The Pentagon’s office to explore unidentified aerial phenomena may never get to the bottom of some of the most famous sightings, due to a lack of data. But it hopes a new reporting mechanism will help. 

The head of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, said Tuesday that the office has to focus on the newest sightings first, not necessarily the ones that are the most prevalent in the public mind. 

“The way we investigate cases we really prioritize more of the operational ones from today than we do going backwards in time, and the reason for that is there is no supporting data to actually analyze,” Sean Kirkpatrick, the head of the AARO office told reporters. 

Kirkpatrick was referring toa now widely-seen 2004 video taken from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet flying off the coast of San Diego. The December 2017 New York Times article featuring the video represents the moment the public and the government went from treating UFOs like fringe conspiracy theory to describing them as an urgent concern requiring lawmaker oversight and a whole new Pentagon investigatory office. 

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