Originally aired Oct. 11, 2017 on KLAS-TV.

MYSTERY WIRE — A team of former spies and spooks came out of the shadows Wednesday to talk about UFOs.

The men formerly worked in national security positions within the Pentagon or intelligence agencies, which is where they were first exposed to classified information about UFO encounters.

Now, they’ve signed on with rock star Tom DeLonge in his quest to build a public company that could study and harness exotic technology.

The fact that these high-level government operatives would appear on the same stage with a rock star turned UFO hunter speaks volumes.

First, it tells the world that the government is still collecting UFO information, contrary to what the public has been told, and second, it shows that serious people think it’s time for secrecy to end and public involvement to begin.

Part of what was learned in Wednesday’s announcement involves a stunning UFO encounter with one of the most powerful warships in the world.

On a sunny day in 2004 off the coast of San Diego, the USS Nimitz battle group encountered a technology beyond anything known on earth. It was a mystery aircraft shaped like a 46-foot long Tic Tac that hovered and maneuvered for hours and defied the F-18’s sent to intercept.

“In a series of discreet tumbling maneuvers that appear to defy the laws of physics, the object takes a position directly behind the approaching F-18. The pilots capture gun camera footage and infrared imagery of the object but are outmatched by a technology they have never seen,” said Chris Mellon, former Defense Department intelligence official. “At one point, the object soars to 80,000 feet, hovers, then drops at supersonic speeds, makes a full stop 50 feet above the ocean. It is not an experimental U.S. aircraft, but whose is it?

The story was told by Mellon. An investigation by the Navy was hushed up. The only public mention was in a little known aviation magazine read by pilots. Mellon says the incident illustrates the obvious — that higher ups in the Defense Department know the technology is real and that it’s not ours.

Officially the U.S. government says it stopped studying UFOs in 1969 when Project Blue Book was cancelled by the Air Force. At the announcement event in Seattle, that version of history was challenged by a man, who until a week ago, worked directly under Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“For nearly the next decade, I ran a sensitive aerospace identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies. It was in this position that I learned the phenomena is indeed real,” said Luis Elizondo.

He operated at the highest levels of the DoD and collected UFO data, but quit to take a position with rock star Tom DeLonge and a team of other former government insiders, now on board with “To The Stars Academy,” a public benefit corporation unveiled Wednesday morning. Some of what was announced was nuanced — Elizondo’s presence confirmed that UFOs are taken seriously within a small circle in government.

Former Lockheed Skunkworks manager Steve Justice said he thinks UFO data could be incorporated into technology that could change the world.

Mellon mentioned the Tic Tac UFO to prod congress into asking for a briefing on the hushed up incident.

Musician DeLonge used his panel of high-powered partners to draw attention to his project which was also profiled in a film meant to inspire public participation.

Part of the plan is to build systems that will collect UFO data, separate from what the military already gathers. There were also hints of a possible partnership in which government photos and videos of unusual objects will be released, and a way that regular people can join the effort to identify and investigate weird stuff in the sky.