Article by Tim McMillan December 2, 2020 (thedebrief.org)
• US military and intelligence officials have offered a glimpse into what is currently going on with the Pentagon’s “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force,” in an exclusive for The Debrief.org website. For the last two years, the DoD has been busy briefing lawmakers, intelligence community members, and the highest levels of the US military on encounters with UAP/UFOs that defy conventional explanations. In addition, two classified intelligence reports on UFOs have been widely distributed to the US Intelligence Community, including clear photographic evidence. The reports also explicitly state that these UFOs could be operated by “intelligences of unknown origin”.
• In June, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence offered its support for the “efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence” and requested an unclassified report detailing the analysis of ‘Anomalous Aerial Vehicles’. In mid-August, the Pentagon formally acknowledged they had established a UAP Task Force “to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security.”
• The Debrief learned that on October 21, 2019, a UFO briefing was conducted at the Pentagon for several Senate Armed Services Committee staffers. Attendees said they were provided information on two Pentagon UFO research programs that preceded the UAP Task Force. Two days later on October 23rd, staffers with the Senate Select Intelligence Committee were provided the same information. Dr. Hal Puthoff, who claims to be one of a handful of persons who conducted the October UFO briefings, said that he had been invited to brief congressional staffers on more than one occasion. He said that staffers were “engaged”, and provided “positive responses, [with] more details always being requested.”
• An email obtained by The Debrief shows an October 16, 2019 exchange between then Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Burke, and current Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force General Stephen “Steve” Wilson, in which Adm. Burke tells Gen. Wilson, “Recommend you take the brief I just received from our Director of Naval Intelligence VADM Matt Kohler, on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).” Adm. Burke concludes the email, “SECNAV [Secretary of the Navy] will get the same brief tomorrow at 1000.”
• Pentagon Spokesperson Susan Gough did not confirm or deny the existence of the UAP intelligence reports, and declined to make any comment on their contents. It seems the Pentagon is not interested in sharing any more information on the UAP topic.
• However, several current and former officials with the DoD and individuals working for multiple US intelligence agencies told The Debrief that there was much more going on behind closed doors. Details on the two classified intelligence position reports, which the UAP Task Force provided to the US Intelligence Community, suggest both a greater degree of Pentagon involvement and an indication that the hunt for UFOs isn’t confined to aerial phenomena.
• A 2018 intelligence report provided a general overview of the UAP/UFO topic, including details of previous military encounters. According to sources who had read the classified reports, the report also contained an unreleased photograph of a silver “cube-shaped” flying object captured from the cockpit of an F/A-18 fighter jet with a pilot’s personal cell phone. The object was “hovering” completely motionless when Navy pilots encountered it. Based on the photo, the object was at an altitude of 30,000 to 35,000 feet, and approximately 1,000 feet from the fighter jet.
• Defense and intelligence officials expressed shock that the classified UAP Task Force report had been so widely distributed amongst the Intelligence community. “In decades with the [Intelligence Community] I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one intelligence official. The report’s most disconcerting aspect was a “list” of possible explanations for these mysterious encounters, and that the potential for UAP/UFO to be “alien” or “non-human” technology was of legitimate consideration.
• A second classified UAP Task Force report was issued in the summer of 2020. Like the first report, this report was also widely distributed amongst the Intelligence Community. “It went viral,” said one intelligence official who had read the report. The most striking feature of the second report was the inclusion of new and “extremely clear” photograph of an unidentifiable triangular aircraft also taken from inside the cockpit of a fighter jet off the East Coast of the United States. The UFO in the photograph is described as a large equilateral triangle with rounded or “blunted” edges and large, perfectly spherical white “lights” in each corner. Two DoD officials said the photo was taken after the triangular craft emerged from the ocean and began to ascend straight upwards at a 90-degree angle.
• The second report primarily focused on “Unidentified Submersible Phenomena”, or “transmedium” vehicles capable of operating both under water and in the air, and apparently originating from within the world’s oceans. The idea of unidentified submersible objects, or “USOs”, is not something new. MUFON astronomer Marc D’Antonio has shared an experience involving the detection of an underwater “Fast Mover,” which occurred while he was sailing as a civilian aboard one of the US Navy’s prized attack submarines. Defense journalist Tyler Rogoway spoke with several veteran submariners to get their take on D’Antonio’s account. The Navy vets interviewed by Rogoway almost unanimously acknowledged that unexplained, very high-speed sonar targets are indeed recorded by some of the most sophisticated listening equipment on the planet.
• A senior member of the Intelligence Community, whose responsibilities for decades involved underwater surveillance and reconnaissance programs, told The Debrief there was validity to claims of extremely fast-moving underwater objects being detected by US military systems. “On occasion, there are detections made of non-cavitational, extremely fast-moving objects within the ocean.” The intelligence official cited the high-levels of security classification associated with underwater reconnaissance. One active defense official said the UAP Task Force has a wealth of photographic evidence collected from military pilots’ personal devices as well as sophisticated DoD surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. There are many accounts – some going back centuries – in which people have observed unidentifiable craft operating in and out of the water.
• In 2017, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Dana White confirmed to Politico that the DoD had studied UFOs under the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program (AATIP) run by Luis Elizondo. Then in December 2019, the Pentagon issued a statement saying AATIP was not UAP related, and that Elizondo had “no responsibilities” in the program. When The Debrief pointed out that its investigation had confirmed that AATIP did, in fact, involve UFOs and that Luis Elizondo was, in fact, the custodian of the AATIP portfolio, Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Gough replied, “Please keep in mind (Elizondo) left DoD over three years ago, and there are personnel and privacy matters involved.”
• From closed-door meetings, to senior military leadership and the issuance of classified intelligence reports, all indications suggest the DoD is indeed taking the UAP/UFO issue seriously. But when it comes to underwater systems, the extremity of official secrecy falls into a class by itself. For instance, retired Navy Admiral Bobby Ray Inman acknowledged that he served as director for the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office (NURO) decades ago. Yet to date, the government denies that the NURO even exists.
• Even if the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s request for an unclassified UAP report ends up being enacted in the FY2021 Intelligence Act, the UAP report provision is not binding law. There’s no guarantee the public will be provided any comprehensive information on UAP/UFOs. And while Congress is required to have access to classified information, only the Executive Branch has the authority to declassify national security information to make it public.
• Should the DoD become more willing to discuss UAPs publicly, there are plenty of indications that it might be a disappointment compared to many of the popular myths and narratives intertwined with the UFO subject over the last 70 years. Every source familiar with the activities of the UAP Task Force said that no concise estimate of the situation for UAP has been achieved, and the US government presently lacks any definite explanation for UAP-related events.
• US Air Force Brigadier General Bruce McClintock, who served as Special Assistant to the Commander of Air Force Space Command until his retirement in 2017, and presently heads up the RAND corporation’s space-related research, told The Debrief that he is dismissive of the idea that US military encounters with UAP/UFO could be related to any form of classified aerospace testing by either the US or a foreign adversary. “It is unlikely that the US government would intentionally conduct tests against its own unwitting military assets. To do so would require a very high level of coordination and approval for the potential safety and operational security risks.”
• The Debrief has been unable to find anyone willing to speculate as to the source of UFO encounters reported by military aviators, whether they may be a US black budget program or the ‘testing’ of US air defense by foreign governments. A transition team spokesperson for Biden said that his administration would “[i]mmediately return to daily press briefings at the White House, US Department of State, and US Department of Defense. Our foreign policy relies on the informed consent of the American people. That is not possible when our government refuses to communicate with the public.”
In an exclusive feature for The Debrief, U.S. military and intelligence officials, as well as Pentagon emails,
offer an unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes of what’s currently going on with The Pentagon’s investigation into UFOs, or as they term them, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” (UAP).
For the last two years, the Department of Defense’s newly revamped “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force” (or UAPTF) has been busy briefing lawmakers, Intelligence Community stakeholders, and the highest levels of the U.S. military on encounters with what they say are mysterious airborne objects that defy conventional explanations.
Along with classified briefings, multiple senior U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter say two classified intelligence reports on UAP have been widely distributed to the U.S. Intelligence Community. Numerous sources from various government agencies told The Debrief that these reports include clear photographic evidence of UAP. The reports also explicitly state that the Task Force is considering the possibility that these unidentified objects could, as stated by one source from the U.S. Intelligence Community said, be operated by “intelligences of unknown origin.”
Significantly, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general and head of RAND corporation’s Space Enterprise Initiative has—for the first time—gone on record to discuss some of the most likely explanations for UAP. His responses were surprising.
BRIEFINGS AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS
In June, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s FY2021 Intelligence Authorization Act contained an
intriguing section titled report on “Advanced Aerial Threats.” In the inclusion, the committee gave an eye-opening official hint (in recent history) the government takes UFOs seriously by offering its support for the “efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence.” The Intelligence Committee additionally requested an unclassified report detailing the analysis of “UAP” or “Anomalous Aerial Vehicles.”
Though already acknowledged by the Intelligence Committee, in mid-August, the Pentagon formally acknowledged they had established a task force looking into UAP. In a press announcement, the Secretary of Defense’s Office stated, “the UAPTF’s mission will be to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.” According to the release, authority for the Task Force was approved by the DoD’s chief operating officer, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist.
The summer news of the establishment of the UAPTF seemingly suggests—for the first time since the shuttering of Project Blue Book (the Air Force’s official investigations into UFOs) in 1969—that the Pentagon is now taking the subject of UFOs seriously.
However, an internal email obtained by The Debrief shows that almost one year before the DoD’s announcement, the highest levels of the U.S. military were already being briefed on UAP.
The email, obtained via Freedom of Information Act request, shows an October 16th, 2019 exchange between
then Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Burke, and current Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force General Stephen “Steve” Wilson.
In the email, Adm. Burke tells Gen. Wilson, “Recommend you take the brief I just received from our Director of Naval Intelligence VADM Matt Kohler, on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).” Adm. Burke concludes the email, “SECNAV [Secretary of the Navy] will get the same brief tomorrow at 1000.”
The “SECNAV” referenced in Adm. Burke’s email was then-Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer. A little over a month after this UAP briefing, Spencer was fired by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper over public disagreements stemming from a series of controversies involving the court-martial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
Speaking on background, one U.S. Defense official lamented that a lack of continuity with DoD leadership might have hindered some of the UAPTF’s work. Within the past 24 months, there have been four different Secretaries of the Navy and five additional Secretaries of Defense. Vice Admiral Matt Kohler, noted for having provided the briefings, retired after 36 years with the Navy in June of this year.
Reaching out to several active government officials and individuals who retain their government-issued security
clearances, The Debrief learned that last fall was a busy time for the UAPTF. On October 21st, 2019, a briefing on UAP was conducted at the Pentagon for several Senate Armed Services Committee staffers.
Attendees at the meeting told The Debrief that they were provided information on two previous DoD-backed UFO programs: The Advanced Aerial Weapons Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP) and the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). They were also briefed on “highly sensitive categories of UFO investigations.” Only two days later on October 23rd, staffers with the Senate Select Intelligence Committee were provided the same information in a meeting on Capitol Hill.
A former private contractor for AAWSAP and AATIP, Dr. Hal Puthoff, confirmed for The Debrief he was one of a handful of persons who conducted the October briefings. “I have been invited to brief congressional staffers on the Senate Armed Services Committee on UAP matters in the last couple of years,” Puthoff said in an email, “and have done so on more than one occasion.” Dr. Puthoff described the staffers during these meetings as being “engaged,” and provided “positive responses, [and] more details always being requested.”
The Debrief reached out to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Office and DoD Executive Services
Office and formally requested an interview with someone authorized to speak on the UAP briefings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In an email, Senior Strategist and Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough responded, “To maintain operations security, which includes not disseminating information publicly 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 – and that includes not discussing the UAPTF publicly, also.”
Official public affairs channels indicate the Pentagon is not interested in sharing any more information on the UAP topic. However, several current and former officials with the DoD and individuals working for multiple U.S. intelligence agencies told The Debrief that there was much more going on behind closed doors.
UAP INTELLIGENCE POSITION REPORTS
Multiple sources confirmed for The Debrief that the UAPTF had issued two classified intelligence position reports, which one individual described as “shocking.” Details provided on these reports suggest both a greater degree of Pentagon involvement, and that the UAPTF’s hunt for unidentified objects isn’t confined only to aerial phenomena.
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