Today the Pentagon shared three videos taken by US Navy pilots that show what the military calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” and what we have usually called “UFOs.” The videos, from November 2004 and January 2015, have been on the web for a while, and have turned up in various documentaries and even on the History Channel and elsewhere.
The three videos can be downloaded here. (I’ve seen them. Cool!) The Department of Defense stated that the videos were finally being made public after it was determined that they did not reveal any “sensitive capabilities or systems,” nor would releasing them “impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions.”
I remember that President Carter promised before he was sworn into office that he would find out the truth about “Area 51” and what the government knows about alleged alien encounters, and tell the public. He never said a word about it afterwards. That has always bothered me. Long before Carter, I went through a flying saucer stage, and read a lot about the various controversies, incidents, and ridiculous government explanations about “swamp gas.” When I was a teenager, I saw a UFO, as did the father of a high school classmate who was a scientist. He called in a report on it.
Since that time, nothing much has changed except that the science fiction movies have gotten much better. I was always more bothered by the fact that the government seemed to be lying about the topic, whatever the truth was. There’s no doubt about it, the field is made up of crackpots and conspiracy theorists, and once we saw the stealth bomber, there should have been no mystery about what had caused at least some of those UFO sightings. Still, I wonder if, were there strong evidence of technically advanced extra-terrestrials periodically dropping in for giggles, the government would withhold the information for “the greater good.”
The late Stephen Hawking, for example, opined that if there really were such advanced civilizations, we were in big trouble. “We don’t know much about aliens, but we know about humans,” Hawking said in one forum. “If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced.” The Pentagon might be withholding hard evidence to avoid a panic.
The other motive might be social disruption. Most world religions don’t have wiggle room in them for other inhabited planets and superior beings who aren’t divine.
I believe that governments hiding anything from their citizens is a bad habit, and hiding something as momentous as intelligent alien visitors is an abuse of power and unethical. Maybe this outbreak of transparency from the Pentagon regarding close encounters is a positive development.