U.S. Navy Denies Clearing UFO Videos for Public Release

An image from the “Gimbal” video, recorded by a Navy jet fighter's infrared targeting camera during an encounter with an “unidentified aerial phenomenon.”

An image from the “Gimbal” video, recorded by a Navy jet fighter's infrared targeting camera during an encounter with an “unidentified aerial phenomenon.”

A series of statements received by John Greenewald, Jr. of The Black Vault indicate that the U.S. Navy never cleared for public release three UFO videos distributed by Luis Elizondo and To the Stars…Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA).

Elizondo is a former Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence officer and program head for the secret Pentagon UFO project named the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), who currently serves as the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA) Director of Global Security and Special Programs.

To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science is a public benefit corporation created in 2017 to study UFOs.

“The Navy has not released the videos to the general public,” said Joseph Gradisher, official spokesperson for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare.

Gradisher’s statement followed one received earlier this year from Pentagon Spokesperson Susan Gough, who told Greenewald that “the videos were never officially released to the general public by the [Department of Defense] and should still be withheld.”

Gradisher’s statement also acknowledged the phenomena within the videos—referred to respectively as “FLIR1,” “Gimbal,” and “GoFast”—as “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

"The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena,” he said “The ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ (UAP) terminology is used [instead of UFO] because it provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges.”

According to Greenewald, “The Navy’s new statements also contradict information contained in a string of e-mails recently released by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

Those statements include one in which Elizondo requested access to the videos to be used in a database of aerial threats from unmanned systems, such as drones. That request was ultimately granted to Elizondo with “[U.S. Government] Use Only” permission.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles (balloons, commercial UAVs, private drones such as quadcopters, etc) continue to pose a potential threat to DoD facilities, equipment, and location. Army, Navy, and Air Force have all acknowledged the potential threat by UAS’ to DoD equities but no single UNCLASSIFIED repository exists to share this Information across all stakeholders.” Elizondo said in the email. “Our collective purpose is to eventually establish an UNCLASSIFIED database or ‘Community of Interest’ of related signature data to be accessible by stakeholders such as DIA, the Navy, Defense Industry partners, and perhaps even State, Local & Tribal authorities to catalog and identify specific UAS threats to national security and/or DoD equities.”

Greenewald pointed out that nowhere in the correspondence was any reference made to "UFOs, UAPs or anything 'unidentified.'"

The Navy also said that, although the videos are considered “unclassified,” they still require review prior to public release.

Greenewald asserted that "multiple statements and written records now show that the approval required for 'public release' never took place, and the claims by TTSA that the videos represent, 'official evidence released by the US government,' remain unfounded."

Neither TTSA nor Elizondo have responded to requests for a statement regarding the Navy’s denial, added Greenewald.

This news follows the chain of information slowly released through TTSA and government sources since 2017, when news broke of the Pentagon’s secretive UFO project—known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

Most recently, TTSA claimed to have "acquired multiple pieces of metamaterials and an archive of initial analysis and research for their controversial ADAM Research Project. ADAM, an acronym for Acquisition and Data Analysis of Materials, is an academic research program focused on the exploitation of exotic materials for technological innovation."

A few months prior to that, five Navy pilots reportedly told the New York Times that unidentified flying objects were an “almost daily” occurrence from the summer of 2014 through March 2015; two of the pilots, Lieutenant Ryan Graves and Lieutenant Danny Accoin agreed to go on record about their experiences with both the New York Times and for the History Channel UFO docuseries Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation—a project created in tandem with TTSA. The pilots’ testimony prompted several senators to request and receive private briefings on the encounters. In response to questions regarding the pilots’ reports, President Trump has gone on record as saying that he does “not particularly” believe that Navy pilots are seeing UFOs.

The narrative built from those accounts is not without controversy in the UFO community, having received some pushback from researchers. That argument stems mostly from the seemingly cyclical nature of the government’s public interest in UFOs, and the associated disinformation therewith.

It is unclear at this time if the president’s statements reflect anything other than a general disinterest in the subject.

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