NYT: In new report, intelligence officials can't explain most UFO sightings

The truth is still out there.

U.S. intelligence officials have investigated more than 120 incidents involving flying objects of unknown origin, and they write in a new classified government report that while they didn't find any evidence these are alien spacecraft, they also cannot explain how they are able to accelerate so quickly, change direction in a split second, and submerge, senior administration officials briefed on the matter told The New York Times.

The unidentified aerial phenomena were witnessed mostly by Navy pilots, and the report says most of the events did not involve objects that were made by the U.S. military or used advanced government technology, the officials said. Intelligence officials tested different explanations, and found that most didn't fit when looking at every incident. The objects couldn't be weather balloons, for instance, because of changes in wind speed during the interactions.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

It is possible that these objects have been developed by a foreign country. One senior U.S. official told the Times that intelligence and military officials are concerned about Russia's and China's experiments with hypersonic technology, and if that's what the Navy pilots are witnessing, it suggests the Russians and Chinese are far ahead of the American military's research.

The sightings mentioned in the report include one-off events and recurring interactions. From the summer of 2014 to March 2015, Navy pilots over the East Coast reported seeing odd objects nearly every single day, including one that looked like a spinning top going against the wind. The objects were able to move at hypersonic speeds, fly up to 30,000 feet, and stay in the air for 12 hours.

Congress is expected to release an unclassified version of the report by June 25.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.