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Opinion | The government should separate wheat from the chaff in UFO reports

Image by Thomas Budach from Pixabay

It’s quite heartening to see the US government finally taking the issue of UFO sightings seriously, in the public eye anyhow. Reports of a hidden, top-secret interest have been leaked into existence over the years, but any ‘on-the-record’ accounting has been minimal at best. The recent demand for more information we’ve seen these last few weeks, spurred on by The History Channel’s Unidentified series, the Navy’s UFO sightings released by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, and The New York Times’ bombshell AATIP report, may very well take us into a new era of unprecedented disclosure.

Or maybe it won’t.

One of the biggest shortcomings I see that could undermine any transparency efforts surrounding the government and the UFO phenomenon is the national security side of their overwhelming desire to hide nearly everything they do. This isn’t to say sensitive and secret information shouldn’t stay that way, but rather question the apparently unquestionable rationale for keeping mum on issues that need a little sunlight for everyone’s sake.

Quite frankly, if an unexplained sighting can be explained by one of the alphabet soup departments in government, they should acknowledge that fact. This doesn’t mean full-on yes, we’re testing some new super weapon. It means something like, “Our records confirm training exercises were being conducted in the area.” And that wouldn’t be every instance, but for sightings where obvious non-classified activity could not be verified.

Something like this could be achieved via an executive-level mandate, just as things can be declassified at the executive level.

As long as there’s no generally reliable filter to apply to sightings that makes a mundane explanation possible, things will remain in the current disarray. Skeptics can dismiss things as ‘probably’ government related with just as much subjectivity as ‘true believers’ apply to their own theories. In the end, both are acting conspiratorial – one favoring impossible technology being developed in secret programs and the other favoring super tech from an alien visitor.

A legally-blessed, generic up or down acknowledgement from relevant agencies would help separate the wheat from the chaff on unexplained sightings. There will still be distrust and doubt, for sure, but at least there will be a starting point. Leaving debunkers to dig for plausible technology at the patent office certainly muddies the waters, but doing so on behalf of the government instead of holding the government responsible for reassuring its citizens is a disservice to everyone.

Think of it this way: Our government, the conglomeration of entities in place to serve and protect us, isn’t taking action to reassure us that some foreign entity (terrestrial or otherwise) with incredible offensive capabilities isn’t on our shores and in our skies. It’s a bit like hearing a loud crash in your living room and everyone on the couch pretending not to have heard a thing.

We deserve something better than that. We should demand better than that.