Last year, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report on unidentified flying objects (UFOs), also called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).
The much-anticipated report had a number of interesting parts, including that only one of 144 UFO sightings reported by military personnel over the past 17 years has since been explained, and that the military confirmed they are interested in and investigating UFOs at all.
In the end, though, the report was generally disappointing for anyone looking for juicy explanations for UFOs, concluding that “the limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP."
The one incident they did find an explanation for turned out to be a deflating balloon.
However, while these files were released, members of Congress were shown an additional classified report unavailable to the public. Well, thanks to the dedication of UFO website The Black Vault, the classified report is not so much classified as it is available as a PDF.
The redacted files have a few more tantalizing glimpses at the sort of incidents they are investigating.
"In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics, including several in which the [redacted] involving [redacted]," one frustrating snippet reads. "These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."
Another part explains that there are "multiple types" of UAP sightings, with different appearances and explanations. However, they say UAP incidents – when resolved – fall into the category of "airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or U.S. industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall 'other' bin."
The incomplete files reveal that most of the reports from military personnel came within the last two years – not due to an alien invasion, but because a better reporting system came into place. They acknowledge, however, that some are afraid to come forward with information about UAPs, writing "reputational risk may keep many observers silent, complicating scientific pursuit of the topic."
Some sightings of the UFOs were described, though many were still thoroughly redacted.
"Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly or move at considerable speed without discernable means of propulsion," one report reads, with a description of a UAP that appeared to be unaffected by winds so strong that a pilot was "fighting to keep his aircraft in the airspace".
The report confirms that the military will continue to look into UAPs, particularly when it is deemed a matter of national security.
"We currently lack data to determine any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary," they wrote in the report. "We continue to monitor for evidence of such programs given the counterintelligence threat they would pose, particularly as some UAP have been detected near military facilities or by aircraft carrying the USG's most advanced sensor systems."