UFO Report by U.S. Intelligence Explains Only One Sighting: A Large, Deflating Balloon

The U.S. intelligence community's long-awaited report on UFOs has only explained a single sighting as a large, deflating balloon.

The unclassified nine-page report examined 144 sightings of "unidentified aerial phenomenon" (UAP)—the government's term for UFOs—reported by Navy and other pilots.

The report created five classification categories for the UAPS: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, U.S. government or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems and a catchall "other" category.

However, the report was only "able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence," it stated. "In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon." Report investigators said they lacked sufficient data to explain or categorize the 143 other UAP sightings.

intelligence report UFO sighting explained large balloon
A UFO report by US Intelligence forces has explained only one mystery sighting as a deflating balloon. In this photo, a UFO-like sunset over Hastings Mesa—between Ridgway and Telluride, Colorado—resembles a spaceship landing. Joe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group/Getty

The investigators didn't find any evidence that the UAPs resulted from extraterrestrial aliens or foreign countries. However, the report did say that UAPs could've originated from both sources. Such "breakthrough or disruptive technology" could represent a safety risk to pilots and a security threat to the United States, the report stated.

While most UAP sightings have occurred near military facilities, the report said that their locations don't necessarily mean that UAPs are spying on the U.S. military. Rather, the increased number of sightings could be due to "collection bias as a result of focused attention, greater numbers of latest-generation sensors operating in those areas, unit expectations and guidance to report anomalies," the report explained.

Investigators also stated their belief that the UAPs "physically exist" and weren't just "observer misperception" on the part of pilots or surveillance equipment. In 80 of the sightings, the UAPs were detected by multiple sensors. In 11, pilots reported nearly colliding with the flying objects.

However, the report concluded, "The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP."

In response to the report, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told the Pentagon Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to establish an ongoing military mission dedicated to studying UAPs, CNN reported.

"It is critical that the United States maintain operations security and safety at DoD ranges," Hicks wrote in her memo to the undersecretary.

It's uncertain if intelligence forces would publicly acknowledge if the UAPs had originated from foreign military technology. Such acknowledgments can tip off foreign governments that their cutting-edge aircraft, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment may be less secret than they thought, Democratic Connecticut Representative Jim Himes said.

Himes is a member of the House Intelligence Committee that received a briefing on UAPs from Navy and FBI officials last week.

Newsweek contacted the Department of Defense for comment.