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Navy says release of files into UFO sightings would ‘damage’ security



  • The Navy said it has material about UFOs that, if released, “would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”
  • The Navy said it “discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET” in response to a freedom of information request, which asked about a series of videos that show pilots baffled by mysterious, fast objects in the sky. 
  • The Navy previously confirmed that it was treating these objects as UFOs — which means that they are being treated as unexplained, but not necessarily extraterrestrial.
  • One of the videos was published by published by The New York Times in 2017, and pilots told the Times that they saw the objects accelerate, stop, and turn in ways that went beyond known aerospace technology.
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The Navy said it has top-secret information about unidentified flying objects that it said could cause “exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States” if the content was released.

A Navy spokesperson responded to a Freedom of Information Act request sent by researcher Christian Lambright by saying that it had “discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET,” Vice reported.

But the spokesperson from the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) said that “the Original Classification Authority has determined that the release of these materials would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”

They also said that they had at least one video, which is classified as “SECRET.”

Vice said that it independently verified the response to Lambright’s request with the Navy.

Lambright’s request asked for information relating to a series of videos that show Navy pilots baffled by mysterious, fast objects in the sky.

The Navy has previously confirmed that it is treating these objects as UFOs.


Another image from a video showing a UFO filmed near San Diego in 2004.
CNN/Department of Defense

None of the terms UFOs, “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or “unidentified flying object” term mean that the object is necessarily extraterrestrial. Many such sightings ultimately end up having logical and earthly explanations — often involving military technology.

A spokeswoman for the Pentagon had also previously told The Black Vault, a civilian-run archive of government documents, that the videos “were never officially released to the general public by the DOD and should still be withheld.” 

The Department of Defense videos show pilots confused by what they are seeing. In one video, a pilot said: “What the f— is that thing?”

Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough said this week that an investigation into “sightings is ongoing.”

Joseph Gradisher, the Navy’s spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told The Black Vault last year: “The Navy has not publicly released characterizations or descriptions, nor released any hypothesis or conclusions, in regard to the objects contained in the referenced videos.”

According to The Black Vault, Gradisher said the Department of Defense videos were filmed in 2004 and 2015. The New York Times also reported that one of the videos was from 2004.

You can watch the 2004 video here, as shared by The To Stars Academy, a UFO research group cofounded by Tom deLonge from the rock group Blink-182:

One of the videos was shared by The New York Times in December 2017, when one commander who saw the object on a training mission told the Times that it “it accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Another pilot told the outlet: “These things would be out there all day.”

Pilots told the Times that the objects could accelerate, stop, and turn in ways that went beyond known aerospace technology. Many of the pilots who spoke to the Times were part of a Navy flight squadron known as the “Red Rippers,” and they reported the sightings to the Pentagon and Congress.

“Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds,” the Times report said.

Scientists also told The Times they were skeptical that these videos showed anything extraterrestrial.

Gough, the Pentagon spokesperson, would not comment to Vice if the 2004 source video that the Navy possesses had any more information than the one that has been circulating online, but said that it was the same length and that the Pentagon does not plan on releasing it.  


A still from the 2015 video.

John Greenwald, the curator of The Black Vault, told Vice in September 2019 that he was surprised that the Navy had classified the objects as unidentified.

“I very much expected that when the US military addressed the videos, they would coincide with language we see on official documents that have now been released, and they would label them as ‘drones’ or ‘balloons,'” he said.

“However, they did not. They went on the record stating the ‘phenomena’ depicted in those videos, is ‘unidentified.’ That really made me surprised, intrigued, excited, and motivated to push harder for the truth.”

US President Donald Trump said in June that he had been briefed on the fact that Navy pilots were reporting increased sightings of UFOs.

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