Redacted classified UFO report reveals new info on 'shapes,' investigation into 'unexplained' phenomena

FOIA activist site The Black Vault published redacted report

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A classified government report on "Unexplained Aerial Phenomena" shows the U.S. is investigating the shapes of objects sometimes seen by military pilots, and reveals details of the plan to investigate them. 

A highly redacted version of the report, provided to Congress last June, was published this week by Freedom of Information Act activist John Greenewald on his website The Black Vault

A shorter public version of the report was published around the same by the director of national intelligence (DNI). The longer declassified version published by The Black Vault closely mirrors that report but with additional specific details, especially about the shapes of the "Unexplained Aerial Phenomena" (UAP). 

 UFO seen in clip released by Department of Defense. A Pentagon watchdog is launching a probe into the actions taken by the Department of Defense after a series of UFO sightings in recent years.   

 UFO seen in clip released by Department of Defense. A Pentagon watchdog is launching a probe into the actions taken by the Department of Defense after a series of UFO sightings in recent years.    (Department of Defense)

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"The most common shape described by military personnel in their reporting was a [redacted]," one part of the classified report published by The Black Vault reads. "Military aviators described many of these [redacted] objects as [redacted] or that [redacted]. Several sightings were [redacted] and resembled [redacted] shapes like a [redacted] or a [redacted]."

The phenomena long have been publicly reported, including as early as 2019 by The New York Times. In a 2019 story, the Times reported U.S. Navy pilots have been seeing these objects for years, with an especially high rate of sightings on the East Coast between 2014 and 2015. 

The 2021 report by the DNI said the government recorded 144 reports from 2004 to 2021, including 80 that "involved observation with multiple sensors."

The classified version published by The Black Vault also reveals further details about the nature of the reports. 

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"In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics," it says. "Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly or move at considerable speed without discernable means of propulsion. In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings."

That description is consistent with previously published video of the UAP, including some that was declassified by the Pentagon in 2020, as Fox News previously reported.

The most heavily redacted parts of the report published by The Black Vault are from pages and sections that do not appear on the initial unclassified version at all. Those include sections about "common shapes" and "less common/irregular shapes" reported by observers of the phenomena. The entire sections about the shapes are redacted. 

The government has said that UAP "probably lack a single explanation," but that it classifies them into five categories. Those are "airborne clutter," including birds and balloons; "natural atmospheric phenomena," including ice crystals or thermal fluctuations; "USG or industry developmental programs," meaning "classified programs by U.S. entities;" and "foreign adversary systems," from Russia, China or other countries. There's also a final catch-all "other" category which the government says "we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize."

Neither the classified nor unclassified reports rule out aliens. 

The classified report published by The Black Vault includes what appears to be descriptions of multiple UAP instances reported by Navy pilots, though the details are heavily redacted. It also says that the federal Unexplained Aerial Phenomena Task Force (USATF) plans to "leverage" data sharing of non-military departments in the federal government to learn more about the phenomena. 

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The report published by The Black Vault also includes a section on the "Geospatial Intelligence," "Signals Intelligence," "Human Intelligence," and "Measurement and Signature Intelligence," used to observe the phenomena. The details in that section are also heavily redacted. 

Another appendix in the report published by The Black Vault reveals that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its resources could be useful in learning more about the UAP. 

"Given the national security implications associated with potential threats posed by UAP operating in close proximity to sensitive military activities, installations, critical infrastructure, or other national security sites, the FBI is positioned to use its investigative capabilities and authorities to support deliberate DoD and interagency efforts to determine attribution," the report said.