- The Pentagon on Monday released three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” after years of speculation about them.
- The videos, which can be seen in full below, were taken by Navy aircraft cameras in 2004 and 2015 and show small floating objects that baffled some of the pilots filming them.
- The clips had previously been leaked to media outlets and UFO research groups.
- The Navy acknowledged the videos’ authenticity in September but said in January that material it had about UFOs would cause “grave damage” to national security if released.
- In a statement on Monday, the Pentagon said that the videos didn’t “reveal any sensitive capabilities” and that their release wouldn’t hurt future UFO investigations.
- Former Sen. Harry Reid, who as the Senate majority leader in 2007 funded a research program into UFOs, tweeted that this release “only scratches the surface” of what the Pentagon has on file.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Pentagon on Monday released three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” – more commonly referred to as UFOs – after years of speculation about them.
The videos, captured on Navy aircraft cameras with infrared targeting systems, show black shapes floating and sometimes accelerating at incredible speeds against the wind as baffled pilots watch.
All three videos had previously been leaked, prompting the Navy to confirm their authenticity in September in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
It said in January that some briefing material it had about the videos was classified as top secret and would cause “exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States” if released.
Despite long-standing popular associations with stories of aliens, the terms "unidentified aerial phenomena" and "UFO" do not mean the object is thought to be extraterrestrial.
Take a look at the videos - which have the file names FLIR, GOFAST, and GIMBAL - below.
FLIR, also known as the Nimitz video, November 2004
It has also been called the Nimitz video, from the name of the pilots' ship, the USS Nimitz, according to Vice.
FLIR has no pilot commentary but shows a dark, oblong shape being tracked by the infrared camera. At one point, the object accelerates unexpectedly to the left, causing the sensor to lose its fix on it.
"It accelerated like nothing I've ever seen," one of the pilots, Cmdr. David Fravor, told The Times in 2017.
GOFAST, November 2015
This clip shows what looks like the ocean surface as a small object skims past the camera at high speed.
The pilots tracking it can be heard giving a whoop of satisfaction when the camera gets a fix on it. One says, "What the f--- is that?"
GIMBAL, November 2015
In the 34-second footage, the aircraft's infrared camera tracks a saucer-like object flying above clouds as pilots discuss what it could be.
One says it could be a drone, while another comments that "there's a whole fleet of them," though no other object is visible in the video.
The object then begins to rotate.
"My gosh, they're going against the wind - the wind's 120 knots to west," the first pilot can be heard saying.
The Department of Defense said on Monday that it found that the videos don't "reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems" and that their release "does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena."
"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," it added.
"The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as 'unidentified.'"
This release 'only scratches the surface' of what the government knows
Former Sen. Harry Reid, who helped fund the US government's UFO investigations, tweeted on Monday that the Pentagon's release of the videos "only scratches the surface" of what the government has on file.
As the Senate majority leader in 2007, Reid funneled $22 million into the investigations, the news website Axios reported.
"I'm glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage, but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available," he tweeted.
"The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications," he added. "The American people deserve to be informed."