Friday, July 24, 2020

NYT chases UFOs again

        Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean were two of the authors of the New York Times article of 16th December 2017, revealing for the first time that the US Navy was interested in unexplained things in the sky. The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification program had spent $22 million investigating reports from some of its pilots that they had observed distant objects that did not appear to be behaving aerodynamically.

        To say that this caught the attention of ufologists is an understaatement akin to saying that Donald Trump is mildly interested in being elected to a second term. DISCLOSURE AT LAST!!!! they screamed. But, as this blog reported at the time, there was no indication that the Navy or its pilots favored an extraterrestrial origin for these phenomena, and in any case the whole program had been de-funded and shut down in 2012, having reached no conclusions.

        Now Blumenthal and Kean have published again, in an  article headlined No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon's U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public which ran in yesterday's editions. They reveal that AATI was shut down in name only, and in essence was simply renamed and made part of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
« Despite Pentagon statements that it disbanded a once-covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, the effort remains underway — renamed and tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, where officials continue to study mystifying encounters between military pilots and unidentified aerial vehicles.
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.»
The Russians are coming?
       Yesterday's piece will doubtless be a major disappointment to the UFO crowd, as it documents the fact that Navy Intelligence is not very interested in extraterrestrials.What concerns them far more is the possibility that these artifacts are advanced aviation developed by a hostile foreign power, representing a real threat to US defenses.
« 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.
He expressed concerns that China or Russia or some other adversary had made “some technological leap” that “allows them to conduct this sort of activity.” »
        Of course, nothing will curb the enthusiasm of MUFON — not even the arrest of one of its executive directors on a charge of soliciting sex from a minor — but at least the rest of us can take comfort from Blumenthal and Kean's report that no extraterrestrial attack is imminent.

        In a related blog, Jason Colavito comes to similar conclusions about Marco Rubio's recent UFO comments.

Thanks to James Oberg for monitoring


Two Percent said...


You’ve been around a while.

Isn’t it time you realized that what these officials say is not necessarily the truth? When they say “We’re not really interested in the possibility that these are ET Vehicles” you can be pretty sure that’s just spin. What it really means is “DAMN RIGHT we are interested but we’re not permitted to admit that.”

They are not permitted to because that would demolish the facade (pardon the lack of proper punctuation) that “we” are a super power and that there’s some point to all that money being spent on Defence, when in reality, we are as defenseless as a newborn baby against such technology. It would unsettle the natives, and little old ladies would not sleep at night. At the very least, the admission would open a huge debate, rock the boat dangerously, damage our happy status quo and cause us massive unwanted headaches...

expat said...

« You’ve been around a while. Isn’t it time you realized that what these officials say is not necessarily the truth? »

Well, I do. As in "This program was shut down in 2012". But any assumption that the tic-tac came from zeta reticuli seems to me to be wholly unjustified.

expat said...

You're as bad as Richard Hoagland, with his"You have to know how to read between the lines". He said this about NASA news releases, and of course his intention was to give himself freedom to put whatever interpretation on them he wished.I didn't fall for it.

purpleivan said...

Ah yes, the "it's all in the interpretation" gambit. The one that allows anything to support whatever theory you want to belive in/profit from.

Two Percent said...

[Resubmitting - page error]

You referring to me???

"You're as bad as Richard Hoagland"

Justify? What have I said that is "off the planet" and not reasonable?

Of course, I totally agree with you about Zeta Reticuli - what on Earth is there to support that daft notion? And I do agree, the ability to "read between the lines" relies on imagination more than anything.

All you can really say with confidence is that "this ain't the full story."

Where do I suggest otherwise, really? I mean, what is the DOD's job, after all? Ignore potential but all to obviously real, unknown (unquantified) threats?

purpleivan - I believe in recognising that theories are just that, and facts are mostly observations and opinions. SO much is "open to interpretation", which puts it largely in the realm of theory. Even the numbers of infections and deaths from Covid-19 will never be known accurately, and that's right here, all around us. We just don't have the means to track it accurately.

Trekker said...

Expat, you might find this interesting - from Michael Shermer:

Chris Lopes said...

Those of us old enough to remember beyond last Tuesday understand that this is how it always works out. National security types have an interest in unexplained airborne phenomenon. From the beginning of this UFO stuff the government has kept an eye on things in case such phenomenon is the result of foreign (as in Russian not Martian) technology. That doesn't mean they believe in UFO's as alien spacecraft. It just means they are being cautious as is their job.

jim oberg said...

Chris Lopez:

Bingo. There are lot of non-extraterrestrial reasons why the Defense Department needs to be interested in 'UFO reports'.

1. First, identify and ameliorate instrumental 'funnies' in new sensory technology to make sure we don't accidentally misinterpret [or overlook] future readings.

2. Second, determine how detection 'funnies' might be deliberately induced by hackers and real enemies, and what we can do to frustrate such efforts.

3. Third, deliberately induce anomalous targets into the range of our own new detection/tracking technology to determine realistic reliability level of existing situational awareness systems.

4. Fourth, test enemy detection systems with deliberate pokes to identify exploitatable weakneses.

5. Fifth, assess which reports from in or near potentially enemy nations are indicators of their classified military testing and operations that we need insight into.

6. Sixth, at home and elsewhere in the world, determine which detections accidentally reveal highly classified operations of our own which might be revealed to enemy nations who are also looking for such indications, so as to improve masking, misdirection, and stealthiness.

7. Seventh, in so far as observations of UFO reports from adversary nations ARE indicators of leaked observable clues to military capabilities, do nothing to provoke such regimes from curtailing their own news media coverage of the 'pseudo-UFOs' .

8. Eighth, in so far as our own domestic UFO reports may be authentic indicators of classified military activities, purposefully create camouflage and masking reports to distract, confuse, or lull foreign observers and analysts.

expat said...

Thanks Jim.