PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A newly released federal report on unidentified flying objects is raising some eyebrows, but U.S. Sen. Jack Reed argues the subject is a real national security issue which needs to be closely examined.
The report revolves around sightings of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” commonly referred to as UFOs. It examines 144 reports of aircraft or other devices apparently flying at mysterious speeds or trajectories between the years 2004 and 2020.
Investigators were only able to explain one of those reports, revealed to be a large, deflating balloon.
Reed, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday he was surprised by the initial reports, and urged Americans to take the findings seriously.
“These observations were made by Navy pilots who are fairly sophisticated in terms of what’s up in the air besides themselves,” Reed told 12 News. “They saw phenomena that confused them.”
The report explained that while the majority of the sightings lacked a single explanation, there are five categories of potential explanations that were considered.
Those categories include “airborne clutter,” such as birds or plastic bags; “natural atmospheric phenomena, like ice crystals or thermal fluctuations; “USG or industry developmental programs,” including classified programs created by the United States; “foreign adversary systems,” from places like China or Russia; and “other.”
While the report makes no explicit mention of extraterrestrial lifeforms, it doesn’t deny that they could be out there.
“They don’t have any compelling evidence that there’s some type of thinking beings behind these things,” Reed said. “But we have to stay focused on this and try to develop the kind of analysis and detection devices that we can confirm what this phenomena is.”
The report also mentions the stigma that often surrounds such sightings, noting that as more senior members of the scientific and military communities engage the topic seriously, the less likely it is that people will continue to keep similar experiences to themselves.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.