By Tim Binnall
Venerable news program 60 Minutes devoted a significant portion of Sunday night's broadcast to exploring incidents of Navy pilots witnessing unidentified aerial phenomena and the United States government's recent acknowledgment of the issue. Amazingly, the nearly 15-minute-long segment, which can be seen in its entirety above and is transcribed here, was actually the first time the program has ever covered UFOs in its more than five decades on the air . The piece largely served as an explainer to the 60 Minutes audience who may have been unaware of the remarkable series of UFO-related events that have been unfolding since the late 2017 New York Times article that revealed a Pentagon program to study unidentified aerial phenomena.
During the segment, reporter Bill Whitaker spoke to former military intelligence official Lue Elizondo and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Christopher Mellon, about their concerns regarding what they see as the government's unwillingness to take a critical look at the UAP issue and how they have been working to rectify that situation. Also interviewed were former Navy pilots Lieutenant Ryan Graves and Alex Dietrich as well as retired US Navy pilot commander David Fravor. All three former pilots recounted their personal experiences witnessing unidentified aerial phenomena, with Graves making the eye-brow raising statement that he saw UAPs "every day for at least a couple years."
While UFO enthusiasts may have found most of the material in the segment to be a retread of information that has already been circulating in bits and pieces over the last three years, the show undoubtedly brought a sizeable portion of the public up to speed on the matter, which is something of a victory for those wishing for the subject to be taken more seriously. On that note, one particularly telling aspect of the program was that, unlike in the vast majority of instances wherein the mainstream media looks at UFOs, the phenomenon was given a sincere examination rather than being the subject of ridicule. Additionally, it is noteworthy that not once during the segment were the words "alien" or "extraterrestrial" uttered by anyone.
On the contrary, while the possibility that UAPs could be otherworldly was somewhat alluded to, a scenario in which they are foreign craft was treated as equally plausible. And, ultimately, the general message imparted by the piece was that not seriously examining the phenomenon, due to its decades of proverbial baggage, leaves the United States vulnerable to whatever dangers these oddities may pose. This point was stressed by Senator Marco Rubio, who appeared during the piece and declared that "anything that enters an airspace that's not supposed to be there is a threat."
The senator went on to call for "a process to analyze the data" from UAP reports by pilots and argued that there needs to be "a place where this is cataloged and constantly analyzed, until we get some answers." Should next month's highly-anticipated Pentagon report on UAPs indicate the need for greater understanding of the phenomenon, Rubio's proposed effort to unravel the UFO enigma may very well come to fruition. That said, as always with UFOs, one is wise to temper their expectations when it comes to finding a complete answer to the mystery as the phenomenon has proven time and time again to be particularly adept at confounding even the best efforts to understand it.