The Pentagon UFO videos are selected visual recordings of cockpit instrumentation displays from United States Navy fighter jets based aboard aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2004, 2014 and 2015. The three grainy, black and white videos, widely characterized as officially documenting UFOs, were the subject of extensive coverage in the media in 2017, and later declassified by the Pentagon in 2020.
On December 16, 2017, the New York Times reported on the incidents and published three videos, termed “FLIR,” “GIMBAL,” and “GOFAST” purporting to show encounters by jets from Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt with unusually shaped, fast-moving aircraft. The reports became subject to “fevered speculation by UFO investigators.” Those stories have been criticized by journalism professor Keith Kloor as “a curious narrative that appears to be driven by thinly-sourced and slanted reporting.” According to Kloor, “Cursory attention has been given to the most likely, prosaic explanations. Instead, the coverage has, for the most part, taken a quizzical, mysterious frame that plays off the catchy “UFO” tag in the headline.”
The videos, featuring cockpit display data and infrared imagery, were initially provided to the press by Luis Elizondo, the former head of Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, the Department of Defense’s investigation. Elizondo had resigned from the Pentagon in October 2017 to protest government secrecy and opposition to the investigation, stating in a resignation letter to US Defense Secretary James Mattis that the program was not being taken seriously.
In September 2019, a Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed that the released videos were made by naval aviators and that they are, “part of a larger issue of an increased number of training range incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena in recent years.” On April 27, 2020, the Pentagon formally released the three videos.
In February 2020, the US Navy confirmed that, in response to inquiries, intelligence briefings presented by naval intelligence officials have been provided to members of Congress.