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We were part of The New York Times team (along with Washington correspondent Helen Cooper), which told the story of a long-secret Pentagon unit investigating unidentified flying objects, the Aerospace Threat Identification Program in December 2017.
Since then, we have reported close encounters between Navy pilots and UFOs, and last week about the current updated program, the Specialized Group on Unknown Aerial Phenomena, and its official briefings ̵1; which have been going on for more than a decade – for intelligence officials, aerospace officials and members of Congress report UFO crashes and materials received.
We are often asked by well-meaning like-minded people and readers: “Do you believe in UFOs?” The question will surprise us as improper personal. Times journalists are particularly opposed to identifying opinions that may indicate possible reporting bias.
But in this case, we have no problem answering: “No, we do not believe in UFOs “
As we see, their existence or absence is not a matter of faith.
We admire what the great anthropologist Margaret Mead said when she was asked a long time ago if she believed in UFOs. She called it a “stupid question”, writing on Redbook in 1974:
“Faith concerns matters of faith; it has nothing to do with the type of knowledge based on scientific research. … Do people believe in the sun or the moon, the changing seasons or the chairs they sit on? When we want to understand something strange, something previously unknown to anyone, we must start with a completely different set of questions. What it is? How does it work? “
This is what the Pentagon’s UFO program has focused on, making it important for the news. And to make it clear: UFOs do not mean aliens. The unknown means that we do not know what they are, only that they demonstrate capabilities that seem impossible due to current technology.
In our reporting, we focused on how the Department of Defense, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the members of the two Senate committees deal with this topic. Current officials are concerned about the potential threat posed by very real, advanced technology objects: how close they can get to our fighters, sometimes causing close misses, and the risk that our opponents may acquire technology demonstrated by objects we make earlier.
So if UFOs are no longer a matter of faith, what are they and how do they do what they do?
And if the technology was found from downed objects, what better way to try to understand how they work?
Our previous stories were fairly easy to document with Defense Department UFO videos and eyewitness reports backed up by reports of Navy danger of close encounters with small high-speed objects.
But our last article suggested a more formidable set of challenges, as we were dealing with the possible existence of UFO-derived material. extraordinary evidence.
Numerous Pentagon staffers, with a high level of security and decades of involvement in official UFO investigations, told us that they were convinced that such crashes had occurred based on their access to classified information. But the materials obtained and any data about them are absolutely not limited to anyone without permission and need to know.
We were provided with a series of unclassified slides showing that the program took it seriously enough to include it in numerous briefings. One slide stated that one of the tasks of the program was to “organize access to data / reports / materials obtained from AAV emergency search engines” or modern spacecraft.
Our sources have told us that “AAV” does not apply to vehicles made in any country – not Russian or Chinese – but is used to denote technology in a really incomprehensible field. They also assure us that their instructions are based on facts, not faith.
Ralph Blumenthal was a Times reporter from 1964 to 2009. Leslie Keane has written a book and articles about UFOs