First, the study limited its scope to UAP reports between November 2004 and March 2021 from military aviators – mostly naval pilots – whom the ODNI considered reliable witnesses. Surprisingly, they found 144 such reports and only 1 of them they could explain (but added they could eliminate more sightings with more data). Eighty of these reports were supported by electronic sensors (i.e. radar, infrared), giving credence not just to the reports, but that the UAPs were real, solid objects (as opposed to illusions or storm clouds). And 18 of the UAPs demonstrated speeds or movements that could not be explained by existing technologies.
Perhaps more disquieting is that most of these sightings were around military installations or training and testing grounds. This is what we’d expect if the witnesses were military personnel. But is that the only reason? Eleven of these UAPs had near collisions with the military aircraft. Could they have been attacks? Warnings? Testing of the aircraft’s capabilities? The ODNI must have wondered that too. They warned that these UAPs were potential hazards to national security.
Sightings of UFOs stretch all the way back to antiquity, but these strange encounters increased exponentially during World War II, the most violent conflict in human history. Sightings were so common, U.S. aviators began to call them “Foo Fighters.” Coined by Donald Meiers, a radar operator for the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, Foo Fighters described mysterious glowing objects seen in the skies over Europe during missions. There are several accounts of Foo Fighters following or shadowing military aircraft for several minutes before peeling away, changing direction and speed on a dime. The fear was that Hitler had developed a superweapon, but aviation historians have since denied that possibility. The Nazis had neither aircraft nor rockets advanced enough for such maneuvers. Nor are there any known instances of these UFOs engaging these aircraft in combat, something the Nazis would definitely do. So what would be the purpose of shadowing and observing aircraft on combat missions?
Perhaps more disconcerting was the appearance of these lights after the war around the top secret Los Alamos and Sandia atomic weapons laboratories in New Mexico where the world’s first atomic bomb was assembled and tested. By 1948, the labs – specifically Los Alamos—were developing the thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb that was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb. For nine days in December, 1948, green orbs of light – sometimes called balls of fire – flew above or near the labs. On December 5th , one of the orbs played chicken with an aircraft, forcing the pilot to veer off at the last second. On December 20th, a green orb descended at 45 degrees, then abruptly leveled off – something a meteorite wouldn’t do. Nor did anyone find evidence a meteorite reached the ground. The government was so disconcerted that they sent an expert to investigate and he determined the lights were man-made, either secret U.S. “defensive devices” or Soviet spying apparatus. Another expert posited it was ball lightning, but ball lightning is so rare we know very little about it. What are the odds something so rare would happen in the same area on nine separate nights in the same month? The lights continued to visit the area until the early 1950’s.