It was an afternoon of much anticipation and excitement – followed by the saddest trombone sound echoing across the internet.
The long-awaited report from US intelligence officials on unidentified flying objects dropped this afternoon, marking one of the first times the US government officially weighed in on strange sightings in the sky. Their big reveal, however, was seen by many as more of a shrug.
“The truth is still out there,” several reporters who covered the news wrote, after the report could only explain one of 144 reports of what the government calls “unidentified aerial phenomenon”.
“We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence,” the report says. “In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained.”
Some remarked it had taken a long time to produce a report that ran just nine pages and offered little in the way of concrete conclusions.
Aliens weren’t the only explanation being examined. Officials were also considering whether the aircraft belonged to earthly adversaries – an equally scary security situation – and the report was inconclusive on that front as well.
“If there are objects flying over military installations that could pose a security threat … [it] needs to be declassified and revealed to American public,” the Democratic chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, Mark Warner, told Fox 8 television. “If there’s something out there, let’s seek it out, and it is probably a foreign power.”
Some don’t seem especially worried.
Oreo used the report as a questionable opportunity to advertise with a giant Oreo-shaped crop circle and an offering of cookies and milk.
The report, which was commissioned by Congress last year, is still considered by others to be an important step even without strong conclusions.
Investigators listed five possible explanations, including naturally occurring events, but the Department of Defense plans to dig deeper and improve tracking systems to collect better intel.
“The defense department and intelligence community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern,” Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement.