Claims that the US government has secretly retrieved crashed alien spacecraft and their non-human occupants have been around for a long time. These claims are deeply entrenched in post-war American UFO lore and conspiracy theory, inspiring the most well-known narrative in ufology: the “Roswell incident.” However, journalists Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal have injected fresh vigor into these aging claims, apparently with the approval of the Pentagon.

In an article for science and technology news site The Debrief, Kean and Blumenthal report that the US government, its allies, and defense contractors have retrieved multiple craft of non-human origin, along with the occupants’ bodies. They also report that this information has been illegally withheld from US Congress, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office established by the US Department of Defense in 2022 to investigate UFOs, and the public.

The primary source for these new claims is former US intelligence official David Grusch. Kean and Blumenthal verified Grusch’s credentials, which are impressive. He is a veteran of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, and he represented both organizations on the US government’s task force studying unidentified aerial phenomena (the official term for UFOs).

Grusch claims that the retrieved materials are “of exotic origin (non-human intelligence, whether extraterrestrial or of unknown origin) based on the vehicle morphologies and material science testing and the possession of unique atomic arrangements and radiological signatures.” These claims are supported by Jonathan Grey, who works for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, where he focuses on the analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena. Grey told Kean and Blumenthal that “the non-human intelligence phenomenon is real. We are not alone […] Retrievals of this kind are not limited to the United States.”

Kean and Blumenthal are credible and accomplished reporters on UFOs. In 2017, they revealed a secret US$22 million Pentagon UFO research program in an article for The New York Times. That article did much to initiate a wider rethinking about UFOs, avoiding stereotypes, stigma, and sensationalism. Most of the subsequent “UFO turn” in US defense policy and public discourse has focused on images and eyewitness testimony of anomalous airborne objects. Now, Kean and Blumenthal may have brought anomalous objects themselves – and even their supposed non-human occupants – into the conversation.

Why Would the Pentagon Approve Publication?

Shortly after The Debrief article, Australian journalist Ross Coulthart’s interview with Grusch appeared on US news network News Nation. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Christopher Mellon, has also published an article in Politico calling for greater transparency. This looks a lot like an orchestrated effort to convince the public (and US Congress) that something much more substantial than “things in the sky we can’t explain” is going on.

Grusch seems to have followed Pentagon protocol in publishing his information. Kean and Blumenthal write that Grusch “provided the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review at the Department of Defense with the information he intended to disclose to us. His on-the-record statements were all ‘cleared for open publication’ on April 4 and 6, 2023, in documents provided to us.”

A Prepublication and Security Review is how the Pentagon confirms that information proposed for public release is reviewed to ensure compliance with established national and Department of Defense policies. It is determined that it “contains no classified, controlled unclassified, export-controlled, or operational security related information.” If Grusch’s information is true, it is surely both “classified” and “operational security related.”

So why would the Pentagon approve its publication? If Grusch’s information is false, it would probably not qualify as classified or operational security related. However, why would the Pentagon approve the publication of an unfounded conspiracy theory about itself? Doing so would likely mislead the public, journalists, and Congress. It would also undermine the Pentagon’s own attempt to understand the unidentified aerial phenomena problem: the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office.

Indeed, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office told News Nation that it “has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.” Grusch has an explanation for this apparent ignorance. He says that when it comes to unidentified aerial phenomena investigations, the US government’s left hand doesn’t know what its right hand is doing, with “multiple agencies nesting [unidentified aerial phenomena] activities in conventional secret access programs without appropriate reporting to various oversight authorities.”

In the absence of direct experience of unidentified aerial phenomena, most of us rely on information about them to form our beliefs. Scrutinizing how this information is produced and distributed is essential. US government activity in this area will continue. Congressman James Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, has said that he will hold a hearing on UFOs in response to Grusch’s allegations.

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