Congress’ plans to investigate UFO ‘threat’ to US thwarted by new Pentagon task force

Congressman Tim Burchett calls Pentagon's UFO report 'bogus'

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UFO mania peaked earlier this summer when the US Department of Defense (DoD) published its long-awaited report on unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs – military parlance for UFOs. Compiled by the US Navy’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), the partially declassified document focused on more than 140 UFO sightings reported by US military personnel between 2004 and 2021. For many within the UFO enthusiast community, the report represented a “soft disclosure” of sorts that would validate their belief in the extraterrestrial.

Others believed the report would expose the advanced weapons capabilities of America’s enemies with detailed accounts of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) invading US airspace.

But the report proved to be neither – at least not to a satisfactory degree – as there was simply not enough evidence to offer any “specific explanations”.

And though the Pentagon said there was “no clear indications that there is any non-terrestrial explanation”, interest in the sightings does not appear to have waned.

This was evident when US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio put forward a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

According to Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator for the British Government in the Nineties, the amendment would greatly increase the scope of UFO research and investigation.

More importantly, he claimed, it would organize an advisory committee that would bring to the fore renowned scientists and institutions, such as Professor Avi Loeb’s Galileo Project.

The amendment, which was published in a Congress note, further outlines the need for international consultation, regular updates and briefings, as well as the collection and analysis of intelligence.

Mr Pope believes this would have been a positive development for the UFO movement as it would have introduced “scientific and academic rigour” into the US government’s work.

It was, therefore, something of a blow to see the Pentagon step in and thwart the plans when the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG) was established.

The new Pentagon task force has been described as a successor to the Navy’s UAPTF and will serve virtually the same function.

UFO: Nick Pope discusses footage and 'leaks'

According to the DoD, it will synchronise efforts between various branches of the US government to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interests in Special Use Airspace (SUA)”.

The ultimate goal is to assess and mitigate any “associated threats” to US national security.

Mr Pope, however, fears the Pentagon has effectively thwarted the Congress’ more comprehensive “rival proposal”.

He told Express.co.uk: “The Pentagon’s proposals look like gamesmanship.

“They can’t prevent Congress from passing the amendment, but by announcing their own initiative, they’ve taken the wind out of the sails of the Gillibrand-Rubio Amendment.

“Senator Gillibrand framed her amendment as a response to a threat that wasn’t being properly addressed, and support is likely to fall away if there’s a perception that the Pentagon is now gripping the problem.

“Sadly, the DOD’s version involves doing much less, and while I welcome the closer liaison between the military and the intelligence community, the absence of engagement with the scientific and academic community is one of many important differences between what could be thought of as rival proposals.”

Others have also raised concerns about potential issues with transparency after branding the UAPTF report a “bogus” attempt “that stunk of a government cover-up”.

The harsh criticism came from Republican Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee, who urged the Pentagon not to obscure its work behind a shroud of secrecy.

He also published an open letter to the DoD, in which he expressed his disappointment at past efforts to investigate UFO reports.

Mr Burchett wrote: “It is incredibly problematic that we still do not know if these UAPs are simply airborne clutter, advanced adversarial systems, or even advanced technologies not of this world.”

He added: “It is my hope that the AOIMSG will build off the preliminary assessment by collecting and analysing all relevant data so we can get to the bottom of this phenomena.”

Mr Pope believes there is a strong interest in UFOs in both the US Senate and the House, so he expects to see more discussions about the phenomena in the future.

However, he feels US officials have missed an opportunity to give these sightings proper scientific consideration.

He added: “The Pentagon is presenting this as fait accompli and the fact that they made the announcement just before Thanksgiving is telling.

“It’s a classic tactic when you want to put something out without much media pushback, as everyone’s focusing on the upcoming festivities.”

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