After decades of repeated denials, the U.S. government wants answers. Senator Marco Rubio wants a public, unclassified analysis of all Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) sightings from the Pentagon—going back to the 2004 sightings on the U.S.S. Nimitz. After receiving classified briefings on a series of sightings recorded by military personnel in high-quality images, Rubio says, “we need to face the security implications; that anything in our airspace that’s not supposed to be there is a threat.”
The expectation is that such a report would explain if flying objects could be a kind of military threat coming from Russian or Chinese technology, or perhaps another country.
When asked in a 60 minutes interview on May 16 if UAPs are real, Luis Elizondo, formerly of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, responded: “I think we’re beyond that already.”
Elizondo shared how he was asked to lead the Pentagon’s AATIP from 2010-2017. He was alarmed by what he discovered. The national security implications of the Navy pilots’ descriptions of regular and ongoing encounters with UFOs seemed worth investigating, especially when there was sound technological evidence captured on radar and surveillance cameras, in addition to eye-witnesses.
When AATIP was disbanded in 2017, it seemed the existence of strange craft in the skies—many just off the coast of the U.S.—would be ignored. As a private citizen, Elizondo and other insiders leaked video footage of UAPs to the media, hoping to raise public pressure on the government to keep investigating.
The Pentagon reformed AATIP as the UAP Taskforce in 2020. Elizondo explained how the new task force will apply due diligence to UAP sightings, and suggested questions that should be asked of all unidentified aerial phenomena: “You ask what it is? What are its intentions? Is it some sort of new type of cruise missile technology that China has developed? Is it some sort of high-altitude balloon that’s conducting reconnaissance?”
The serving Squadron Commander Ryan Graves was also interviewed. With his pilots, he saw and recorded UAPs off the coast of San Diego almost daily during 2019.
Squadron Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Alex Dietrich, who reported the USS Nimitz incident in 2004, described their shock at seeing a Tic-Tac-shaped object that dropped 80,000 feet in seconds, disappeared in an instant, and was then captured on camera 60 miles away on radar.
Graves questioned what’s out there. “When you see it can evade radar, fly through the air, has no obvious signs of propulsion, and yet defies the laws of the earth’s gravity … when you have exhausted all those what-ifs, and you’re still left with the fact that this is in our airspace and it’s real—we shouldn’t just ignore it because it comes in a form we’re not used to seeing.”
The US Senate report is due next month. We’ll keep you posted.
In other news
- China goes out of this world. On May 15, China landed a rover on the planet Mars (and sent back its first photos on Wednesday). Although China has already made it to the moon, the Mars landing is a huge step forward for the country. NPR reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping called the success “an important step in our country’s interplanetary exploration journey… leaving the mark of the Chinese on Mars for the first time.” And it’s not all about national pride. The science journal Nature points out how scientists are especially interested in what appears to be a mud volcano near the landing site, which represents something new to Mars exploration.
- DC police data leaked after a ransomware attack. The Washington Metropolitan Police Department fell victim to a ransomware attack last week. CNN reports that when officials refused to pay a $4 million ransom to the Babuk group in Russia, the group published the data online after not receiving the $4 million ransom. The files included hundreds of police officer disciplinary files, investigations, and information from other agencies, including the FBI and the Secret Service. Ransomware expert Brett Callow suggested on Al Jazeera that this attack is “possibly the most significant ransomware incident to date” because of the sensitive information in the files. Some of the data focused on President Joe Biden’s inauguration, including confidential informant information. “This is hugely problematic,” Callow said. “The incidents put prosecutions at risk and, worse, may even put the lives of officers and civilians at risk.”
- No more CAPTCHA for you? Cloudflare has announced that it has developed a new security key-based replacement for the ubiquitous and universally annoying images websites use to test whether site visitors are human or bots. Using USB security keys like YubiKeys, the Verge reports that a few clicks and you can confirm that you’re actually a real person. In other words, it works a little like some forms of two-factor authentication does now. Of course, this will only work if you have a physical security key, although it may be possible to use your mobile device in such a manner (Google already utilizes this technology). Regardless, we’re applauding any technology that will end our need to endlessly click on blurry photos of traffic lights or interpret distorted words and digits.
Tip of the week
Speaking of CAPTCHAs, did you know that the acronym stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”? According to Wikipedia, the first CAPTCHA version was invented in 1997, though the term wasn’t coined until 2003.
While they can be annoying, CAPTCHAs help stop bots and other spammers from trying to guess login credentials, comment spam, and other automated processes on your blog or website. Because a computer struggles to interpret a photo broken into pieces or analyze distorted text, the assumption is that only a human can solve these puzzles, though this isn’t always the case.
However, until Cloudflare rolls out its technology broadly, you might consider installing a CAPTCHA on your own website to stop spammers in their tracks. We address how to do this on a WordPress site in our blog article about website spam, and for non-WordPress sites, check out our support article for more instructions.
[News] Report on UFOs suggests something IS out there .