The UAPTF spent the past eight years hidden away inside the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the country's oldest active government intelligence service. In the years since its supposed disbandment, it has continued to collect information on the country's encounters with all manners of unidentified aerial objects.
The UAPTF's existence was first brought into the public view in June of this year, when the senate's Select Committee on Intelligence addressed some of the task force's activities under the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. This bill seeks to regulate how the task force tracks, organizes and makes their information relating to UFOs accessible to the wider public. Among the bill's stipulations is that the task force needs to submit a public report on their activities “in unclassified form” within 180 days after the bill is signed into law.
“The committee understands that the relevant intelligence may be sensitive; nevertheless, the committee finds that the information sharing and coordination across the intelligence community has been inconsistent,” wrote the members of the Intelligence Committee in their bill.
Back in March, a former consultant for the UAPTF made a briefing to representatives from the Pentagon concerning certain aspects about the program. The former employee mentioned the retrieval of “off-world vehicles not made on this Earth.” (Related: Enemy drones or extraterrestrial aircraft? U.S. Navy releases reports of several Navy aircraft encounters with UFOs during the 2010s.)
Despite this, the former consultant has not yet produced any evidence of the alleged encounters with extraterrestrial technology.
In 2017, the Pentagon acknowledged that they had been funding a secret multimillion-dollar program dedicated to investigating credible UFO sightings. The program was supposedly named the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). They admitted to continuing to fund it despite defense chiefs previously claiming that the UFO hunting department was shut down in 2012.
“It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DOD to make a change,” said a spokeswoman for the Pentagon at the time.
While the defense chiefs claimed that the AATIP specifically had been shut down in 2012, they were less clear about whether or not a similar UFO investigation program was still lurking around somewhere inside the Pentagon. Several people who worked with the top secret UFO hunting program up to and after 2017 have confirmed to the New York Times that the task force has continued to exist, but it was shuffled around to a different office and was given a different name.
According to them, the first program specifically created to investigate credible sightings of UFOs was created in the Pentagon back in 2017 under the purview of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). For reasons that are still unclear, the program was then transferred to the ONI. The task force's name was unknown to the public until the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearings concerning the office's UFO hunting programs in June.
“It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” said Luiz Elizondo, a former military intelligence official and the task force's previous director, of the UAPTF eventually making their findings available to the public.
While the claim that the UAPTF was able to find evidence of extraterrestrial objects is very concerning, the Senate's focus on the program's activities is more focused on the threat posed by unidentified aerial objects sent by the country's adversaries, such as Russia or China. Particularly, the U.S. is worried about communist China's ability to spy on the country using secretly developed aerial devices such as drones.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has expressed his fears concerning observation aircraft entering the country and spying on U.S. military bases.
Rubio's main fear is that China, Russia or some other adversary of the United States, like Iran, may have made some kind of “technological leap” that has given these nations the ability to conduct highly sophisticated observation activities.
While the Pentagon's UFO hunting programs have a clear goal of collecting data and reporting on “unidentified aerial phenomena,” as well as any links these aircraft have to “adversarial foreign governments,” senators have alleged that the information sharing has been inconsistent, which is what led to the Senate Intelligence Committee demanding a full report on the UAPTF's activities.
“The bottom line is that if 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,” said the Florida senator.
Learn more about UFOs and the ongoing search for them at UFOs.news.