What does the government know about unidentified aerial phenomena? This week, we look at what the latest statements from government officials suggests about this.

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: What the Government Knows

unidentified aerial phenomena

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Intelligence Brief, where we’ll be examining the latest developments regarding unidentified aerial phenomena and what the government currently knows about it. Topics we’ll be addressing include 1) Senator Marco Rubio’s recent comments on how seriously the issue is being taken by government agencies, 2) what former DNI John Ratcliffe’s statements indicate about information agencies might possess, and 3) why, if there is too little data supporting the existence of such phenomena, the government has steadfastly collected information about it since the end of World War II.

Before we begin, a few items we’ve been covering over at The Debrief this week that are worthy of mention include a group of scientists who suggest that evidence of alien technologies may be closer to home than we would have ever guessed, possibly even on the moon or in Earth orbit. Also, G. S. Jensen’s piece on faster than light speed travel looks at why this science-fiction technology is coming at us faster than we thought. Meanwhile the Army has been developing new weapons applications for plasma-treated nanoparticles, and on the more shadowy side of government, did you know that there was a documentary film made on-location at Area 51?

With that out of the way, let’s analyze what recent statements by politicians and officials on unidentified aerial phenomena might indicate about what the government has, and what the UAP Task Force’s forthcoming report to the Senate Intelligence Committee might entail.


Unidentified Aerial Phenomena “being taken more seriously now that it ever has been.”

Last week, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliff made an appearance on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News program during which he was asked about information the government has been collecting on UFOs.

“There are a lot more sightings than have been made public,” Ratcliffe said. “And when we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain.”

Ratcliffe went on to describe objects capable of “movements that are hard to replicate that we don’t have the technology for,” observed by members of the military “moving at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”

While the objects Ratcliffe was describing may be able to move silently, his remarks certainly made some noise. Quotes from the former DNI proliferated across headlines and social media sites, ramping up speculations about what might be contained within a forthcoming report the Navy’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force will provide to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June.

John Ratcliffe
(Credit: Texas A&M)

However, questions were raised just days later about whether or not the report would be ready in time for its initial 180-day deadline, as well as whether any information it contained would present conclusions about what unidentified aerial phenomena observed by members of the military might represent.

“I don’t know if we’re gonna know,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Wednesday, adding that he was not sure the UAP Task Force will “have reached a hard conclusion about what they’re dealing with, and there may be more questions—or new questions—than full answers after the fact.”

Rubio, whose appearance with Bartiromo Wednesday followed a brief statement he provided on camera for TMZ on Monday, was only the latest of several appearances since 2020 where the Florida Senator, who is also Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had spoken about UFOs. Rubio added on Wednesday that the subject is “being taken more seriously now that it ever has been.”


Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: What Are They?

Although determinations about what unidentified aerial phenomena might represent—or even whether the Navy’s Task Force will complete its report on time—remains in question, some of the information that is reportedly being collected by the Pentagon has managed to generate interest, especially in the days since former DNI Ratcliffe’s comments on Fox News.

“There have been sightings all over the world,” Ratcliffe told Bartiromo during his appearance, “and when we talk about sightings, the other thing I will tell you is it’s not just a pilot, or just a satellite, or some intelligence collection. Usually, we have multiple sensors that are picking up these things, and so again, some of these are just unexplained phenomenon, and there’s actually quite a few more than have been made public. So I think it will be healthy for as much of this information to get out there as possible, so that the American people can see some of the things we have been dealing with.”

Ratcliffe and Rubio are the most recent politicians with access to information from intelligence agencies that have spoken about the ever-controversial subject of UAP, although their statements follow similar comments made by others in government in recent months. Last April, former Senator Harry Reid Tweeted his approval of the Pentagon’s decision to release authorized versions of three U.S. Navy videos purportedly displaying aerial objects which it designated “unidentified.”

“I’m glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage,” Reid said in an April 27, 2020 Tweet, “but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available. The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications. The American people deserve to be informed.”

Harry Reid
(Public Domain)

Of course, such statements leave the public wondering what, precisely, various United States government agencies have collected. While Reid has said that current releases like those by the Pentagon last year only represent the tip of the iceberg, a statement which seems to see corroboration by former DNI Ratcliffe’s admissions about satellite imagery and multi-sensory data collected in relation to such phenomena, a key takeaway from all this might have been what Marco Rubio offered on Wednesday, when he noted that it seems unlikely that by June 1 the UAP Task Force will have reached any conclusions about what the phenomena or potential technologies being observed by government might represent.

Why is this significant? Based on everything we have been told by political leaders who have been in a position to have seen or received briefings on what data the government does have, it appears to support two conclusions: 1) that yes, there are phenomena being observed with technologies currently at our disposal, and 2) that it seems unlikely any government agencies have a clear picture yet on their origins, or what they might entail.


The Government’s Long History of UAP Data Collection

According to an official U.S. Air Force statement from 1980, “There has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as ‘unidentified’ represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge.”

Despite such official statements from over the years regarding what UAP may or may not be evidence of, one thing there is plenty of evidence for is that the government has continued to gather information about the subject. Since at least 1947, data has been collected by various agencies, and documents representing some of this information have been released and made available over the years at the websites of the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Air Force, and more recently, the U.S. Navy and its videos which appear to depict unidentified aerial objects, to name just a few. On account of the interest the subject has generated, the U.S. National Archives has also posted resources at its website about UFO documents released by government agencies.

No matter what one may think about unidentified aerial phenomena sightings and the question of whether any tangible reality exists behind them, one thing sets them apart from other speculative scientific interests people have pursued since the end of World War II: the fact that the United States government, for good or for ill, has certainly kept tabs on the issue. That alone is of significance, although comments in recent days, as we have seen, do strongly suggest that some of the information various agencies have obtained may indicate something of greater substance than past statements have indicated.

With the forthcoming report of the UAP Task Force, the public may finally get at least some limited perspective on the most recent data our government has obtained in its long tradition of collecting data on aerial phenomena, the likes of which Senators Rubio, Reid, former DNI Ratcliffe, and several other politicians and members of government across the political spectrum have already said it possesses.

As Reid said last year, “The American people deserve to be informed.” It’s about time that information was made available to the public.

That concludes this week’s edition of The Intelligence Brief. Don’t forget to subscribe and get email updates from us here, or read past editions of The Intelligence Brief at our website. And as always, if you have a tip or other information you’d like to send along directly to me, you can email me at micah [@] the debrief.org.


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