The Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is leading the charge to declassify and make public what the intelligence community knows about “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is pushing legislation that would require the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community’s 17 intelligence agencies, to work with the Pentagon and other relevant agencies to produce a detailed report outlining what the U.S. government knows about UFOs, including their origin, frequency, and potential threat to U.S. national security.
Rubio’s efforts follow the April release by the Navy of three unclassified UFO videos that previously leaked online.
“Look, here’s the interesting thing for me about all this and the reason why I think it’s an important topic, OK? We have things flying over our military bases and places where we’re conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is, and it isn’t ours. So, that’s a legitimate question to ask,” Rubio said in a Thursday interview with Jim DeFede of CBS4 News in Miami. “I would say that, frankly, that if it’s something outside this planet, that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity.”
Rubio added: “But the bottom line is: If there are things flying over your military bases and you don’t know what they are because they’re not yours, and they exhibit, potentially, technologies that you don’t have at your own disposal, that to me is a national security risk and one that we should be looking into.”
In late June, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Rubio, approved the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which still has to be approved by the Senate. A section of the proposed bill deals with UFOs and calls for answers within 180 days of the law’s passage.
“The Committee directs the DNI, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of such other agencies as the Director and Secretary jointly consider relevant, to submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as ‘anomalous aerial vehicles’), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified,” the bill states, adding, “The report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.”
The report that the proposed law would direct the intelligence community and the Pentagon to produce would cover a host of UFO-related topics, including: a “detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting collected or held by the Office of Naval Intelligence, including data and intelligence reporting held by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force”; a “detailed analysis” of UFO data collected by geospatial, signals, human, and other intelligence; and a “detailed analysis” of data the FBI might have that “was derived from investigations of intrusions of unidentified aerial phenomena data over restricted United States airspace.”
This proposed intelligence analysis would also include the “identification of potential aerospace or other threats posed by the unidentified aerial phenomena to national security” and whether any of the UFO activities “may be attributed to one or more foreign adversaries” as well as the “identification of any incidents or patterns that indicate a potential adversary may have achieved breakthrough aerospace capabilities that could put United States strategic or conventional forces at risk.”
Rubio shed new light on why the committee wanted these answers.
“It has impacted the Navy, for the most part. I’ve seen reports on this now for the better part of a decade. Other countries have had similar reports. But our perspective is: There is someone flying in the airspace that no one else is allowed to fly in, and we don’t know who it is, and it isn’t something we have. We need to know what that is,” Rubio told DeFede. “I mean, in my mind, I don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to know what it is. Maybe there’s a completely sort of boring explanation for it, but we need to find out. And so, that’s really what we’re asking about, and we’re asking to make public as much as possible that information. None of it fits into the mold of classified, per se.”
Earlier this year, videos from the Navy were released through the Freedom of Information Act that showed UFOs moving at incredible speeds and performing seemingly impossible aerial maneuvers. One of the videos was shot in November 2004; the other two were shot in January 2015. The three videos were code-named “FLIR1,” “Gimbal,” and “GoFast.” In the 2015 videos, Navy pilots can be heard expressing disbelief.
All three UFO videos were captured by Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets.
The videos were made public and published because of efforts by the New York Times, as well as through efforts by the To The Stars Academy, which was founded by Tom Delonge, the founder and lead vocalist for the bands Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves.
Last year, Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told the Black Vault, a blog, that “the Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena.”
When asked why the military preferred that phrasing over “UFO,” he responded: “The ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ terminology is used 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.”
DeFede asked Rubio on Thursday: “So, what’s your gut? Are we alone in the universe, or is there something else out there?”
“I don’t have a gut feeling about it because it’s a phenomenon,” Rubio said. “It’s unexplained. I just want to know what it is, and if we can’t determine what it is, then that’s a fact point that we need to take into account. I wouldn’t venture to speculate beyond that.”
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