For more than a month now, there has been some wild-eyed speculation in the ufology community that a new “bombshell” article about UFOs was about to drop from the New York Times. (Something we discussed here a few weeks ago.) There had been enough of the regular players in the ufology zone contacted by the paper to assume they were working on something, but what it might be and if it would ever see the light of day was unknown. Rumors had been swirling, ranging from claims that the editors at the Times had killed the article to suggestions that the Pentagon wanted to shut it down.
All of that was cleared up last night when the article finally dropped. The byline cited Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, two of the reporters who brought us the paper’s original bombshell UFO article in December of 2017, revealing the existence of the AATIP program. This new piece certainly had an intriguing title. “No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public.” But as tantalizing as it may sound, the full contents were somewhat underwhelming, at least for those who follow the subject on a regular basis. Still, the reporters at least mentioned some intriguing possibilities.
Pentagon officials will not discuss the program, which is not classified but deals with classified matters. Yet it appeared last month in a Senate committee report outlining spending on the nation’s intelligence agencies for the coming year. The report said the program, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, was “to standardize collection and reporting” on sightings of unexplained aerial vehicles, and was to report at least some of its findings to the public every six months.
While retired officials involved with the effort — including Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader — hope the program will seek evidence of vehicles from other worlds, its main focus is on discovering whether another nation, especially any potential adversary, is using breakout aviation technology that could threaten the United States.
Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told a CBS affiliate in Miami this month that he was primarily concerned about reports of unidentified aircraft over American military bases — and that it was in the government’s interest to find out who was responsible.
The article invokes the phrase “vehicles from other worlds” fairly early on, later bringing up “crash artifacts” and “extraterrestrial explanations.” But each time, the phrases are placed in carefully couched prose that reminds us that – of course – none of this has been verified. That’s probably the biggest sticking point in this report. At the heart of the online debate I mentioned above was a claim that this blockbuster article was going to “blow the lid” off of a subject of intense speculation. The now infamous Wilson-Davis documents, which allegedly point to the existence of a deeply hidden, black budget project involving a Pentagon UFO “crash retrieval program.”
Some proponents of this concept in the ufology community, frequently championed by Joe Murgia (better known as UFO Joe) among others, were nearly 100% positive that this is what the Times was set to reveal. This was the big enchilada. The proof that the government has been hiding crashed UFOs and possibly even the bodies of extraterrestrials. Sadly, the article only dips a pinky toe into that subject once and points out that no proof of any such things has been offered. The idea is highlighted as part of a quote from Luis Elizondo, the former director of AATIP and now a member of To The Stars Academy. (Emphasis added)
“It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” Mr. Elizondo said. “It will have a new transparency.”
Mr. Elizondo is among a small group of former government officials and scientists with security clearances who, without presenting physical proof, say they are convinced that objects of undetermined origin have crashed on earth with materials retrieved for study.
This is the tone the article takes when it comes to the ultimate questions of what, if anything, the government has in its possession in terms of crashed alien craft or extraterrestrials. “Without presenting physical proof.” Also, “say they are convinced.” The implication from the Times is obvious. Sure, it’s a fascinating idea. But even the folks pushing it the hardest haven’t been able to come up with any hard evidence. It’s just their “beliefs.”
You can read the rest of it for yourself, but the reality is that virtually none of this information is new. If you follow the online work of researchers like Danny Silva and Andreas Freeman Stahl (and too many others to list here) or keep up with the more mainstream reporting of investigative journalists like Tim McMillan or M.J. Banias (again, along with many others) at outlets such as Popular Mechanics, Vice, and the War zone, you would have already been aware of nearly everything covered in this article. Aside from a couple of fresh quotes from some of the key players, this is all information that’s been reported on before.
Does all of this mean that the Times‘ article was a waste of time or without value? Not at all. The vast majority of news consumers still rely exclusively on mainstream outlets like the Gray Lady, the WaPo, CNN, and the rest for their news and never delve into the darker corners of the media where these subjects are discussed at length. The Times does the public a great service by bringing all of those readers into the conversation, making them aware (to the extent that we actually know anything) of what their government is up to when it comes to baffling things flitting around in our airspace. For that, they should be congratulated.
But in terms of any sort of paradigm-shifting revelations about government secrecy and UFOs, that simply hasn’t been offered or even suggested as a likely possibility. So yet again, we wait. Perhaps we’ll learn something if the public report from the Pentagon requested by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ever sees the light of day, but I’m even dubious about that prospect, personally. But in closing, is there more to come? The following item suggests that Ralph Blumenthal himself has more in the bag that hasn’t dropped. Assuming the quote is authentic, he rattles the closet door yet again by saying “not everything can be reported all at once.” Those eight words should keep the juices flowing for months to come at least.
— Danny Silva (@SilvaRecord) July 24, 2020