The unit, which is now part of the Office of Naval Intelligence, has spent over a decade discussing mysterious events in classified briefings, according to the news outlet. A government contractor told the Times that he gave a classified briefing to the Department of Defense in March, describing retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this Earth."
The Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence was described in a Senate Intelligence Committee report last month. The unit standardizes “collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations,” the report said.
“However, 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,” it added. “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.”
In the report, the Senate Intelligence Committee directs the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to submit a report to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (or “anomalous aerial vehicles”). The report must include “observed airborne objects that have not been identified.”
The Committee says that the report should be submitted within 180 days of the enactment of the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2021. The bill was introduced on June 8, 2020.
The New York Times reports that a small group of government officials and scientists believe that objects of “undetermined origin” have crashed to Earth and been retrieved, including former Sen. Harry Reid. While some have been found to be man-made materials, there are question marks over others.
The publication cites 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 also 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, respectively, the Times added.
“As we have said previously, the Department of Defense and all of the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously, and examine each report,” a spokesperson for the Department of Defense told Fox News, via email. “This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ (UAP) when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.”
The Department of Defense, she explained, does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examination of reported incursions into its training ranges or designated airspace, including incursions initially designated as UAP.
“Regarding the task force mentioned in the article, I can say that the department is creating a task force to gain knowledge and insight into the nature and origins of UAPs, as well as their operations, capabilities, performance, and/or signatures,” she added. “The mission of the task force will be to detect, analyze, catalog, consolidate, and exploit non-traditional aerospace vehicles/UAPs posing an operational threat to U.S. national security and avoid strategic surprise.”
Nick Pope, a former employee and UFO investigator for Britain's Ministry of Defense, said he "fully supports" the creation of the task force, which he believes will address some of the concerns that the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have.
"UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) was a term we popularized at the UK Ministry of Defence in the Nineties, as part of a ‘rebranding’ of the UFO phenomenon, attempting to ditch the pop culture baggage that attached to the term 'UFO' and reframe the debate as the defense and national security issue that those of us studying the phenomenon knew it to be," Pope said. "Every government rightly wants to secure the territorial integrity of its airspace and ensure that all objects and phenomena in its airspace or in close proximity to its military assets are identified."
Fox News has also reached out to Aerospace Corporation with a request for comment on this story.
In speaking with the New York Times, Reid said he believes the government and the private sector may have retrieved materials from unidentified objects. “After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Reid said in the interview.
Reid's comments are the latest from the former lawmaker. In June 2019, he told Nevada's KNPR that he wished lawmakers would hold public hearings into what the military knows.
"They would be surprised how the American public would accept it," Reid said during the wide-ranging interview. "People from their individual states would accept it."
The former Nevada senator has also tweeted multiple times about the topic, including in April, when he said he was happy the Pentagon released three videos of "unidentified aerial phenomena", adding the "American people deserve to be informed."
In December 2017, Fox News reported that the Pentagon had secretly set up a program to investigate UFOs at the request of Reid.
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