Some disappointing news on the UFO front came out this week, likely dampening the hopes of many people in the ufology community who have been eagerly looking forward to some sort of forthcoming disclosure from the government on this subject. As regular readers are already aware, there was considerable excitement in the air this summer following a number of revelations and surprising announcements on the topic of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs). First we saw a request from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Marco Rubio, for a public report from the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force. This came as quite a surprise to people, including many in the government, who didn’t even know that we had a UAP Task Force.
That was followed by an official announcement of the formation of the task force by the Pentagon. After that, major newspapers such as the New York Times began digging into the subject, even raising the prospect of the potential disclosure of additional programs that might even include an acknowledgment of a government “crash retrieval program” that could be in possession of “off-world materials.
This led journalists in the ufology field to press the Pentagon for additional details. One such person was investigative journalist Roger Glassel, who contacted Pentagon UAP spokesperson Susan Gough with a number of specific questions about the new task force and its anticipated activities as they proceed to compile existing information on UAP encounters by the military and create channels for the collection of future reports. I first saw the article teased on Twitter.
UAP (UFO) Task Force: The Pentagon Responds to Questions https://t.co/DDXcxKVERt
— UFO Sightings & News (@UFOnetwork_) September 9, 2020
The answers Roger received give us the disappointing news I alluded to above. Ms. Gough (which is pronounced “Goff,” by the way, as I only learned from her this week) provided Glassel with answers in a professional fashion, but seemingly doused most hopes for some new era of government transparency on the subject. Here are two of the key questions that produced bad news.
6) Will the public be informed about any findings from the UAPTF of the nature and/or origins of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena?
Gough: Thorough examinations of any incursion into our training ranges or designated airspace often involves assessments from across the department, and, as appropriate, consultation with other U.S. government departments and agencies. To maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to our adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examination of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.
7) If an observer initially characterize an observation as unidentified aerial phenomena, that he or she cannot immediately identify, and the observation cannot later be explained after an analysis by the UAPTF, or any other component, what will such observation be categorized as?
That once sentence pretty much says it all. “To maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to our adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examination of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.”
Note that Gough’s answer sticks to the previous Pentagon position that the task force’s sole interest is in any unknown presence in military (or possibly even commercial) airspace that could potentially constitute a threat to national security. While that’s understandable when you consider that we’re talking about our military, it also severely limits the scope of what might be examined. Also, an earlier question from Roger, and Gough’s subsequent answer demonstrates that, at least publicly, the Pentagon is sticking to the line that they have no curiosity as to what these things are or where they came from, and are solely focusing on the aforementioned potential national security threats.
5) Will the newly established UAP Task Force look into other aspects of the nature and origins of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or will the UAPTF just look at the aspect of UAP being a potential threat to U.S. national security?
Gough: The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAP incursions into our training ranges and designated airspace. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAP incursions that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.
I don’t see how the Pentagon could be any more clear about this. They will take reports about UAP encounters if they might constitute a threat to national security and they promise to do a better job collecting and correlating such reports. But since the information contained in such reports might convey sensitive information that would be of interest to our “adversaries” (make of that description what you will), they won’t be releasing any of it for public consumption.
And as far as that report requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee goes, I wouldn’t get your hopes up there, either. First of all, the final bill hasn’t even been passed yet and we don’t know if the UAP language will even make it into the final version based on the House bill. And even if it does make it all the way through, Congress isn’t tying the request (not “order”) for a public UAP report to any of the Pentagon’s funding so they are under no obligation to comply. They can simply thank Congress for their input and proceed to ignore them. Even in a best-case scenario where they do issue some sort of publicly available report as Rubio requested, do the answers I quoted above from the Pentagon give you the sense that they’re about to open the bag? Sorry… but I don’t see it happening.
Let’s face it, folks. If there’s going to be any serious disclosure, it won’t be coming from our military or even the civilian government. It’s going to be up to the private sector and organizations such as Tom DeLonge’s To The Stars Academy to deliver it. Beyond that, the most we can probably hope for is either additional whistleblowers like Elizondo coming forward or some deathbed confessions from people involved with these projects over the years. (Confessions that the Pentagon will no doubt immediately seek to deny or obfuscate.) On that subject, if you didn’t happen to catch season two of TTSA’s series “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation” on the History Channel this summer, definitely check it out. It will be well worth your while if you have any interest at all in this subject.