Two classified reports from the Pentagon's task force used to "detect, analyze and catalog" UFOs have been leaked, both of which include photos of unidentified objects.
Defense news website TheDebrief.org has published the reports, including an Oct. 16, 2019, email exchange between former Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke and current Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force Gen. Stephen Wilson. This exchange was obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from The Debrief.
“Recommend you take the brief I just received from our Director of Naval Intelligence VADM Matt Kohler, on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP),” Burke told Wilson in the email. Burke added that "SECNAV will get the same brief tomorrow at 1000," likely referring to then-Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer.
The leaked photo, taken off the East Coast of the U.S. by a "pilot’s personal cell phone," was a part of the 2018 position report, one source told the news outlet. This report discussed what the unidentified silver “cube-shaped” object could be, with a list of possible explanations discussed, including the fact it could be “alien” or “non-human” technology.
The 2020 photo, which has been leaked but is not widely available yet, is described as a triangle with white lights in each corner. This may be the more interesting photo, Nick Pope, a former employee and UFO investigator for Britain's Ministry of Defense, told Fox News.
"I'm more interested in the fact that this first photo has been leaked, and in the related leaking of information about the Pentagon's Unidentified Aerial Task Force, where serving intelligence community personnel have shared insights from two intelligence position reports," Pope said via email. "With my own defense background in this subject, three things stand out. Firstly, the description by one insider of the reports as 'shocking' — a word that begs the question what about UAP do these people find shocking. Secondly, the fact that the intelligence reports seem to have been given a surprisingly wide distribution in various intelligence agencies, and thirdly, the fact that the extraterrestrial hypothesis seems genuinely not to have been taken off the table."
Pope added he expects further leaks, noting he believes there is "a faction within government clearly wants this information to be released to the public."
The two position reports from 2018 and 2020 were widely circulated among the defense community, The Debrief added, citing interviews with multiple sources.
The Pentagon has not yet responded to a request for comment from Fox News.
The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force was launched by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, boosting an effort by the Office of Naval Intelligence, officials said.
It's not yet clear how this new task force relates to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), Pope told Fox News over the summer. Pope cited "former defense officials" with the group who were involved in work relating to UFOs.
The AATIP was formed in 2007 at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid, Fox News previously reported. It reportedly ceased operations in 2012, but in 2017, the New York Times reported the Department of Defense was still investigating potential episodes of unidentified flying objects.
The creation of the task force follows inquiries from lawmakers about the subject. In June, 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.
In July, the New York Times reported that a small group of government officials, including Reid, and scientists believe objects of “undetermined origin” have crashed to Earth and been retrieved. The publication cited Eric W. Davis, an astrophysicist who worked as a subcontractor and a consultant for the Pentagon UFO program. Davis, who now works for defense contractor Aerospace Corporation, said he gave briefings on the recovery of unexplained objects to staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, 2019.
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, headed by Blink-182 co-founder Tom DeLonge.
After the videos were released publicly, DeLonge said "UFOs are real" in a since-deleted tweet.