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.
If Washington was concerned about the green orbs over Los Alamos, imagine how they’d feel with UFOs whizzing over their heads. Shortly before midnight on July 19th, 1952, an air-traffic controller at Washington National Airport found 7 slow-moving unidentified objects on his radar. Two more controllers at National Airport reported an odd light in the distance that hovered, then zipped away. Controllers at Andrews Air Force Base also saw a cluster of blips on their radar, racing away at speeds exceeding 7,000 mph. A commercial pilot for Capital Airlines saw six streaking lights over Washington “like falling stars without tails.” He added: “In my years of flying I’ve seen a lot of falling stars… But these were much faster… They couldn’t have been aircraft.” Two F-94 jets were sent to investigate, but the lights disappeared. The lights reappeared a week later on July 26 and this time an F-94 acquired a visual on the lights. But his jet had a top speed of 640 mph and he never caught up to it.
The next day the press was screaming for answers. President Truman was demanding them. So the Air Force did the obvious thing: it lied. A press conference was called and the press was told it was a temperature inversion, which, they explained, happens when warm air traps cooler air low in the atmosphere and radar signals bounce off it, making ground objects appear to be flying. It’s fairly common in the muggy summer months in Washington D.C., so common that all the radar operators were familiar with it and insisted temperature inversions were not what they saw on radar. Nor would an F-94 pilot chase a temperature inversion. And yet the Air Force explanation worked: the public outcry fell to a whisper.
But in true government form, they assigned a group to study the phenomena (but were not interested in properly funding it). The U.S. government entity that put out the June 25, 2021, report was the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF). It was just the most recent entity in a long history of such entities. The first three were Project Sign (1948), Project Grudge (1949 – 1951) and Project Blue Book (1952 – 1969) all headed by the U.S. Air Force. The latter – Project Blue Book – was established in March 1952 and probably would have continued to investigate a handful of sightings a year if it weren’t for the April 7, 1952, issue of Life magazine. Just to the left of a sultry picture of Marilyn Monroe was the caption “There is a Case For Interplanetary Saucers.” UFOlogy was suddenly mainstream and Project Blue was inundated with UFO sightings, jumping from 23 in March to 148 in June. But after the Air Force’s temperature inversion theory was released, sightings to Project Blue Book dropped again, from 50 a day to 10. Years later when the relevant government papers were declassified, they showed that the administration wasn’t trying to cover-up secrets, unless you consider their inability to find their own butt inside their pants a secret.