It turns out that reports of the 2012 demise of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) had been greatly exaggerated by the Pentagon, according to an Intelligence Authorization Act introduced into the Senate last month. This “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force”—as Bill S. 3905 calls it—was instead renamed and shuffled off to the Office of Naval Intelligence to continue collecting reports of military encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena.
Now mandated to “standardize collection and reporting” on UFO matters, the program itself doesn’t appear to be classified, although the matters it investigates are considered secret—understandable considering the encounters it investigates are made by U.S. military personnel. Despite Pentagon statements that they ended the program in 2012, former AATIP director Luis Elizondo has maintained that their investigations into UFOs never stopped to begin with.
But with this new order from the Senate Intelligence Committee for regular reports on their activities, Elizondo says that the task force can no longer remain hidden. “It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” according to Elizondo. “It will have a new transparency.”
The Senate’s newfound interest in UFOs was sparked by the 2017 revelation of three videos of UFO encounters that occurred in 2004 and 2014. Since then members of both Congress and the Senate have received high-level briefings from Pentagon officials on UFOs, apparently with an emphasis on concerns over national security.
In an interview with CBS’s Jim DeFede, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) expressed his concern that vehicles of unknown origin are “flying over our military bases and places where we’re conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is, and it isn’t ours.” He goes on to say that if these objects are from outside our planet “that actually might be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity.”
“But the bottom line is that there are things flying over your military bases and you don’t know what they are, because they’re not yours, and they exhibit potentially technologies that you don’t have at your own disposal. That, to me, is a national security risk, and one that we should be looking into.”
“Maybe there is a completely, sort of, boring explanation for it. But we need to find out.”
Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid has also called for inquiries into the UFO subject, citing the same national security concerns as Senator Rubio. Reid was involved in procuring funding for AATIP’s earlier incarnation, and has remained vocal about the need for this issue to be addressed at an official level.
The UFO pictured here is one of the clearest such images in private hands. It was taken by a member of the public in British Columbia, in the context of a flap involving many UFO sightings and abduction reports. (Each frame of the footage has been repeated 7 times in order to slow the image down. No effects have been applied to the image.)