Yet the government remains willfully ignorant of these dangers due to the stigma surrounding UFOs. In an article for Clean Technica, tech writer and photographer Jennifer Sensiba discussed America's lack of adequate legal and security measures to clear American airspace of combat drones. She opined that this lack was a result of the UFO stigma plaguing the military.
As someone who uses drones to take photos, Sensiba had several near-encounters with law enforcement officers. In one occasion, the photographer was flying her commercial drone near the U.S.-Mexico border when her drone appeared to have attracted the attention of Border Patrol agents.
Officers swarmed the area where she was staying in an apparent attempt to look for the drone's pilot. But Sensiba did not alert them since it would have been a waste of time to discuss that her work was legal, she explained. She packed her things up and managed to flee the area without being interrogated. As a former volunteer in police service, she was aware that most police officers and federal agents were not knowledgeable of the law unless it's something they specialize in.
"They don't know what the laws are, how to spot real suspicious activity or how to find the pilot in most cases," she wrote. "What's even worse is that I always operate according to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules, and that requires that I keep the drone fairly close to myself."
That begged the following question: What if bad actors were the ones manning a drone? If authorities found it difficult to track down amateur drone flyers like Sensiba, it would be virtually impossible for them to catch a criminal user. The photographer also noted that shooting down a drone is not an option because it is dangerous and difficult to do. On top of that, drones are protected by the same law that forbids anyone to shoot down passenger airplanes. (Related: America's most powerful nuclear plant was swarmed by mystery drones – but why?)
Law enforcers' inability to address drone threats stems from the stigma surrounding UFOs, Sensiba opined, citing a recent report published in The War Zone. The report suggested that many of the UFOs seen over the last few decades might be lower-end unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones. These were likely flown by foreign adversaries to gather intelligence on America's most sensitive war-fighting capabilities, the report stated.
While the article acknowledged that there were some well-documented cases of unexplained UFO sightings, these cases made up only a portion of all reported sightings. Those that could be identified as UAVs merit urgent attention, yet the military routinely failed to take action because of the UFO stigma.
As Sensiba puts it, "people who talk about UFOs are largely regarded as conspiracy theorists, nutjobs or fraudsters of some kind, so everyone's afraid to take unidentified objects very seriously." This poses a huge threat to national security since bad actors could exploit this blind spot, according to the article.
The stigma surrounding UFOs led Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to urge the government to get serious about these airborne mysteries. In an interview last month with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, Rubio noted that some aircraft spotted in American airspace were not registered with the FAA. He said that even if some of these exhibited extraordinary behavior, there could be a logical explanation, such as a foreign adversary that made a technological leap.
"The problem with this issue is that every time you raise it, people get all nervous. Does this mean UFOs and aliens and extraterrestrial? We don't have to go that far; it's very simple," the senator said. "There are things flying over national security installations. We don't know who they are. We don't know what it is. We need to find out."
Failure to address these potential threats has very steep costs. Surveillance activities could provide foreign enemies with crucial information about how the U.S. military operates, which could cripple its tactical abilities. On top of this, the country could become vulnerable to drone strikes, Sensiba noted. She said that drones could be outfitted with missiles and other weapons to destroy or disable American military equipment. (Related: China ramping up production of military drones to rival US drone fleet, leaked defense ministry document shows.)
While there is a military entity specially tasked with probing UFO reports – the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force which was formed last year under former President Donald Trump – the task force is underfunded and undervalued, Sensiba said.
"Even when they undertake a serious investigation, other military and intelligence entities don’t take the 'UFO guys' seriously and often don’t give them access to the information they need to find and analyze very real threats," she wrote.
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