If the idea that we are being visited by aliens seems too much to contemplate, the thesis that the extraordinary-looking craft are the work of terrestrial adversaries seems only slightly less far-fetched – and at the same time, deeply troubling for US security experts.
In pressing for the Pentagon’s UFO report to be published, congressional leaders briefed on the intelligence have pointed to the urgent security threat implied by the “unexplained aerial phenomena”.
“If there are objects flying over military installations that could pose a security threat … [it] needs to be declassified and revealed to American public,” the Democratic chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, Mark Warner, told Fox 8 television. “If there’s something out there, let’s seek it out, and it is probably a foreign power.”
The report, released Friday, found that while intelligence officials do not believe alien life is responsible for the dozens of reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), they cannot fully explain what is.
The report further said that most UAP incidents fall into five possible categories – “airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or US industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall “other’ bin” – and that UAP “may pose a challenge to US national security”.
It said there was no evidence that the objects were linked to another country such as Russia or China – but it did not rule out the possibility.
Marik Von Rennenkampff, who served at the Pentagon and as an analyst in the state department’s bureau of international security and nonproliferation, said that if a foreign power was behind the aircraft seen by US pilots and radar, they would have performed a breathtaking technological leap – and US intelligence would have had to have suffered an immense failure. He thought both were unlikely.
“China has well-documented issues with basic jet engines, they rely on espionage to develop their most advanced weapons systems. So, I struggle with China having developed this,” Von Rennenkampff said. “Russia has a defense budget that is a fraction of the United States, and much of its military infrastructure is crumbling so I struggle with that too.”
“So if it is China or Russia, then that’s extraordinary,” he added. “I don’t know how they did it, and it would be a monumental failure of intelligence collection on the part of the United States, orders of magnitude worse than 9/11.”
Jack Weinstein, an international security professor at Boston University and a former US air force lieutenant general, said: “If a foreign power had technology that could operate that fast, take turns that aerodynamically really shouldn’t be able to happen, that we would see that in operation during a conflict.”
“And if a foreign power was actually testing really hi-tech equipment, they would be testing hi-tech equipment in a protected area of their country that the United States or other foreign powers couldn’t see,” Weinstein added. “If you get something that secret that can work that well, you’re not going to show it to anybody until you absolutely need it.”
Another option is that a foreign power had developed unmanned aircraft that could spoof US radar and instruments into seeing the incredible speeds and changes of direction that have been reported.
Thomas Bania, a professor of astronomy at Boston University, said: “Without the range, then one simply cannot tell speed, acceleration, etc. So the interpretation of speeds and turns (ie accelerations) that our US technology cannot match is just bogus. No need for invoking a foreign power with superior – much superior – technology.”
“Were it me running their electronic warfare show, I would build small drones and stuff them with electronics that would monitor and record everything our military radars would send at them,” Bania said. “Then I would get busy reverse engineering what our weaponry did. Then I would develop protocols to spoof radar locks back at us giving ranges that would imply these ridiculous motions.”