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Feds: ‘High confidence’ in existence of unidentified aerial phenomena

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | July 22, 2021 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT — UFOs may pose a threat to national security, according to the U.S. Office of National Intelligence.

According to a document released on June 25, “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” UAPs could pose flight safety risks. The report centers around the UAP Task Force, and the data they collected from November 2004 - March 2021. There were 11 documented “near misses” between military aircraft and unidentified flying objects in UAPTF’s data. The government’s concern is that these objects may be collecting information for a foreign nation, or that “a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology.”

The report outlines what can be verified; that there are “probably multiple types of UAP,” each requiring a tailored investigation, as well as additional investment for those investigations.

The goal is to identify the unknowns. The UAPTF intends to group UAP into five categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, U.S. industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and “other.”

The U.S. Navy created a standardized reporting system for UAPs in August 2019, which was adopted by the U.S. Air Force in November 2020.

The UAPTF is aiming to compile a database built on consistent, high-quality data from the new reporting channel; data that can be analyzed and compared to information the UAPTF already has. Most of the reports in the 2004-2021 study were submitted during or after 2019 with the new reporting system. Only one report has been recognized with “high confidence” as a UAP. It was described as “a large, deflating balloon.” All other reports remain unexplained.

Before this new reporting system, the UAPTF has relied on first-hand accounts given by military personnel.

One popular first-hand account comes from a November 2004 incident witnessed by two high ranking U.S. Navy pilots, Lt. Com. Alex Dietrich and Com. Dave Fravor. They both described a “tic-tac” shaped UAP approximately 100 miles off the coast of southern California. It was hovering close to sea level above a small turbulent patch of ocean. Both Dietrich and Fravor circled above the object in their aircraft before Fravor circled down to get a closer look. The UAP pointed towards his aircraft, and began ascending while mirroring his maneuvers. When the UAP reached Fravor’s elevation, it sped off so quickly that neither pilot was able to track where it went.

“It was unidentified, and that’s why it was so unsettling to us,” Dietrich said in a “60 Minutes” interview in May. “What I really want to be careful of here is not jumping to conclusions.”

The Tic Tac-shaped UAP was observed by means of visual, infrared, and thermal imaging. Dietrich, Fravor, and other military personnel on the U.S.S. Nimitz, and U.S.S. Princeton observed the phenomena.

“We have nothing that goes that fast and starts climbing at will,” Fravor said during the same interview.

Discussions about UAPs are becoming more normalized thanks to public statements by highly reputable figures like Fravor and Dietrich. Increasing amounts of data reported to the UAPTF by military personnel help shrink the stigma surrounding UAPs, and those who claim seeing them.

Bonner County author Dale Snipes confronted this stigma frequently while compiling first-hand accounts for her book, “78 Years of UFOs: A True Life Account of Sightings.”

The stigma is starting to shrink. Before the government's preliminary report was released, most of the people who gave Snipes their first-hand accounts did not want to have their name included with the story.

However, Snipes isn't one of them. The author isn’t afraid of recounting her encounters with UAPs. When asked by the Daily Bee if she was concerned people would think she was crazy, she said

“I don’t care because I know what I saw, and I know what I’ve been through.”

Published in June, two weeks before the government’s preliminary report, “78 Years of UFOs” contains 103 pages, with visuals, detailing first-hand accounts by Snipes and others, many of them occurring in Bonner County.

“The first time I remember seeing a UFO, I was just five years old.” reads the first page, “I felt no fear, just wonder!”

Upon being told by a doctor that UFO sightings sometimes occur in entire families, she approached close family members and learned that many of them had their own accounts involving UAPs. These accounts, as well as her own, motivated her to compile the stories for publication.

It took Snipes five months to put the book together, a relatively quick turnaround time. It usually takes Snipes a year to finish a book. Her publications can be found in the library, or for purchase on Amazon.

“I doubt seriously they want to hurt us,” she said. “We start things we can’t end, and we don’t have the technology anywhere near what these things can do.”

Idaho ranks first in UFO sightings per capita, according to satelliteinternet.com. With a reported 168 encounters, 9.18 out of 100,000 Idahoans reported seeing a UAP in 2020. In close second is Montana, with 98 encounters, putting them at 9.17 out of every 100,000. In last place is Texas, with 375 encounters, making for a 1.29 per capita rating.

There are many resources publicly available for those who want to educate themselves on UAPs or report their own sightings and experiences. The preliminary report by the department of National Intelligence is available on their website, www.dni.gov. Our reporter’s attempts to locate the document within the website yielded no results. However, the document can be easily found with search engine queries.

A live map of UFO sightings can be found at ufostalker.com.

To report your own sighting, or review first-hand accounts of others, visit the National UFO Reporting Center’s website at www.nuforc.org, or call 206-722-3000 if the sighting occurred within the last seven days. Other information about UAPs can be found on the Mutual UFO Network website at www.mufon.com.

Or, for more personally relevant information, you can ask friends and family members about their experiences — you never know unless you ask.