The Pentagon has officially verified that night-vision video circulating of unidentified, triangular aerial craft swarming around the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Russell in 2019 is real, as first reported last week by Mystery Wire.
Earlier this month, the Navy acknowledged that it was completely baffled by an incident in 2019 when a group of warships near the Channel Islands observed a cluster of strange aircraft—the likeliest explanation being drones, though they flew for far longer than typical civilian units. The Navy said it had no firm theory as to who operated them. That’s despite an extensive investigation that involved Naval personnel ranging from onboard intelligence teams to senior officers as well as civilian agencies like the FBI.
The craft flew in low-visibility conditions around warships involved in the exercise over the course of multiple nights, foiling any efforts by Naval personnel to identify them. It’s the latest in a series of bizarre incidents acknowledged by the Pentagon involving unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) that crossed the paths of Navy sailors and pilots, including instances where elite fighter pilots taped objects that appeared to be maneuvering in ways impossible to achieve with any known technology.
While extraterrestrials or mysterious, technologically advanced craft operated by the U.S. military or their foreign adversaries are exciting to speculate about, the explanation that requires the fewest leaps of logic is that nothing weird is going on (at least beyond someone perhaps flying things where they shouldn’t be). Skeptics believe videos released by the Navy actually depict mundane objects like planes and weather balloons, with their supposedly bizarre movements explained by various technical factors and limitations that the U.S. military won’t ever publicly explain.
According to Mystery Wire, investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell obtained footage of the July 2019 incident that was collected by the Navy-spearheaded UAP Task Force. The night-vision video was presumably filmed by the Ship’s Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Examination (SNOOPIE) team aboard the USS Russell. The team is comprised of intelligence personnel that document encounters with any and all surface or airborne contacts with a vessel.
“This (video) was taken on deployment from the USS Russell,” Corbell told Mystery Wire. “It shows what they described as vehicles. And they made a great distinction. They made sure in this classified briefing, they made a great distinction that this is not something that we own either a black project, this is not something of a foreign military, that these were behaving in ways that we did not expect. And that they were you know shaped non aerodynamically. Like pyramids, these are flying pyramids!”
Other photographs, captured by the crew of the USS Omaha, released by Corbell depicted what Navy personnel described as a “possible UAS” (unmanned aerial system) that was “spherical” in shape descending towards the surface of the water. Someone from Carrier Strike Group 9 wrote in a caption that their assessment was the vehicle had crashed, though no debris or other physical evidence was found. Mystery Wire also wrote that in apparent conflict with that assessment, the Navy also referred to it as a “trans-medium vehicle,” meaning it could operate in both an aerial and aquatic environment—though that phrase doesn’t appear in the military documents posted by the site.
A caveat here: Corbell, who provided the footage and contextualized it to Mystery Wire, isn’t necessarily the most... objective source on ufology. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed the footage to the site, although they were careful to note that some of the incidents acknowledged by the Navy may have only been “initially designated” as unidentified. The New York Post separately received the same statement.
“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” the spokesperson told Mystery Wire. “The [UAP Task Force] has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.”
“As we have said before, to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP,” they added.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested the Pentagon release a report, which will be primarily sourced to the UAP Task Force, on the incidents acknowledged by the Navy. It’s currently expected in July, at which point there may be more clarity as to whether the military has figured out exactly what is going on—or if the incidents will go publicly unexplained. Politico reported last month that “multiple current and former government officials” said the military and intelligence agencies appear to be stonewalling requests for information and withholding full assistance on the report. Even full cooperation would necessitate navigating bureaucracies at the Army, CIA, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, former Pentagon official Christopher Mellon told the site.
“One of the challenges that [the Defense Department] has had in the past is that a lot of these intelligence-gathering organizations, a lot of the military services’ organizations that gather data on intrusions, are all extremely stovepiped and federated,” former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment Ellen Lord told Politico. “I think it is sometimes easy... to go down a rabbit hole for the sci-fi, alien piece of this... In reality, there is a lot of technology that has been leveraged by our adversaries and we have ways to deal with that.”