MYSTERY WIRE — The chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says the Pentagon and the public need to know more, not less, about UFOs.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is one of several lawmakers to have received closed-door briefings from military officials about unknown objects flying in restricted airspace.
Rubio was unaware of the existence of a secret Pentagon study of UFOs, or UAPs, until the New York Times and Politico reported about AATIP, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a multi-agency effort created to share information about UFO incidents involving military personnel or facilities.
Dec. 18, 2017 – The Pentagon’s secret UFO program revealed
May 4, 2018 – Documents prove secret UFO study based in Nevada
May 18, 2018 – Confidential report analyzes Tic Tac UFO incidents
The December 2017 news reports were accompanied by the released videos recorded by U.S. Navy pilots. One video, the so-called Tic Tac, was recorded off the coast of Southern California in 2004. The two other videos, dubbed Gimbal and Go Fast, were recorded in 2015 by Navy pilots operating in waters off Florida, Rubio’s home state.
The news stories set off an international wave of additional media coverage and prompted congressional members and senior staffers to ask for closed-door briefings. Staffers and elected members of the Intelligence and Armed Services committees have received multiple briefings, which included face-to-face meetings with military pilots and officials, along with statements from scientists who have worked as consultants to government-funded research programs.
Rubio, who became chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2020, and Vice Chairman Senator mark Warner, have both publicly acknowledged the briefings but have said little about what was discussed.
The three UFO videos were first released by the Pentagon at the request of former intelligence officer Lue Elizondo, who managed the AATIP program from 2010 until he left the military in 2017. Military officials subsequently re-released the videos in 2020. Elizondo told Mystery Wire there are many other videos recorded by military personnel, but those have not yet been made public.
AATIP grew out of a larger program AAWSAP, Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application program, which was initiated in 2007 by Nevada Senator Harry Reid and two of his senior colleagues, Senators Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens.
AAWSAP became operational in 2008 when the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) signed a contract with a Las Vegas-based company BAASS, a subsidiary of Bigelow Aerospace. $22 million was allocated to the BAASS effort, which investigated UFOs as well as a much broader range of related phenomena.
When the funding for AAWSAP was siphoned away by other Pentagon programs, the program, renamed AATIP, continued, but with a smaller focus. (Details about the scope and operation of AAWSAP were first made public by Mystery Wire in April and May of 2018.)
- The Pentagon’s secret UFO program revealed (Dec. 18, 2017)
- Pentagon UFO study catches attention of Congress (Dec. 21, 2017)
- UFO dilemma pushed Luis Elizondo out of Department of Defense (Jan. 30, 2018)
- UFO incidents like Nimitz, Tic Tac not a rarity in Luis Elizondo’s world (Jan. 30, 2018)
- Key documents obtained related to Pentagon UFO study (July 25, 2018)
In the nearly three years since the existence of AATIP and AAWSAP were revealed, Pentagon spokespersons have continued to issue contradictory statements about the military study of UAPs. The Pentagon has both confirmed and denied that AATIP studied UFOs/UAPs. There have also been conflicting statements about Lue Elizondo’s role with those programs.
Members of Congress, along with journalists and the public, have been eager clear up the inconsistencies and to find out what the military has learned about UFOs/UAPs. (Elizondo is among several former AATIP and AAWSAP personnel who have met with members of Congress and committee staff.)
Senator Marco Rubio has taken a leading role in trying to understand the extent of UAP incursions into American airspace, whether these appearances constitute a threat to national security and aviation safety, and whether foreign adversaries may have leap frogged American technological superiority. In a new and exclusive interview, Senator Rubio talked about the Pentagon needing to get to the bottom of who or what is operating the mystery craft.
“The American public deserves to know as much as possible about it,” Senator Rubio said while speaking with Nexstar reporter Kellie Meyer for Mystery Wire. “And we shouldn’t allow the stigma associated with the term UFO to keep us from trying to answer that question at the end of the day, these are things that are potentially endangering our national security and could cause an accident, you know, in terms of crashing into something that’s up there. So I don’t know what they are. And that’s the problem.”
Since the briefings given to senators and their senior staff, Senator Rubio’s intelligence committee has promoted an ongoing, UFO study by the Pentagon that, according to the Senator, has bipartisan support.
“I think (it’s) certainly not a partisan issue. I think there’s different levels of interest in it. Look, I mean, the stigma, it starts out with the fact that a lot of pilots for a long time wouldn’t even report on these things, because they were told not you need to go see the, you know, the flight surgeon to check your head. So people just decided, ‘oh, you know, they’re gonna think I’m crazy. I’m not going to report on it.’ I think some of that seeps into the politics, and no one ever wants to be accused of being a person that’s out there sort of chasing these things that have been the realm of science fiction for such a long time.
Senator Rubio went on to explain specifically why the UFO question needs to be asked and studied, “I remind everybody, I want you to put aside all that stuff that people talk about extraterrestrials and all that, this is a very simple equation for me, there are things flying over our military installations. We don’t know what they are or where they’re, they’re from. We don’t know if it’s some other country that’s doing it and we need to know the answer to that question. Simple. That’s what it’s about. I’m not going to speculate about what it is I’m not gonna try to guess I’m not gonna fall into all these traps and the conspiracy theories. We just need to know the answer to that question.”
Below you can read the complete transcript of Nexstar Kellie Meyer’s interview with Sen. Marco Rubio for Mystery Wire.
“I wanted to switch gears to UFO and the Intel committees push for more information from the Pentagon? How did the subject first get into your radar screen? And did you make inquiries after the December 2017 story in the New York Times?”
Sen. Marco Rubio
“Yeah, I mean, when people talk about that topic, it’s always I think we’re talking about space aliens or something like that. I mean, for me as to do with any of that. It has to do with a very simple fact. And that is that there are things flying over our military installations, and the military doesn’t know what they are. And so anytime you have things flying over a military installation, and you don’t know what they are, that immediately raises issues of counterintelligence and that immediately raises issues of national security. And so my view of it is that we have something that we need to know the answer to. The American public deserves to know as much as possible about it. And we shouldn’t allow the stigma associated with the term UFO to keep us from trying to answer that question at the end of the day, these are things that are potentially endangering our national security and could cause an accident, you know, in terms of crashing into something that’s up there. So I don’t know what they are. And that’s the problem. They don’t either. So we need to have an answer to it and the American public deserves to know. And we can’t let the stigma of UFOs and space alien stuff keep us from answering that question.”
“Is it possible that objects shown in the three videos are explainable as misidentified phenomena as birds or flares? Or did you hear something, enough supporting information to convince you that the unknown objects are advanced intelligently controlled aircraft of unknown origin?”
Sen. Marco Rubio
“Well, that’s the key question, right? And the answer is they don’t know. And it could, I mean, again, I mean, the logic would tell you that when it’s all said and done, if you really look at it carefully, it’ll turn out to be something that’s easily explainable, but they don’t know that they can’t say that to us right now. And so rather than guess or speculate or dismiss it, I think we need to have an answer to it. We don’t want to wake up one day and realize that some adversary has taken some significant technological leap forward, that we were caught on aware of, we don’t want to wake up to that news, we don’t want to wake up to the news that there was an accident because someone was flying some, some sophisticated drone over a military facility. And now some, you know, F-35 is in the water and the pilot is dead. We don’t want any of those problems. So that’s why I think we need to take this seriously. And not view this as some sort of, you know, kooky alien thing has nothing to do with aliens. For me it has to do with national security.”
“Is it possible that the UAPs in the video are part of some other classified program being developed by the US military? Or do you rule out the possibility that some branch of our military developed these machines?”
Sen. Marco Rubio
“Well, I would say that if that was the case, then we probably wouldn’t be talking about it in the way that we are now and that says we know the answer to the question. So I think that that answers that I mean, if we knew what they were, we’d find a different way to discuss it and you certainly wouldn’t see this sort of demand for more attention to be paid because we’d know the answer.”
“Is there bipartisan support for a formal investigation of UAP? And are your colleagues on Intel as supportive of the task force as you are?”
Sen. Marco Rubio
“Yeah, I think there’s … certainly not a partisan issue. I think there’s different levels of interest in it. Look, I mean, the stigma, it starts out with the fact that a lot of pilots for a long time wouldn’t even report on these things, because they were told not you need to go see the, you know, the flight surgeon to check your head, you know, so people just decided, oh, you know, they’re gonna think I’m crazy. I’m not going to report on it. I think some of that seeps into the politics, and no one ever wants to be accused of being a person that’s out there sort of chasing these things that have been the realm of science fiction for such a long time. But I remind everybody, I want you to put aside all that stuff that people talk about extraterrestrials and all that, this is a very simple equation for me, there are things flying over our military installations. We don’t know what they are or where they’re, they’re from. We don’t know if it’s some other country that’s doing it and we need to know the answer to that question. Simple. That’s what it’s about. I’m not going to speculate about what it is I’m not gonna try to guess I’m not gonna fall into all these traps and the conspiracy theories. We just need to know the answer to that question.”
“The President has made a few public statements about it. Have you spoken to him on this subject? And if so, what can you tell us about the conversation?”
Sen. Marco Rubio
“No, I haven’t spoken to him about this. Again. I mean, this is being handled by the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies and others. But I have not spoken to him about the spoken them about a lot of the things like offshore drilling and the like, but not this.”
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