It was stunning news that might've hit much harder in another time, or even another part of the year: UFOs may be real, our government may even have material from them, and Navy pilots have recorded video of their encounters.
These stories weren't ignored, of course—and it looks like there could be more to come. Especially since the former head of the Pentagon's Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP) told CNN his "personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone."
"These aircraft—we'll call them aircraft," Elizondo said in his interview, "are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the U.S. inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of."
The Navy videos certainly seem to support Elizondo's statement. David Fravor, one of the former pilots, has been exceptionally forthright about his experience in spite of the potential for humiliation.
He defended himself to the Washington Post. "I don’t think I was a nut-job as an officer in the Navy," he told the paper, "I wasn’t drunk, I don’t do drugs. I got a good night’s rest, it was a clear day."
“I think someone should have looked into it," Fravor reportedly said, "Having talked to some of the other folks, it’s a big frustration that it’s coming out now and wasn’t discussed back in 2004."
People who have believed, as the X-Files told us, that "the truth is out there" are feeling a great deal of vindication about these revelations. Others like a blogger for Player One are extremely skeptical, and they make some decent arguments as to why:
There is no smoking gun that disproves the existence of scientist-stumping UFO materials or provides a mundane explanation for extraordinary UFO sighting footage, but there are more than enough unspoken assumptions, unannounced motives and dubious sources present in the NYT’s report to justify far more skepticism. And while it’s not ideal countering big revelations with little more than insinuations of untrustworthiness, it’s the only option made available by the outsized secrecy surrounding the privatization of UFO research.
Reactions to these stunning stories on social media have been decidedly mixed.
The AATIP program had the full support of retired Nevada senator Harry Reid (D), who told a Las Vegas TV station that he is "very glad" the story has been made public, "because now we have scientific evidence."
The skeptical will likely remain skeptical. And there's still a ton of questions that need to be answered. Like why now? Is this intended as a prelude to greater revelations, or is it meant to be a distraction from something else?
It's a rabbit hole worthy of Tom DeLonge's exploration, and that's why he began To the Stars Academy, for which Luis Elizondo is a consultant.
If everyone's cool with the guy who once sang "I know the CIA would say / What you hear is all hearsay" being the one to deliver the wildest news of the century, more power to him.