The highly-anticipated UFO report is 'rather inconclusive'

Unidentified flying object
(Image credit: Department of Defense via AP)

The United States government has released a highly-anticipated report on unidentified flying objects, but it wasn't able to come to a definitive conclusion.

In the U.S. intelligence report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 144 reports of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) were examined, but investigators were not able to explain 143 of them, CNN reports. In one case, an object was identified as a "large, deflating balloon," but the report said the "others remain unexplained."

"Of the 144 reports we are dealing with here, we have no clear indications that there is any non-terrestrial explanation for them — but we will go wherever the data takes us," a senior U.S. official told CNN.

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The official also told CNN that investigators believe most of the sightings were of "physical objects," as opposed to them being "simply sensor artifacts." But the report states that the "limited amount of high-quality reporting" on the unidentified objects "hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent" of them. The New York Times writes that "there is no evidence that any of the episodes involve secret American weapons programs, unknown technology from Russia or China or extraterrestrial visitations. But the government report did not rule out those explanations."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Washington Post that while the report is "rather inconclusive," it "only marks the beginning of efforts to understand and illuminate what is causing these risks to aviation in many areas around the country and the world."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.