According to Luis Elizondo, who once led the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), it is time for the public to become more open to the possibility that the existence of unidentified flying objects – which fall under UAP – is much closer to reality than it is to fiction.
Elizondo, who now works as the director of government programs at To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences (TTSA) – a company that conducts research into unidentified phenomena – made the comments a few months after the Pentagon confirmed the validity of three videos showing unidentified aerial phenomena captured by Navy pilots in 2004 and 2015.
The videos, all of which show strange objects capable of incredibly fast acceleration, movement at top speeds and other unusual maneuvers, had already been circulating online since 2017 and 2018, mainly due to their unauthorized release by the New York Times and TTSA.
According to the Defense department, their decision to validate and confirm the three videos was done in order “to clear up any misconceptions by the public.”
"Am I surprised that the government acknowledged the validity and the veracity of those videos? Not at all," Elizondo said in an interview with Newsweek.
"It was a matter of time, they didn't have a choice because ultimately, the paper trail goes back to the authenticity of these videos," Elizondo said.
Those three videos, however, are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, Elizondo said, noting that the Pentagon is still sitting on a pile of information that, as of press time, is still classified.
Nonetheless, Elizondo noted, the admission of the United States government and its agencies about the veracity of the videos can still be considered somewhat of a win, with Elizondo describing the event as “historical.”
"It is truly a historical moment when you have the United States government and multiple agencies in the organization coming forward and saying that the videos are not only real, but they are truly unidentified aerial phenomena," Elizondo stated. (Related: The Pentagon ADMITS to investigating UFOs to assess “potential threats to national security”.)
Other experts note, however, that while the veracity of the videos has been established, this does not necessarily mean that what they show are actually alien spacecraft, as they can simply be nothing more than atmospheric effects or technical glitches in the fighter jet imaging systems.
According to Elizondo, he welcomes this kind of skepticism, calling it an important part of the discussion surrounding such phenomena.
“I think the more data points we get, the better. I would just encourage those who jump to conclusions prematurely to take in all the data that's available,” Elizondo said, adding that those who still have doubts regarding possible extraterrestrial phenomena must exercise “due diligence” when it comes to doing research on the matter.
"So the only thing I would say is, for those who are skeptical, that's fine, remain skeptical but please do due diligence, do your homework, make sure that you don't cherry-pick one piece of information or the other,” Elizondo stated, noting that one must look at everything collectively and holistically in order to make an informed opinion.
“Let's not forget that in today's age of social media, anytime a video comes out within 24 hours, someone has been able to disprove it. In this case, that's never happened. They truly are anomalous," Elizondo added.
Following its confirmation of the videos from 2017 and 2018, the Pentagon team tasked with studying unidentified flying objects has announced additional plans to publicly release information on its findings.
Now known as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, the team will submit at least some of its work to the Senate Intelligence Committee every six months as per a report by the New York Times – with the inclusion of documents linked to their investigations regarding possible otherworldly artifacts being a likely possibility.
As detailed in the report, however, the main focus of the task force will be on discovering whether other nations are using or developing breakout aviation technology that could threaten the security of the United States.
According to Senator Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the unit will be tasked with providing the government with clear data on unidentified aerial phenomena, as well as their possible links to adversarial foreign governments.
“We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises and we don’t know what it is – and it isn’t ours,” Rubio said, referring to recent reports of unidentified aircraft being detected near American assets and installations.
Rubio, in an interview, noted that it would be “better” if the task force found out that the aircraft came from outside of the planet, instead of other countries that may threaten the United States.
“Frankly, that if it’s something from outside this planet – that might actually 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 activity,” Rubio, a Republican, said.
Despite the primary focus of the task force now shifting to military surveillance, retired officials previously involved with the unit – including former senate majority leader Harry Reid – still hope the program will get to seek evidence of technology from other worlds, especially since documentation regarding the government’s acquisition of “materials of undetermined origins” exist.
“There were reports – some were substantive, some not so substantive – that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Reid, a former senator from Nevada who pushed for funding the earlier UFO program, said in an interview, noting that more information should be released to the public in order to clarify and dispel any misinformation regarding issues related to UFOs.
Reid, in a previous statement published following the Pentagon’s confirmation of the footage, noted that the U.S. needs to take a “serious, scientific look” at this phenomenon as well as investigate any potential national security implications that may arise from it.
“The American people deserve to be informed,” Reid said.
“It is extremely important that information about the discovery of physical materials or retrieved craft come out,” he said.
Interest in UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial life spiked earlier this year, after President Donald Trump, in an interview with his son Donald Trump Jr., talked about being privy to information regarding Roswell, New Mexico – a city renowned for being the site of an alleged UFO crash back in 1947.
“There are millions and millions of people that want to go there, that want to see it. I won’t talk to you about what I know about it but it’s very interesting. But Roswell is a very interesting place with a lot of people that would like to know what’s going on,” the President said.
The elder Trump, however, demurred when asked by his son to declassify information about Roswell.
“I’ll have to think about that one,” President Trump said.
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