Inside the U.F.O. Report – The New York Times



michael barbaro

From the New York Occasions, I’m Michael Barbaro. That is The Every day.

At present, after years of secretly investigating U.F.O.s, U.S. intelligence officers have launched an unclassified report summarizing all the pieces they discovered.

Kevin Roose spoke with our colleague, nationwide safety reporter Julian Barnes, about what we now know and whether or not this report settles something.

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It’s Wednesday, June 30.

kevin roose

Julian. Greetings, fellow earthling.

julian barnes

Greetings. Greetings from planet Earth.

kevin roose

So final week, we obtained this long-awaited authorities report about U.F.O.s. And we’re going to get into the report, as a result of I’ve loads of questions on it, however first I simply need to sort of acknowledge how unusual and thrilling it’s that I’m right here speaking to you, a reporter who covers U.S. intelligence companies, about unidentified flying objects.

julian barnes

Yeah. Issues have come a great distance. However one little correction, Kevin. We don’t name them U.F.O.s anymore. They’re now referred to as U.A.P.s, which stands for unidentified aerial phenomena.

kevin roose

Very fancy.

julian barnes

Very fancy.

kevin roose

However I truly don’t fairly perceive why this report actually exists. Why was this revealed, and why was it revealed final week?

julian barnes

Nicely, again in 2017, my colleagues at The New York Occasions revealed an article that exposed the existence of a secret authorities program accumulating and analyzing data involving U.F.O. sightings.

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The New York Occasions reported this weekend that the Pentagon has lastly acknowledged the existence of a particular program that investigated studies of U.F.O.s.

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The undertaking was referred to as the Superior Aviation Risk Identification Program.

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This system started in 2007 and ended 5 years later, however it’s —

julian barnes

Not solely did the Occasions expose the existence of this shadowy program, however it additionally in the end revealed three leaked movies of precise sightings by Navy pilots.

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New launched video from 2015 exhibits an encounter between U.S. Navy pilots and a few sort of ufo.

julian barnes

The primary one was again from 2004. And it exhibits an object that’s white and oval, and it’s flying low over the ocean. It churns the water. It creates a disturbance.

The subsequent set of movies come from this tour of the united statesS. Theodore Roosevelt, which, in 2014 and 2015, was off the coast of Virginia and Florida. And there have been a collection of encounters between Navy pilots and a attainable object.

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OK!

julian barnes

We have now two movies.

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[INAUDIBLE]

julian barnes

The primary of those exhibits an object zooming over the ocean waves. And we hear the pilots speaking about it.

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[INAUDIBLE]

julian barnes

They’re questioning what they’re seeing, and one says, wow, what’s that, man? Have a look at it fly.

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Oh my gosh, dude. Wow

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[INTERPOSING VOICES]

julian barnes

You hear the amazement of their voice. And there’s one other video, too, with an odd object that’s flying in opposition to the wind.

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There’s a complete fleet of them, look on the SA. My gosh.

julian barnes

The pilots maintain saying it’s a drone, however you possibly can sort of sense that they’re unsure about it.

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That’s not [INAUDIBLE] is it?

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[INAUDIBLE]

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But when there’s —

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Have a look at that factor.

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It’s rotating.

julian barnes

So these movies are on the market in 2017 and 2019, and it caught the eye of the general public, the Pentagon and the Congress. So in 2020, Congress demanded the federal government subject an unclassified report telling the world what it knew about these U.A.P.s.

kevin roose

And that’s the report that we obtained on Friday.

julian barnes

That’s proper. That’s the report.

kevin roose

OK, so let’s crack this report open. It’s a PDF. It’s from the director of nationwide intelligence. And it’s referred to as “Preliminary Evaluation of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” I assume you’ve gotten it in entrance of you. And I believe the primary factor I need to know, and the primary factor I believe lots of people listening in all probability need to know, proper off the bat is: Does the U.S. authorities know in regards to the existence of aliens or alien life on Earth?

julian barnes

It’s not going to be that simple, Kevin. No, the federal government didn’t say there are aliens on the market. As a lot as individuals might need needed it, the report isn’t a deep dive into extraterrestrials. However what it does cowl is a complete vary of what is perhaps on the market. The report talks about 144 incidents, 144 unexplained phenomenon that the U.S. army recorded or noticed, took footage of. However there’s not loads of element about most of this stuff. They continue to be sort of murky.

kevin roose

And what makes these 144 issues — incidents — attention-grabbing, versus simply being blurry footage or optical illusions?

julian barnes

Nicely, we get the sense from studying the report that almost all of those 144 aren’t that attention-grabbing. However there’s a subset, a subset of 18 which can be totally different. They exhibit uncommon habits. A few of them are accelerating quick, quicker than something the US army has the expertise for, or a few of these 18 are transferring and not using a seen supply of propulsion. And it’s these movies and observations which have the curiosity of the intelligence group.

kevin roose

So a small minority of those incidents, like 18 of them, aren’t simply sort of unidentified issues within the sky that some army pilot noticed — they really appear to be demonstrating habits that defies the legal guidelines of physics?

julian barnes

Nicely, I don’t know if it defies the legal guidelines of physics, however it defies earthly expertise as we perceive it.

kevin roose

And has the federal government discovered a option to clarify these 144 incidents?

julian barnes

They’ve defined certainly one of them. 143 stay unexplained.

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kevin roose

Wait a minute. So what you’re telling me is that the federal government investigated 144 U.A.P.s, issues within the air, and of these 144, they solely managed to give you a definitive rationalization for one?

julian barnes

That’s proper.

kevin roose

And what was the reason for that one?

julian barnes

It was a big deflating balloon.

kevin roose

Huh.

julian barnes

We don’t know what the reason for these 143 incidents is perhaps, however on this report, the federal government gave us 5 fundamental classes of attainable explanations — kind of 5 methods to consider how these is perhaps defined or understood. And even when it doesn’t resolve the 143, it offers us a mind-set about it.

And that one that’s defined, that giant deflating balloon, the federal government locations that one of their first class — the somewhat boring airborne litter.

kevin roose

So we’re speaking balloons, birds, identical to something random within the air that’s not truly all that thrilling.

julian barnes

That’s proper.

kevin roose

OK, in order that’s one attainable rationalization. What else do now we have?

julian barnes

One other one is pure phenomenon. I imply, there’s a lot on this Earth that we haven’t defined or don’t totally perceive, and could possibly be issues like ball lightning or meteorological results that in the first place seem to a pilot or an infrared digital camera as one thing loopy, however are simply one thing that we don’t see day-after-day however are very a lot of this world.

kevin roose

Obtained it. So these two classes — airborne litter and pure phenomena — sort of really feel like essentially the most kind of mundane explanations for what these phenomena is perhaps. What’s the third class?

julian barnes

The third class is a U.S. secret undertaking. And that’s in all probability the primary of the attention-grabbing solutions. May this be a secret American drone that was noticed by the Navy pilots?

kevin roose

Julian, I’m just a little confused. Like, why would the U.S. authorities’s personal army expertise be a attainable rationalization right here? Like, wouldn’t the federal government already know fairly definitively whether or not it was their very own stuff up there or not?

julian barnes

You already know, it’s sort of humorous as a result of the federal government is asking themselves the identical query. I used to be speaking to an official who informed me a few senior basic who was getting a briefing in regards to the U.A.P. report, and turned to the briefer and mentioned, don’t we all know if these are our categorized applications? And the briefer mentioned, we don’t suppose they’re.

Now, it appears completely loopy. I imply, shouldn’t the U.S. know whether or not it’s their categorized black program or not? And I believe the reply is that they suppose it isn’t their applications, however they’re leaving the choice open as a result of possibly there’s stuff they don’t know. Possibly a U.S. contractor was testing one thing, and the federal government wasn’t totally conscious of it. Possibly there’s nonetheless corners of categorized applications they haven’t checked out but. So that they have been fairly clear they don’t have any proof that that is any secret U.S. applications, however they’re not ruling it out fully both.

kevin roose

Obtained it. OK. So let’s speak in regards to the fourth class of attainable rationalization right here within the report. What’s that?

julian barnes

That’s superior expertise developed by an adversarial energy, on this case Russia or China. An instance could be a stealthy drone or a complicated hypersonic plane, which means one thing that may journey far past the pace of sound. The important thing aspect right here is expertise that the US doesn’t have in its arsenal.

kevin roose

This looks like it could be a foul state of affairs, proper? I imply, if certainly one of our adversaries had developed expertise not solely that was extra superior than U.S. army expertise, however that was so superior that we didn’t even perceive the way it labored.

julian barnes

Yeah, that might be very unhealthy on two fronts. One, it could imply our army scientists had fallen behind potential adversaries, and it could imply that American intelligence had missed these advances and didn’t perceive what Russia and China have been able to fielding. However we must always foot stamp that the report finds no proof, there isn’t any proof that that is superior Russia or Chinese language expertise.

kevin roose

You mentioned there are 5 classes of attainable rationalization for these U.A.P.s. We’ve gone by 4. So what’s the final one?

julian barnes

That’s the catch-all class referred to as “Different.”

kevin roose

Is that simply code for aliens?

julian barnes

Nicely, sure and no.

michael barbaro

We’ll be proper again.

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kevin roose

So Julian, let’s discuss this fifth class, this “different” class.

julian barnes

Sure. The “different” class is the catch-all class for the issues the federal government can’t clarify. They usually hinted strongly that these Navy movies that we’ve been watching time and again are in that class. However you already know, they didn’t clarify any additional. They actually didn’t point out aliens, however they didn’t additionally give us some other examples of what may fall into the opposite class. Different simply means they’ll’t clarify it.

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kevin roose

So it looks like they’re steering away from instantly naming the one factor that lots of people have loads of questions on, which is extraterrestrial life on Earth, aliens. Is there a cause for that? Like, why do they appear to be going out of their option to keep away from mentioning that idea?

julian barnes

They very a lot are going out of their option to not say the phrase aliens, or do something to acknowledge that the phenomenon could possibly be extraterrestrial. That’s a sign of how unlikely they suppose this rationalization is.

kevin roose

However on condition that we all know that there are a ton of individuals on the market who’ve thought for many years that the federal government is engaged on this large cover-up — Space 51, Roswell, you already know the tales — on condition that they clearly perceive that that idea is on the market, why not handle it extra totally? Why not simply be direct and say it’s not aliens, or it’s very, not possible to be aliens?

julian barnes

I believe that’s an awesome query. It’s one I’ve requested. I’ve questioned why they’re no more direct about saying that. And I really feel like by failing to categorize this stuff, by failing to state publicly that there’s no proof of alien visitation, that they’re, the truth is, giving life to one thing that some individuals need to actually stamp out.

kevin roose

I don’t know, I suppose I’m simply questioning, like, why they don’t need to take that significantly as a risk. Is it simply because they don’t need to feed into conspiracy theories, or is there another cause?

julian barnes

I imply, I believe the reason being the U.S. authorities doesn’t suppose that that is how we’re going to seek out indicators of alien life. Critical scientists suppose the best way we’re going to get to proof of different types of life on this universe isn’t by a fuzzy video taken on the floor of Earth. It’s not by a Navy focusing on pod. It’s from a extremely highly effective telescope. A extra critical scientist thinks that’s the place we’re going to seek out proof that we’re not alone on this universe, not from a flying saucer video.

kevin roose

And simply humor me right here. I do know I’m going to sound just a little bit like a conspiracy theorist right here, however we all know that the federal government has not all the time been completely forthcoming about what it knew about U.F.O.s or U.A.P.s. I imply, we didn’t even know that the federal government was trying into these things in any respect till our colleagues reported about it a number of years in the past. So why ought to we consider what the intelligence group, what the federal government is saying now? What cause do now we have to suppose that they’re telling us all the pieces they know?

julian barnes

That’s a vital level.

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There’s a lengthy historical past of the U.S. authorities permitting U.F.O. theories to develop with a view to masks or disguise what they’re as much as, proper? The Roswell crash was a U.S. army balloon designed to kind of spy on Soviet nuclear assessments.

kevin roose

Remind me of what occurred there.

julian barnes

So again in 1947, there was this high-tech balloon that the U.S. army developed and was testing close to Roswell, New Mexico. It was designed to gather information on Soviet nuclear assessments to get a greater sense of how far the Soviet Union had superior. It crashed. Individuals took footage within the native press. Newspaper images have been revealed. The army mentioned it was a crashed balloon, however wasn’t actually giving a full account of what occurred. And consequently, we had a long time and a long time of conspiracy theories about an alien touchdown in Roswell, New Mexico.

kevin roose

I didn’t truly know that that’s the place the Roswell conspiracy theories got here from. It was a balloon designed to spy on Soviet army?

julian barnes

Yeah. And within the Nineteen Fifties and the Nineteen Sixties, a examine by the U.S. authorities mentioned nearly 50 p.c of U.F.O. sightings could possibly be attributed to the C.I.A. testing the U2 spy aircraft. After which after that, the SR-71 Blackbird. That additionally created U.F.O. sightings. And the federal government lied about it and mentioned it was pure phenomenon. It allowed the conspiracy theories to develop within the identify of defending these crucial secret applications.

kevin roose

Proper. So in different phrases, given what we learn about earlier eras of reported U.F.O. sightings — individuals taking images of unusual issues within the sky that truly turned out to be army experiments that the federal government lied about or was not forthcoming about — possibly it’s rational for individuals to be just a little skeptical of the federal government’s explanations for this newest spherical of U.A.P. sightings.

julian barnes

Yeah, it’s rational. However, now we have a authorities that has discovered some classes from that period, and we’re in an period the place the rise of conspiracy theories is taken into account a reasonably necessary risk. And so I believe additionally it is a case that now we have the federal government doing its greatest to not lie and to not mislead. I imply, it’s unattainable to inform, proper, when the federal government is mendacity. And right here, they don’t have the solutions, however whenever you speak to officers, they’re not speaking round it in the identical method as when they’re making an attempt to not reply questions on America’s hypersonic applied sciences.

kevin roose

Proper. They’re not saying, oh, you’re simply seeing issues, these are simply blips within the sky or it’s ball lightning or it’s a sensor error. They’re truly admitting that there are some issues that they don’t know and might’t clarify.

julian barnes

That’s proper.

kevin roose

Is that this the primary of many studies like this? Do you suppose there shall be others?

julian barnes

They’ve mentioned so explicitly. They’ve mentioned that this can be a preliminary report. They’ve laid out a 90-day plan to enhance how they accumulate data, enhance how they analyze this. So yeah, we’re going to get extra U.F.O. studies.

kevin roose

U.A.P. studies?

julian barnes

Yeah, thanks for that correction. U.A.P..

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kevin roose

I do know this can be a very speculative query, however do you suppose we’ll ever resolve what these U.A.P.s are? Will we ever know for sure what’s occurring?

julian barnes

I believe we are able to get a greater reply than now we have now. And I believe what it’s going to require is bringing some scientific data, some exterior scientific data into the method to work with the army officers, to work with the intelligence analysts and actually take a look at how this data is being collected, what data they’ve and what the probabilities are. And we have to convey this into mainstream science, that there are — and let individuals perceive that there are some necessary scientific questions right here that should be answered, and it’s price individuals’s time to look into it.

kevin roose

Proper, to kind of destigmatize not solely reporting sightings of unidentifiable issues within the air, however to destigmatize researching and finding out what these issues are.

julian barnes

That’s precisely proper. And the reality could possibly be very boring, or extra boring than alien visitation.

kevin roose

Proper. May simply be some balloons, some birds, some photo voltaic flares or no matter. May very well be army expertise that we don’t perceive. May very well be aliens, however we shouldn’t maintain our breath.

julian barnes

I’m in all probability just a little extra Scully than Mulder, so don’t maintain your breath.

kevin roose

OK. Julian, thanks a lot.

julian barnes

Thanks.

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michael barbaro

We’ll be proper again.

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Right here’s what else you should know at present. On Tuesday, because the seek for survivors at a collapsed Florida tower continued, a letter emerged from the president of the constructing’s apartment affiliation, warning residents three months in the past that injury to the constructing had, quote, “gotten considerably worse.” The letter referred again to a 2018 inspection that had already recognized main structural injury, and mentioned that since then the injury had accelerated, and required expensive repairs. The letter and 2018 inspection counsel that the constructing’s leaders and residents have been conscious of issues properly earlier than the collapse, which killed at the least 11 individuals and has left about 150 individuals unaccounted for. And —

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michael barbaro

— the capital of the Tigray area of Ethiopia, which has been brutally occupied by the nation’s army, has been retaken by Tigrayan fighters in a significant turning level within the practically eight-month-long battle.

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michael barbaro

The Ethiopian authorities’s army offensive in Tigray has unleashed civil battle, atrocities and famine. However over the previous few days, the army withdrew from Tigray’s capital after dropping floor to Tigrayan fighters. That growth is a stinging setback for Ethiopia’s authoritarian chief, who predicted a fast and decisive takeover of the area.

At present’s episode was produced by Michael Simon Johnson, Luke Vander Ploeg and Daniel Guillemette. It was edited by Liz O. Baylen and M.J. Davis Lin, engineered by Marion Lozano, consists of unique music by Dan Powell, Elisheba Ittoop and Marion Lozano.

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That’s it for The Every day. I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.



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