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Pentagon declassifies UFO footage, still can’t explain ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’

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May 8, 2020, 4:04 PM EDT (Updated)

Well, at least we’re safe from aliens for the time being … or so our government says. After years of fielding questions from everyone from UFO theorists to The New York Times, the U.S. Defense Department has finally released the original, pristine versions of three highly buzzed videos that appear to show — no, according to the DOD, they do show —UFOs.

Making sure to use the less-sensational “unexplained aerial phenomena” description (who’re they kidding!?), the Defense Department made public the three clips, which hail from a series of incredible aerial sightings Navy pilots have made over the past several years. The clearest sighting, which includes flight crew audio of military personnel amazed by the hypersonic, exhaust-free object they’re tracking, occurred during Navy training maneuvers from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in 2015.

Former Blink-182 musician Tom DeLonge’s UFO-watching outfit, To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, published that clip — set up with some helpful infographics to explain the on-screen display info — back in 2017, and it's exactly the same as the footage the Pentagon released this week. 

To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences on YouTube

The object’s ability to rotate mid-flight, while maintaining velocity and direction, freaked the crew out and went on to make waves last year when The New York Times interviewed a Navy pilot who routinely witnessed the phenomena. Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot, told the Times that he’d seen multiple unidentified craft, that they’d “be out there all day,” and that “12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect,” considering the energy required to maintain that kind of speed.

The rationale for declassifying the videos now, says the government, is to confirm the authenticity of the clips we’ve been seeing all this time (the short version: yep, they’re real), as well as to affirm that the department doesn’t view their release as a threat to its own military and tech secrets.

The DOD’s official statement this week makes it sound like the truth is definitely out there — and that they don’t know what it is. “DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” the department says on its website. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.’”

The government confirming the existence of unidentified flying objects? It has our antennae tingling, too. But the DOD thinks there’s no threat in confirming the videos … well, if not to all of humanity, at least to its own operations and proprietary secrets. “After a thorough review, the department 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.”

The clips document one sighting from November of 2004 and two others from January 2015, and they’ve been circulating for a while now. But if you want to see the official versions — which appear identical to the ones that were already online — head over to the DOD’s media page. The department didn’t comment on whether it expects the unidentified craft to show up again (or if they’re still zooming around out there). But if they do come back, our only advice is to lock the door … and hope they don’t have blasters.

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