The Pentagon formally released three unclassified videos Monday taken by Navy pilots of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” a step that comes after years of progress towards government transparency surrounding unidentified flying objects.
The videos, which were first published by the New York Times in 2017, show fast-moving oblong objects racing through the sky and a pilot, in one video yelling, “Look at that thing, dude — it’s rotating!”
The Pentagon, which previously confirmed the veracity of the videos in 2019, said it formally released the footage after a “thorough review” determined the videos do not reveal any sensitive information and to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real,” Sue Gough, a Defense Department spokeswoman, told CBS News.
One of the videos released shows an incident from 2004 in which Navy pilots encountered an object 40 feet long hovering about 50 feet above the water, according to the New York Times; the two other videos are from 2015 and show strange objects moving very quickly — one racing above the water, another rotating in mid air (the videos were released after unauthorized leaks in 2007 and 2017, CBS News reports.)
The release of the videos and the Times report on the experiences of the Navy pilots who encountered the objects comes as government officials have sought to investigate and lend more transparency to the subject in recent years.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who tweeted in support of the Pentagon releasing the videos Monday, helped steer funding towards a $22 million program in 2007 to investigate UFOs (in his tweet Monday Reid added that the videos “only scratch the surface of research and materials available.”)
“It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” one of the pilots told the New York Times about an encounter with the oblong object in 2004 about 100 miles out in the Pacific.
President Trump has previously said he doesn’t buy the hype around the unidentified objects.
“I did have one very brief meeting on it,” Trump said in an ABC News interview in 2019. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”