The Department of Defense declassified three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” that had been leaked to the public.
Some of the footage had been circulating since 2007, hence the decision to officially release it to the public. “The department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena,” the Pentagon said.
“DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” is explained in the statement.
The videos, entitled FLIR, GOFAST and GIMBAL, were captured by F/A-18 fighter jets of the U.S. Navy in 2004 and 2015. Two of them present a singular object while the third one shows what seems like a swarm of small unidentified objects. They are now available for download from the Naval Air Systems Command website.
Such encounters are taken seriously by the U.S. military and are now systematically reported by pilots. To study unidentified flying objects, a secret investigation called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was even entrusted to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) between 2007 and 2012, with a budget of $22 million.
“For many years, our aviators didn’t report these incursions because of the stigma attached to previous terminology and theories about what may or may not be in those videos,” Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher told CNN.