The new UFO/UAP legislation can be tough to parse in today's media

When the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published a draft of their Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 last week it created a lot of buzz, not just in the ufology community, but among more conventional, mainstream outlets. The idea of an unclassified report about intelligence that’s been gathered on UFOs (or UAPs if you insist) and the threat they may pose to our military was certainly a tantalizing prospect. This was probably particularly true for writers who remain desperate for something – anything – to cover besides the virus and the protests and riots.

The reality is that this is a fairly dense topic, and if you don’t cover it on a regular basis it can get easy to either get lost in the weeds or find yourself chasing Alice down a rabbit hole. That crossed my mind while reading a report on this latest bit of news from Carine Hajjar, an intern at National Review. Titled “UFO or Foe,” the author seeks to lay out some of what the report entailed, as well as some of the history leading up to it. Here are a couple of excerpts from it.

Is this just stargazing?

There may be good reason to keep an eye out for flying saucers. In the past few years, Navy members have reported unidentified aircrafts following Naval aircrafts off both the West and East coasts. Apparently, the Pentagon secretly investigated instances like these until 2012 under the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program…

The frequency of these sightings has increased since 2014 and one of these mysterious aircrafts almost collided with a Naval pilot in Virginia Beach in 2014. What’s more, witnesses report a lack of visible engine and exhaust plumes.

Aside from little green aliens, a likely target for speculation could be Russian or Chinese technology. While the U.S. stepped back on hypersonic technology, Russia and China invested heavily. Other explanations have to do with drone technology.

Aside from the obvious throwaway lines about stargazing, tinfoil hats and “little green aliens” (they’re not green, by the way, Carine, they’re grey), there are a number of issues with the article and I’ve seen similar examples in other outlets. I wanted to take a moment today and just walk through a few of them to clear up any confusion to the best of my ability.

Carine Hajjar casually states that “Apparently, the Pentagon secretly investigated instances like these until 2012 under the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.” Hoo boy. First of all, the name of the program was the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. It was never referenced as simply “aviation.” Her statement also repeats the long-since debunked idea that it ended in 2012. But we already have Pentagon confirmation, along with the testimony of AATIP chief Luis Elizondo, that AATIP never really ended. It shifted departments and was renamed as the recently confirmed Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. (The jury is still out as to whether they meant to say “phenomena” or “phenomenon.” The Senate report used it both ways.) The program is still in operation today.

She also notes, regarding UAPs, that “witnesses report a lack of visible engine and exhaust plumes.” Well, that’s true, but they also lack wings, rotors, or any other visible flight surfaces, methods of developing propulsion or generating lift. It may seem like a minor point, but those facets are key to understanding just how completely mind-boggling these things are.

Hajjar goes on to say that “a likely target for speculation could be Russian or Chinese technology.” But the Pentagon has already ruled this out almost entirely, as have most civilian scientists who have delved into the data deeply. The Senate has to mention the possibility of “foreign adversaries” in these discussions to keep from being stigmatized as “UFO kooks,” so that’s understandable. But unless and until an even more spectacular but viable theory is presented, the best bet anyone has is that these craft (like the Tic Tacs) are manipulating gravity in a small, controlled area. If one of our adversaries had already cracked that puzzle before us I’m pretty sure we’d all be speaking Russian or Chinese by now.

After tossing in a couple of quotes as to what technology might be involved, ranging from hypersonic missiles to drones, the author then completely misinterprets a statement from Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gaugh (who regular readers here are very familiar with by now) when she said the Department of Defense “has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.” But she wasn’t talking about the “capabilities and systems” of the UAPs. She meant the data from the HUD (heads up display) shown in the Navy videos. None of that revealed our own tech to the point where the videos couldn’t be released. They still have no idea how the Tic Tacs fly and have said so repeatedly.

But enough of that. I’ll leave you with the latest rumor from the ufology mill that’s been burning up social media this week. A certain subset of UFO researchers is absolutely convinced that there’s another New York Times article out imminently (perhaps this week) that will expose a black-budget government Special Access Program (SAP) focused on crash retrieval of… you guessed it… UFOs. Do I believe it? To borrow a phrase on this subject from the President, not particularly. But hey… I’d be thrilled if it somehow turned out to be true. Let’s just say I won’t be holding my breath.