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In July 2019, approximately 50 nautical miles to the west and southwest of San Clemente Island off California, three U.S. Navy ships encountered several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in four separate incidents. Originally, the sightings of the mystery drones were reported by documentary filmmaker Dave Beaty on his Twitter account.

A friend of one of the crew members of the USS Kidd said that the UAVs resembled the TicTac shape of a famous UFO encounter by FA-18s of the USS Nimitz in the same area back in November of 2004.

As you might expect, this tie-in to a previously documented UFO sighting sent the press into a speculative frenzy. A story by Adam Kehoe and Mike Cecotti for The Drive stoked the mystery angle even further. The writers used the ships’ log entries and publically sourced ship tracking data to make the case that the “brazen” intrusions of these drones represented a serious breach of security. Other media outlets like Yahoo News, Forbes, Fox News, Daily Mail, and the New York Post all filed stories as well about the “Mysterious Drones” and the supposed panic in the U.S. Navy over the four incidents. Officially, the Navy said it had no idea what they were, but the reported details about how it reacted to these mystery drones suggest that it probably knows a great deal more than it is letting on.

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