A report released by the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense on Friday examining “unidentified aerial phenomena” witnessed by U.S. military personnel in recent years found no evidence that the objects are of extraterrestrial origin.
However, the report, which was mandated by Congress, said the U.S. government can’t explain 143 of the 144 cases of unidentified flying objects reported by military planes.
The one unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) that the government was eventually able to identify was a large, deflating balloon, according to the report.
“The others remain unexplained,” the report said.
“The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP,” the report says.
It concluded that the UAP were not the result of advanced U.S. government technology.
Yet investigators believe that the majority of the sightings were “physical objects,” according to CNN.
“We absolutely do believe what we’re seeing are not simply sensor artifacts. These are things that physically exist,” an official told reporters.
The official said that 80 percent of the reported incidents included data from multiple sensors and that in eleven cases, investigators think there was a “near-miss” collision with U.S. personnel.
Lawmakers and intelligence and military personnel investigating UAP have expressed greater concern that the unidentified objects could be the result of a foreign adversary such as Russia or China testing next-generation technology in U.S. airspace, rather than the possibility that aliens are visiting Earth.
However, Representative Jim Himes (D., Conn.) said last week that if the sightings were the result of Chinese or Russian technology, the intelligence community would not want to reveal what it does and does not know.
“They’re very sensitive to, if this is an adversary, you want to be really careful about saying, ‘we know this and we don’t know that,'” he said. “The report is going to be a little unsatisfying for that reason and that reason alone.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who pushed the Senate Intelligence Committee to pass legislation requiring the Pentagon and intelligence community to provide a public analysis of the encounters, called the release of the report an “important first step.”
“For years, the men and women we trust to defend our country reported encounters with unidentified aircraft that had superior capabilities, and for years their concerns were often ignored and ridiculed,” Rubio said in a statement on Friday. “This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step. The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern.”