The military UFO plot has, somehow, thickened yet again: The Inspector General of the Department of Defense is itself investigating the Pentagon’s program to investigate reports of unidentified aerial phenomena.
The top investigatory and oversight watchdog at the Pentagon announced the “subject evaluation” in a light-on-details letter that clarified its scope is to “determine the extent to which the DoD has taken actions regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).” The letter also stated that the Inspector General plans to perform the evaluation at the “Offices of the Secretary of Defense, Military Services, Combatant Commands, Combat Support Agencies, Defense Agencies, and the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations,” as well as others that may turn up during the investigation. The investigation is slated for May 2021, meaning it has either already begun or will soon.
For years, U.S. military personnel (in particular Navy pilots) have reported odd, publicly unexplained phenomena in the skies—such as videos recorded by fighter pilots showing unknown objects supposedly maneuvering in ways outside the bounds of known engineering limits or a 2019 incident where objects suspected to be drones buzzed a naval squadron conducting training exercises near the Channel Islands over the course of multiple nights. In some cases, the sightings were substantiated by other evidence like radar readings.
The Pentagon has since publicly acknowledged that the accounts of such incidents are real, and the Navy has stated it would create a new reporting process to investigate them more thoroughly. The Defense Department and the Director of National Intelligence have been tasked with presenting a report on their findings to Congress, though the process has reportedly been stymied by bureaucratic military infighting.
Media attention to the sightings has grown in recent years in part to the efforts of various people involved with Blink 182 rocker Tom DeLonge’s To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA), who have publicized military footage of the encounters, and a series of New York Times articles on a secretive, $22 million Pentagon project called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The program was reportedly a pet project of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a known UFO believer, and steered funding to curious places, such as an aerospace research firm run by Reid associate Robert Bigelow and nearly 40 studies on bizarre topics that Wired reported included “invisibility cloaks and warps drives, to fusion power and laser weapons, to more general advanced physics and materials science work.” Other curious references came up, such as “metallic alloys” (later clarified to be “meta materials”) being recovered as part of the UAP program. Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official who ran the program, is now associated with TTSA.
It’s not just the Navy that has been interested: In 2019, an Army combat vehicle program signed a contract with TTSA to study exotic technologies based on “meta materials” it reportedly acquired from a UFO researcher involving at least $750,000 in military spending. The Army later refused to release any information about what was going on to Motherboard.
If the military knows what’s been flying around up there, it hasn’t told anyone who hasn’t kept it secret. Explanations that have been floated include regular aircraft, weather balloons, and the like misidentified by military personnel (possibly with the aid of malfunctioning equipment), advanced aircraft being operated by an unknown adversary, or if you really want to stretch the evidence until it’s as thin as the rumored meta-materials, extraterrestrial visitation.
It’s not clear why the Inspector General might be interested in the Pentagon’s UFO-tracking activity, but one might speculate that it could be related to whether the office believes Defense Department funds were properly disbursed in the course of all these doings. Other possible explanations include mishandling of classified materials. Who knows? Maybe this is just an excuse for the men in black helicopters to come clean house.