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However, according to three of these sources, the report does not rule out the existence of alien spacecraft.
While this uncertainty is likely to slap the hopes of UFO enthusiasts hoping for definitive evidence of extraterrestrial life, it doesn’t diminish the relevance of the report, especially given what sources describe as a year-long battle in the Pentagon over whether or not at all to acknowledge what are now hundreds of unexplained sightings of U.S. military personnel.
Neither can US officials rule out the possibility that these flying objects were aircraft belonging to American opponents, namely Russia and China – a potentially more problematic conclusion that raises a number of potential national safety concerns, one of the sources said.
However, the upcoming report is expected to conclude that the objects are not classified as secret American technology, the source added.
Historical UFO report
For the first time, the US government is preparing to publish an exceptional, unclassified report detailing what it knows about a series of mysterious encounters with unidentified flying objects, or better known as UFOs.
While the report is unlikely to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life, the mere fact that intelligence agencies even acknowledge these incidents represents a remarkable change in the way US officials think about the phenomenon.
The US government has long hesitated to disclose information about numerous reported sightings of unidentified objects in flight that military pilots encounter in restricted airspace. Multiple sources told CNN that the Department of Defense has been trying for years to avoid spending too many resources on something that is still a marginal priority.
But steady legislative pressure has now forced the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth: These encounters pose a potential security threat that simply cannot be explained.
“The feeling I have from the briefings I’ve attended is that nobody knows what to do about it. There is no policy requirement and that is why there is so much reluctance to look into the matter, “Republican Michael Waltz, a House Armed Services Committee member, told CNN in a recent interview.
“But it’s disturbing either way, you know, is this extraterrestrial life or have opponents or someone else have abilities beyond anything we can understand to track or counter? Either way it’s really bad,” said Waltz.
No evidence of little green men
The upcoming report is unlikely to please UFO experts backing what is known as the “reveal,” or the release of definitive government evidence that it was contacted by extraterrestrial life.
“Most people would hope for visual evidence of little green men, which it almost certainly will not,” a congressional assistant told CNN, referring to expectations of the report’s content.
In fact, multiple sources told CNN that they don’t expect the intelligence agencies to release much specific information in the first place, in part because intelligence officials refuse to tip when these strange sightings are actually next-generation technology from a foreign one Opponents are deployed depending on what the US has seen.
In addition, technical intelligence experts still need more information about some of these encounters in order to arrive at a conclusive assessment, said an administrative official involved in the current investigation. But the same official also told CNN that for many encounters, perfectly normal explanations turn out to be, like a weather balloon or a drone. In some cases, sightings were removed from the database of the US government tracking these encounters because officials could explain them.
However, several inexplicable reports from pilots in recent years have sparked tension in the Pentagon over how much time and resources to devote to investigating these incidents, according to sources and documents verified by CNN.
They also fueled a desire on Capitol Hill for more information and the belief by several key lawmakers that Congress needs to adjust its oversight powers to ensure the issue is adequately addressed. Mandating the production of the upcoming UFO report is one way lawmakers have signaled they intend to use that authority, sources say.
“One of the functions of such a course is to enforce actual coordination within the agencies and to make it clear that Congress does indeed take its oversight function seriously and that there will be increased scrutiny along the way,” said the congressional assistant. “Part of this is a product to get the authorities to take the problem more seriously and try to get rid of the stigma attached to it.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.