granted two of my appeals for documents. Since those grants, they have denied requesters and forwarded them to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). This never sat right with me, and it took well more than a year, but I won those appeals which are now forcing that agency, to search for and hopefully release, documents. These wins, no matter what your beliefs are on AATIP, Mr. Elizondo etc., should be exciting for all. I am eager to get those results, and will post them when I receive them.
The DoD statement came just weeks after the U.S. Navy revealed that they were drafting new guidelines for personnel to report “unidentified aircraft”. That admission was almost immediately tempered by the announcement that the Navy had no plans to release any information regarding those reports.
Many are hopeful that these recent announcements by governmental agencies represent progress towards UFO disclosure, since the new reporting guidelines—and general acknowledgment of the issue—could represent increased public acceptance of UFOs, and may come, at least in part, as a result of the frustration felt by pilots who have witnessed the seemingly impossible aircraft.
“Imagine you see highly advanced vehicles, they appear on radar systems, they look bizarre, no one knows where they’re from. This happens on a recurring basis, and no one does anything,” said Chris Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official and ex-staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee; currently employed by To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science. “Pilots are upset, and they’re trying to help wake up a slumbering system.”
To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science (TTSA) is a public benefit corporation created in 2017 to study UFOs.
Those involved with TTSA have slowly disseminated information on UFOs since news of the Pentagon’s secret UFO program broke in December of 2017, but the speed at which information has so far been released has met with doubt and impatience from many in the UFO community.
Representatives for TTSA say that the delays in UFO disclosure are due to the government’s hesitancy to publicly acknowledge the issue.
“Right now, we have a situation in which UFOs and UAPs are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored. We have systems that exclude that information and dump it," Mellon said. "In a lot of cases [military personnel] don’t know what to do with that information—like satellite data or a radar that sees something going Mach 3. They will dump [the data] because that is not a traditional aircraft or missile.”
However, recent statements by Luis Elizondo, former Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence officer and program head for the secret Pentagon UFO project named the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), were more optimistic.
On December 14th, 2018, Elizondo said in an interview with journalist George Knapp that "people would be surprised to know just how frequent and the volume at which [UFOs] are apparently recorded and observed by active duty military people on missions," and hinted at "new information" about which, if it got out, people would be "very, very surprised."
The accumulated UFO-related releases of the last two years have many assuming that the “unidentified aircraft” mentioned in the Navy’s statement regarding new guidelines includes UFOs; something supported by the statements of Mellon and Elizondo, and now, seemingly, by the Pentagon.
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