Just to make 2020 that little bit weirder, the Pentagon has officially declassified and released three videos of "unidentified aerial phenomena” (that's UFOs to the rest of us).
Two of the videos were first leaked and published by the New York Times in 2017 alongside interviews with some of the pilots who filmed the footage. The third video was later published by the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, a UFO research group founded by former Blink-182 singer Tom DeLonge.
While the US Department of Defense (DOD) has previously acknowledged the existence of the videos, they were never cleared for public release – until now.
“DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” the DOD said in a statement.
“The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.’“
The three clips – titled "FLIR.mp4," "GOFAST.wmv" and "GIMBAL.wmv" – can be found on the Naval Air Systems Command website and are available to download.
One of the videos (above) – titled FLIR1 – shows an incident in November 2004 when two Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets started chasing an unknown flying object off the coast of southern California. The video has since obtained the nickname “Tic Tac,” as it features an oblong-shaped object appearing to instantaneously change direction in the sky. The official government report on the incident says the object “descended ‘very rapidly’ from approximately 60,000 feet [18,300 meters] down to approximately 50 feet [15 meters] in a matter of seconds.”
The other two videos (below) – titled GOFAST and GIMBAL – show two incidents off the East Coast of the US in 2015. Five Navy pilots involved in the encounter told The New Times in 2017 that they had multiple encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena during training missions in 2014 and 2015 along the East Coast from Virginia to Florida.
"Dude, this is a f*cking drone, bro,” a pilot exclaims in the GOFAST video below.
"They're all going against the wind. The wind's 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!" the pilot added. "It's rotating!"
Although the formal release of these videos doesn’t provide any new information, it’s being considered a fairly big move for the Pentagon to be so transparent on the ever-controversial topic of UFOs.
“I’m glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage, but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available. The US needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications. The American people deserve to be informed,” tweeted Harry Reid, a Former Senate Majority Leader who pushed through a number of classified US government programs to study unexplained aerial phenomena.