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Pentagon UFO report: 'UAP threaten flight safety, lack a single explanation'

Pilots have recorded 11 "near misses" with unidentified aerial phenomena, according to a US intelligence report.


This still shows the unidentified object tracked by a Navy pilot in 2015 in the "Gimbal" video.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Pentagon UFO report finally landed, and it reveals that all those sightings of bizarre flying things over the years fall into several categories, require more study and remain largely unexplained and unidentified.

"The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP," reads the summary of a report posted online by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence shortly before 2 p.m. PT on Friday. 

Now playing: Watch this: Pentagon UFO report recap

"There are probably multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations based on the range of appearances and behaviors described in the available reporting ... UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to US national security," the summary says. 

According to the nine-page document, each report of an UAP would "probably... fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or US industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall 'other' bin."

A few of those categories lead the report authors to highlight potential concerns:

"Safety concerns primarily center on aviators contending with an increasingly cluttered air domain. UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology."

Notably, the Department of Defense UAP Task Force reported 11 "documented instances in which pilots reported near misses with a UAP."

The report goes on to say there isn't enough data to determine whether any UAP belong to a potential adversary.

Now playing: Watch this: Pentagon's UFO report is here, all the answers are not

Some hoped the report would include reality-altering revelations, or at least a watershed moment for the UFO truth movement on par with the Roswell crash incident of 1947 (which was a secret military reconnaissance mission rather than an alien craft). This remains to be seen, however.

"I (am) pleasantly surprised with the report," said blogger Mick West, who has been a prominent debunker of alien spacecraft explanations for UAP, on Twitter. "It seems like a generally accurate assessment of the situation."

For years, pilots and other military personnel have encountered strange things in the sky that have come to be called "unidentified aerial phenomena." The change from "UFO" to "UAP" is, in part, a nod to the likelihood that some of the incidents may be explained by technical glitches or environmental phenomena rather than actual tangible objects.

The report begins by acknowledging some UAP may simply be bugs in the system. 

"Various forms of sensors that register UAP generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments, but some UAP may be attributable to sensor anomalies."

But it goes on to conclude that "most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects."

As for the Navy videos (known by equipment acronyms like Flir, Gofast and Gimbal) that have been seen millions of times in the media and appear to show some sort of craft moving at high speeds and even seeming to perform physics-defying maneuvers, there's this nod:

"In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics. These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."

The report was mandated by a funding bill passed last year. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio added a passage requiring the director of national intelligence to produce a report "on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as "anomalous aerial vehicles"), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified."

The report is required to be public and also includes a classified annex. Officials previously told The New York Times this addendum doesn't contain any evidence of alien visitation.

The report doesn't resolve humanity's long-standing question about whether we've been visited by aliens, but it doesn't mention E.T. at all, either.

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