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Pentagon shoots down UFO rumors but says 650 cases are still pending

Has found no evidence of alien tech or objects that defy the known laws of physics

The Pentagon's recently-established All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) - set up to investigate unidentified flying objects - has not found any evidence of aliens in its analysis, its director has said.

At hearings (one open and one closed) held by the Senate Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities this week, Sean Kirkpatrick said most sightings of UFOs are not as strange as they first appear. They are often balloons, unmanned aerial systems, or aircraft, and look odd due to natural phenomena.

I encourage those who hold alternative theories to research to credible peer reviewed scientific journals

"I want to underscore that only a very small percentage of [unidentified anomalous phenomena] (UAP) reports display signatures that could reasonably be described as anomalous," he said during this opening testimony at the hearing.

AARO has failed to resolve some incidents, but it's not because something is inexplicable but due to a lack of data. "In our research, AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics," Kirkpatrick confirmed.

In other words: It's not aliens. 

Kirkpatrick said that if the Office does find sufficient scientific data supporting the idea of an object of extraterrestrial origin, it would share its findings with NASA and alert US government personnel. Amateur UFO spotters are fine, he said, but need to apply scientific method to their claims.

"I encourage those who hold alternative theories or views to submit your research to credible peer reviewed scientific journals. ARRO is working very hard to do the same. That is how science works, not by blog or social media…By its very nature, the UAP challenge has for decades lent itself to mystery, sensationalism and even conspiracy.

"For that reason, AARO remains committed to transparency, accountability, and to sharing as much with the American public as we can, consistent with our obligation to protect not only intelligence sources and methods, but US and allied capabilities," he added.

Information on UFOs, however, is often classified even when cases are been resolved, he explained. Although officials may have identified what those objects are, they might not be completely benign.

They could, for example, be aircraft deployed by foreign states for defense or surveillance purposes. It's possible those objects could also be top secret technology being developed by the US or its allies that ARRO won't report either. 

Kirkpatrick said that most of the UFOs are spotted hovering 15,000 to 25,000 feet above ground, which is where most commercial flights operate. They are often round or spherical in shape and white, silver, or metallic in color, the DoD has said. They have apparent velocities anywhere from being stationary to two times the speed of sound.

AARO was launched last year with the goal of working together with different defense and intelligence agencies to detect and identify objects operating in US airspace near sensitive areas, like government or military bases, that could threaten national security.

The Office is, as of this week, examining 650 cases. Half are considered "especially interesting and anomalous," according to the Department of Defense. ®

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