The Navy previously acknowledged the veracity of the videos in September of last year. They are officially releasing them now, “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” according to Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough.

“After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems,” said Gough in a statement, “and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”

“As I got close to it … it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,” said retired US Navy pilot David Fravor. “This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.”

The Pentagon has previously studied recordings of aerial encounters with unknown objects as part of a since-shuttered classified program that was launched at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. The program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon, because they assessed that there were higher priorities that needed funding.

“These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of,” Elizondo said of objects they researched. He says he resigned from the Defense Department in 2017 in protest over the secrecy surrounding the program and the internal opposition to funding it.

Reid tweeted Monday that he was “glad” the Pentagon officially released the videos, but that “it only scratches the surface of research and materials available. The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications.”

“If pilots at Oceana or elsewhere are reporting flight hazards that interfere with training or put them at risk, then Senator Warner wants answers. It doesn’t matter if it’s weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely — we can’t ask our pilots to put their lives at risk unnecessarily,” Rachel Cohen, spokeswoman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, told CNN at the time.

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