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Navy Pilot’s 2004 UFO: A Comedy of Errors

Joe Nickell, PhD, is CSI’s senior research fellow and, among other personas, a skeptical UFOlogist. He is an author or editor of some forty books, including The UFO Invasion.

The first I heard about a shadowy UFO research program operated by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 2007–2012 was when I was interviewed by New York Times reporter Helene Cooper on December 12, 2017. I was not named in the subsequent two articles (Cooper et al. 2017a; 2017b) except that one included my input under an introductory statement about UFO sightings. It read: “Experts caution that earthly explanations often exist for such incidents, and that not knowing the explanation does not mean that the event has interstellar origins” (Cooper et al. 2017b).

The DIA had not acknowledged the program’s existence until it was revealed by Cooper and two coauthors, reporter Ralph Blumenthal and a credulous flying-saucer promoter and writer, Leslie Kean (see, e.g., Kean 2010). Had I known the latter was involved, I would have warned the New York Times to tread carefully.

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