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As If We Didn't Have Enough to Worry About, UFOs Are Back

By Joe Rothstein — December 19, 2017

Let’s talk aliens. Not THOSE aliens, the ones Donald Trump is using as pinatas to keep many of his supporters excited. But REAL aliens, the ones who come from OUT THERE. No green cards required, even though they could be little green creatures.

If you somehow missed the New York Times’ article that prompts and legitimizes this discussion, here’s a quick summary:

For many years a secret Defense Department program has checked out UFO reports for potential national defense threats and for whatever else might be behind those sightings. The military intelligence officer who led that program resigned recently to protest what he characterized as excessive secrecy and internal Pentagon opposition. Now he and other former program intelligence officers are working with a private contractor to more aggressively investigate sightings and to increase public awareness. All this seems to have nudged the Pentagon toward greater disclosure.

The incident featured in the New York Times article involved a pair of Navy F/A-18 fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Nimitz that chased strange objects off the Pacific Coast near San Diego. The pilots said the objects moved at high speeds, had no visible signs of propulsion and hovered with no apparent means of lift.

On a recording as the incident was occurring the pilots can be heard trying to understand what they are seeing. “There’s a whole fleet of them,” one exclaims.

That was in 2004. In a recent interview with the New York Times, one of the pilots, now retired, said that when he first spotted the object it looked to be oval shaped, about 40 feet long, and was hovering directly over the water which seemed to be boiling beneath it. As the object peeled away, he said, “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen. I was pretty weirded out.”

This sighting was not a one-time thing. An earlier Air Force program to investigate UFOs poured through an estimated 12,000 reports, dismissing most, but marking fully 700 of them not explainable. Seven hundred incidents that could not be explained by weather balloons, conventional aircraft, natural phenomena or any of the other advanced detection systems in the Pentagon’s arsenal.

And we’re not talking history here. Just a few weeks ago, reports of strange objects not unlike the one filed by the Navy pilots came from multiple observers living in Denver, Colorado and Dillon, Montana. Just type “UFO sightings” in your search box and you will be amazed at the many incidents that come back.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid was so convinced of the need to take all of this seriously that he pressed the Pentagon into getting more aggressive about following up reports. If what people were seeing were secret objects created in Russia, China or elsewhere on Earth, he argued, we need to know about it. And if they were extraterrestrials, well, obviously even more important.

Reid had no trouble convincing his then senior counterpart on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, to support a generous budget for the UFO project. According to Reid, Stevens told him of his own UFO experience when he was piloting U.S. Air Force transports in Asia. On one flight, according to Reid, Stevens told of being tailed by a strange aircraft with no known origin.

Reid also told the New York Times that the late astronaut John Glenn had confided that many in the military, particularly pilots, had reported seeing aircraft they could not identify or explain.

The Kepler space satellite has sent back data identifying hundreds of exoplanets, planets whose distance from their suns, moisture and mineral content make them conducive to spawning life. And Kepler is like dipping a toe into a very large ocean. Likely there are tens of thousands of others. Most astrophysicists are fairly certain that we are not alone in the universe. Could that life be more advanced than ours, with superior knowledge that allows for interstellar space travel?

About 50 years ago, Carl Sagen was TV's first science rock star, distilling science into understandable slices to large audiences. He was particularly influential in promoting the search for extra terrestrial intelligence through SETI, now a longstanding program that sends radio signals into space, announcing ourselves to the universe.

At that time, one of my good friends was Jeremy Stone, the president of the Federation of American Sciences. Jeremy was appalled by SETI. He told me that when Sagen first promoted SETI he cornered him at a professional conference and said something like, “Are you nuts! Don’t you realize that in the development of life on Earth, whenever a superior life form has encountered an inferior one, it eats it! What makes you think it won’t be the same if they show up here?”

Jeremy was certain that if aliens had the intelligence to find us before we had comparable intelligence to find them bad things were very likely to happen.

I’m of a mind that an alien invasion now might be a good thing. If they have been lurking around Earth for many years, at least they haven’t zapped any of our planes from the sky or pulled an “Independence Day” attack anywhere. But they must know that we Earthlings can be awfully self-destructive. If they are smart enough to get here, they may be wise enough to know how to shape us up. Heaven knows, we could use some outside counseling.

And wouldn’t it be ironic if real aliens showed up on Donald Trump’s watch? Aliens he couldn’t dispatch with executive orders or ICE squads? People of color? Maybe green?

(Joe Rothstein is a regular columnist for and author of the acclaimed political thriller “The Latina President and the Conspiracy to Destroy Her.” Mr. Rothstein can be contacted at

Joe Rothstein is editor of U.S. Politics Today. His career in politics spans 35 years, as a strategist and media producer in more than 200 campaigns for political office and for many political causes. He was a pioneer in professional political consulting and one of the founding members of the American Association of Political Consultants. During his career Mr. Rothstein has served as editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anchorage Daily News and adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He has a master's degree in journalism from UCLA.