Screenshot: U.S. DOD/ NYT

Last week, the U.S. Navy announced it was “drafting new guidelines”  for how its members should report all the freaky shit they see while flying and sailing, meaning UFOs. Now, unfortunately, we have a bit of bad but unsurprising news. All those reports are probably going to be classified. Bummer.

Per the Washington Post today:

Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, said in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons.

“Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew,” Gradisher said. “Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations.”

He added, “Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected.”

Yadda yadda yadda “classified information on military operations” WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, MAN??? Listen. If one of your pilots sees a UFO, I do not give a shit if he is flying over North Korea or whatever. You can redact the reports if you want! BUT TELL US IF YOU SEE AN ALIEN.

All of this goes back to the explosive 2017 New York Times report that the Pentagon had spent $22 million looking into UFOs, which coincided with the release of an absolutely incredible cockpit video which gave us the iconic “look at that thing, dude!” quote from a Navy pilot observing (maybe) a UFO. Per the Times, the Pentagon’s program began in 2007 and lasted until at least 2012.

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I would argue that, eventually, the public deserves to know pretty much everything the government knows at some point—an argument the Pentagon’s former head of its actual UFO office agrees with. From a 2017 Washington Post report:

Just before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, intelligence officer Luis Elizondo quietly arranged to secure the release of three of the most unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults: raw footage from encounters between fighter jets and “anomalous aerial vehicles” — military jargon for UFOs.

The videos, all taken from cockpit cameras, show pilots struggling to lock their radars on oval-shaped vessels that, on screen, look vaguely like giant flying Tic Tacs. The strange aircraft — no claims are made about their possible origins or makeup — appear to hover briefly before sprinting away at speeds that elicit gasps and shouts from the pilots.

Elizondo, in an internal Pentagon memo requesting that the videos be cleared for public viewing, argued that the images could help educate pilots and improve aviation safety. But in interviews, he said his ultimate intention was to shed light on a little-known program Elizondo himself ran for seven years: a low-key Defense Department operation to collect and analyze reported UFO sightings.

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Per the Post’s reporting today, the point of the “more formalized process” the Navy is adopting follows Elizondo’s argument, minus the part about telling the public: Basically, let’s make pilots more comfortable reporting what they see and use that data to help improve their safety. Fine, great. But eventually you gotta let us know what’s flying around up there! For the time being, the best we’re likely to get are “broad statistics” released sometime in the theoretical future, per the Post, although Congress might still get the goods not made publicly available.

Why does Congress get this information and not me?! An injustice, in my opinion. If you are a member of the Navy or military-intelligence apparatus interested in leaking UFO data or evidence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.