Pentagon’s ‘real’ UFO videos exposed in ‘The Basement Office’ docu-series

On April 27, the Department of Defense issued a statement confirming the release of three videos showing US Navy jets chasing “unidentified aerial phenomena” — that’s the approved military term for what the public calls UFOs. The videos had been in the public domain for some time, but there was always a degree of doubt about them. The Pentagon statement made it official: Yes, the videos are genuine, and no, the DOD still doesn’t know what these things are — the official categorization is “unidentified”.

The timing of the Pentagon’s announcement drew a lot of comment. Why release these videos now, people asked, with the world’s attention focused on the coronavirus? Was this a classic example of “a good day to bury bad news”? If that was the Pentagon’s plan, it backfired badly. Perhaps because we’ve been so saturated with COVID-19 coverage, everyone was looking for something else. Far from being buried, the story made headlines all around the world.

UFOs generate controversy. The videos were debated furiously and in the resulting skeptic versus believer dogfight, competing theories were bandied about: Some people tried to explain everything in terms of pilot misperception and glitches or misreadings of the forward-looking infrared cameras on which the films were taken.

Others argued that it was “black project” technology being blind-tested against the Fleet, to see how they’d react. One hears a lot about hypersonic missiles and drone swarms these days. Given that such programs are highly classified and deeply compartmentalized, it’s possible that one part of the government wasn’t aware of what another part was doing. Other commentators thought Russia or China might be the culprit.

Inevitably though, the theory that attracted the most attention was the possibility that the mystery objects were extraterrestrial spacecraft. I’m undecided on all this, but I hope it’s extraterrestrials — martians would be much more fun than Russians. Season 2 of The Post’s docu-series “The Basement Office” will probe all of the theories, and put some other classic UFO cases under the microscope.

If the Pentagon’s posting of UFO videos seems odd, their flip-flopping over the true nature of their mysterious AATIP program is truly bizarre. The existence of AATIP — Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program — was first revealed in December 2017 and since then, the DOD has changed its line on the project’s role multiple times. One moment they admit that AATIP investigated Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the next, they walk it back.

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