Classified UFO briefings may have left senators 'disturbed,' expert says

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On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee made the unusual request to ask the Pentagon for a detailed, unclassified report on unidentified aerial phenomena that some believe may not be of this world.

One expert thinks this may stem from lawmakers being "disturbed" by what they heard.

"I welcome this long-overdue development," Nick Pope, a former employee and UFO investigator for Britain's Ministry of Defense, said in an email to Fox News. "It suggests that those senators who received last year's classified briefing on UFOs were disturbed by it and weren't satisfied with the current DOD position, i.e. simply stating that the mystery objects encountered by naval aviators remain unidentified."

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In his report attached to the 2020-2021 Senate Intelligence Authorization Act, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, instructed the director of national intelligence, the secretary of defense and other agency heads to compile data on “unidentified aerial phenomenon."

"The Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the federal government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat,” lawmakers wrote in a report.

“The Committee understands that the relevant intelligence may be sensitive; nevertheless, the Committee finds that the information sharing and coordination across the Intelligence Community has been inconsistent, and this issue has lacked attention from senior leaders,” they added.

The bill still needs to pass the Senate. Lawmakers are asking for a report within 180 days of the bill's approval.

In April, the Pentagon officially released videos of "unidentified aerial phenomena," known as "FLIR1,” “Gimbal” and “GoFast,” previously captured by Navy aircraft. The footage had circulated in the public for years. They were originally released to the New York Times and to The Stars Academy of Arts & Science.

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Pope noted the term "unidentified aerial phenomenon" was first adopted at the MoD in the 1990s "as part of a rebranding of the phenomenon to shed the pop culture baggage that comes with the term UFO."

After the videos were released publicly, the head of TTSA and former Blink-182 co-founder Tom DeLonge said "UFOs are real" in a since-deleted tweet.

The first video of the unidentified object was taken on Nov. 14, 2004, and shot by the F-18's gun camera. The second video was shot on Jan. 21, 2015, and shows another aerial vehicle with pilots commenting on how strange it is.

The third video was also taken on Jan. 21, 2015, but it is unclear whether the third video was of the same object or a different one.

Seven months prior, in September 2019, the U.S. Navy first acknowledged the videos contained unidentified objects, specifically using "unidentified aerial phenomena" terminology.

Pope added that not only did the bill put President Trump's interview with his son last week "into a new light" with the committee taking the matter "extremely seriously," but that the government may know more than it is letting on.

"The Act's reference to 'inconsistent' sharing and coordination of information on this issue isn't written in the UFO community's language of cover-ups and conspiracies, but clearly suggests the committee shares the views of UFO researchers, and thinks elements within government know more about UFOs than they're letting on," Pope wrote in a subsequent email to Fox News.

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In an interview earlier this month, Donald Trump Jr. asked his father if he would let us know if there are aliens, adding it's "the only thing I really want to know" and if he would ever "open up Roswell and let us know what's going on there."

"So many people ask me that question," the president said. "There are millions and millions of people that want to go there, that want to see it. I won't talk to you about what I know about it but it's very interesting. But Roswell is a very interesting place with a lot of people that would like to know what's going on."

When pressed further about declassifying information about Roswell, the president said, "I'll have to think about that one."

President Trump had expressed skepticism of the existence of UFOs in previous interviews.

"I want them to think whatever they think," Trump told ABC News' George Stephanopolous earlier this year, referring to the Navy pilots. "I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly."

In December 2017, Fox News reported that the Pentagon had secretly set up a program to investigate UFOs at the request of former Sen. Harry Reid.

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Fox News' Louis Casiano and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.