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Pentagon Report Confirms No UFO Cover-Up, Yet Debate Persists

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The Pentagon office in charge of investigating UFO reports — now known officially as unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs — today provided its most detailed explanation for what it said were false or misconstrued claims of alien visitations over the decades.

The first volume of a historical record report released by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, in response to a congressional mandate did include a fresh disclosure: During the 2010s, U.S. government officials considered a proposed program code-named “Kona Blue” that would have looked into the possibility that extraterrestrial technology could be reverse-engineered. But the Department of Homeland Security rejected the idea because it lacked merit, the report said.

“It is critical to note that no extraterrestrial craft or bodies were ever collected — this material was only assumed to exist by Kona Blue advocates and its anticipated contract performers,” according to the report. The same assumptions were made by outside investigators who delved into UAP reports as part of an earlier Pentagon-funded program, AARO said.

One of the investigators involved in that program — which was known as the Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Application Program or the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AAWSAP/AATIP) — made clear that he’d continue trying to keep the alien angle in the public eye.

“Today the Pentagon and its current UAP investigative program, AARO, issued a public report that is intentionally dishonest, inaccurate and dangerously misleading,” Lue Elizondo, who helped spark renewed interest in UFO reports in 2017, said in a posting to X / Twitter. “Myself and others who are aware of the truth are going to keep working to help Congress in their efforts to achieve disclosure.”

But Mick West, a retired software engineer who specializes in analyzing UFO/UAP reports, said the newly released report shows how a belief in alien phenomena can be self-reinforcing. “A belief in the supernatural … is what led to the current UFO flap that AARO is trying to pour cold water on,” West said on X / Twitter.

The ups and downs of UFOs

The 63-page report traces government-funded efforts to investigate sightings of unidentified flying objects going back to before the 1947 Roswell UFO incident, which was the subject of a “Case Closed” report on the 50th anniversary in 1997. Pages and pages are devoted to recounting projects that are well-known to the UFO community, including Project Blue Book and the Condon Report.

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AARO acknowledged that there was “about a 40-year gap” in official efforts to investigate UAP sightings after Project Blue Book was terminated in 1969. The efforts resumed in earnest in 2009, primarily due to the interest of the late Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who was Senate majority leader at the time.

For several years, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency funded the AAWSAP/AATIP’s investigation into anomalous sightings. The review of aerial sightings by military personnel was conducted by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, which was created by Nevada billionaire Robert Bigelow.

When the funding for AAWSAP/AATIP ended in 2012, some of the people who were associated with the project — including Elizondo — continued their work in other roles. They also unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Department of Homeland Security to set up the Kona Blue program.

It took until 2020 for the Department of Defense to get back into the business of official UFO/UAP investigations. A series of initiatives focused on the possibility that some anomalous sightings might be due to novel technologies developed by Russia or China that might pose a threat to national security. Perhaps the best-known sightings of that type were last year’s reports about a Chinese spy balloon that crossed the U.S. and was eventually shot down by an Air Force fighter jet.

Highlights from the UFO files

In its previous reports, AARO has said it found no evidence of extraterrestrial explanations for UAP sightings. Instead, the office has traced all but a few of the sightings to more mundane causes such as balloons, drones, aerial clutter and natural phenomena. It said that some of the alien claims misconstrued sensitive national security programs — and that a small number of sightings remained unexplained, but did not merit being considered evidence of extraterrestrial activity.

“All investigative efforts, at all levels of classification, concluded that most sightings were ordinary objects and phenomena and the result of misidentification,” the Pentagon’s press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, said today in a statement about today’s report. “AARO assesses that all of the named and described alleged hidden UAP reverse-engineering programs provided by interviewees either do not exist; are misidentified authentic national security programs that are not related to extraterrestrial technology exploitation; or resolve to a disestablished program.”

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Today’s report addressed some oft-debated UAP cases:

  • One of the people interviewed by AARO claimed that a military officer explained in detail how he touched an extraterrestrial spacecraft. But the officer, now retired, recounted a story about touching an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter — and said that tale could have been misconstrued by the person who heard the story.
  • Another interviewee claimed that he witnessed what he believed to be the testing of extraterrestrial technology at a government facility. AARO said that “almost certainly was an observation of an authentic, non-UAP-related technology test that strongly correlated in time, location and description provided in the interviewee’s account.”
  • Yet another claim had to do with a metallic material that was reportedly tested by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies. Some suggested that the material couldn’t be identified by scientists and might have had extraterrestrial origins. But the AARO said further tests found that the material was a “manufactured, terrestrial alloy and does not represent off-world technology or possess any exceptional qualities.” AARO said the sample is possibly of U.S. Air Force origin — and is primarily composed of magnesium, zinc and bismuth, plus trace elements including lead.

What’s next on the UAP frontier

AARO said that it’s continuing to investigate unresolved UAP cases. The historical review in today’s report takes the story only as far as last Oct. 31 — and information gathered since that time will be addressed in a second volume to come.

Today’s report notes that UAP investigations have been challenged by insufficient data and the limitations of sensor technologies. “In terms of military reporting the sensors on which UAP most frequently are captured are calibrated and optimized for combat,” AARO explained. “UAP are not routinely captured by exquisite, high-definition, multi-capability, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection platforms — a threshold which is often required to successfully resolve a case.”

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To address that shortcoming, AARO is developing a new surveillance capability known as the Gremlin System, which should be able to track anomalous phenomena with hyperspectral imaging.

“We’re working with some of the government labs, such as the Department of Energy labs, and we have a great partner with Georgia Tech,” DefenseScoop quoted acting AARO Director Tim Phillips as saying. “And what we’re doing is developing a deployable, configurable sensor suite that we can put in Pelican cases.”

Phillips said the portable kit is being tested in Texas and will enable long-term collection of hyperspectral data in the field.

There’s also a chance that Congress will schedule a sequel to last summer’s House subcommittee hearing on UAPs, during which witnesses claimed that the Pentagon knew more than it was telling lawmakers. Today’s AARO report said such claims were in large part “the result of circular reporting from a group of individuals who believe this to be the case, despite the lack of any evidence.” But Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican who was in on last year’s hearing, criticized the report in a posting to X / Twitter:

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Black couple overcomes racism to rent to Chinese family, who show gratitude by paying rent.

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Decades ago, in the early 1900s, racism and discriminatory housing practices plagued the town of Coronado, barring many individuals from living in certain neighborhoods based on their race. In the midst of this oppressive era, an inspiring story of resilience and generosity unfolded between two families — the Thompsons, a Black couple, and the Dongs, a Chinese family.

Gus and Emma Thompson, who were among the few Black families to own property in Coronado before racial restrictions took hold, defied the norms of the time by renting their house to the Dong family. Lloyd Dong Sr., a Chinese immigrant, and his wife found solace in the Thompsons’ willingness to offer them a place to call home despite the racist barriers they faced.

Fast forward 85 years later, the sons of Lloyd Dong Sr., Ron Dong, and Lloyd Dong Jr., have decided to pay forward the kindness shown to their family by donating $5 million from the sale of the house they eventually owned to San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center. This generous gift will help expand scholarships for Black students and fund renovations at the center, creating a lasting impact on the community.

Exterior view of a single-story home

The Dongs’ family house in Coronado, originally the home of the Thompsons.

(Courtesy of Janice Dong)

This heartwarming tale of intergenerational gratitude highlights the resilience and spirit of unity that transcends racial boundaries. Brandon Gamble, the director of the Black Resource Center, expressed the profound impact of this donation on the community, emphasizing the importance of stories that challenge racism and foster a sense of camaraderie.

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Reflecting on the legacy of his father and the Thompsons, Ron Dong shared, “That was the big plus for our family, because it has made all the difference for us.” The intertwined histories of the Thompson and Dong families serve as a testament to the power of empathy and solidarity in the face of adversity.

Gus Thompson’s journey from slavery to becoming a respected community leader in Coronado, coupled with Emma Thompson’s advocacy for civil rights, exemplifies the resilience and determination of marginalized communities to thrive in the face of oppression.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

(Norman Baynard Collection / San Diego History Center)

The legacy of allyship and support exemplified by the Thompsons extends to their willingness to assist Asian Americans facing similar discriminatory practices. This act of solidarity echoes the sentiment that in times of oppression, helping others regardless of race is not just a gesture but a necessity.

As the Dong family embraced their new home in Coronado, overcoming discrimination and forging their path to homeownership, they carried forward the spirit of resilience and unity shown to them by the Thompsons. The bond between these two families serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in a society marred with division and prejudice.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and tent city on the beach, 1908.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and a tent city on the beach, 1908.

(Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images)

The resilience and determination displayed by the Dong family in the face of discrimination, coupled with their unwavering commitment to education and community upliftment, exemplify the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The decision to give back to the community through education underscores the transformative power of generosity and empathy in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

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As the Dongs’ generous donation paves the way for future generations to access educational opportunities and resources, their story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who strive to overcome adversity and champion unity in the face of division.

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