US refuses to hand over UFO documents, fearing 'grave damage to national security'

The US Navy has admitted it's holding onto more details about an infamous UFO encounter off the coast of California in 2004, but releasing it "would cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States".

In November 2004, navy pilots shot video of strange objects performing moves that left them baffled. The close encounter was made public in 2017 and 2018 when Tom DeLonge, former singer for punk band Blink 182, managed to get his hands on some of the footage, and released it via his UFO investigation group, To The Stars Academy.

In one of the clips, a pilot based on the USS Nimitz can be heard shouting, "What the f**k is that thing!?" 

In November 2019 the navy confirmed the footage was real, and acknowledged they did indeed show "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAP). A number of witnesses also spoke out, one of them telling Popular Mechanics there was "video that was roughly eight to 10 minutes long and a lot more clear" than what was released in 2017 and 2018.

That same month, UFO researcher Christian Lambright put in a Freedom of Information Act request - similar to our Official Information Act - and this week got a response, Popular Mechanics reported.

"Our review of our records and systems reveal that [the Office of Naval Intelligence] has no releasable records related to your request," said spokesperson Camille V'Estres. 

"We have discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET. A review of these materials indicates that are currently and appropriate marked and classified TOP SECRET under Executive Order 13526, and the Original Classification Authority has determined that the release of these materials would cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."

A spokesperson for the Pentagon confirmed there was also another video of the incident, but implied it was the same as a short, fuzzy 76-second clip which leaked onto the internet in 2007, and was resurfaced by To The Stars in 2017.

"The Department of Defense, specifically the US Navy, has the video," Susan Gough told tech news site Motherboard. "As Navy and my office have stated previously, as the investigation of UAP sightings is ongoing, we will not publicly discuss individual sighting reports/observations.

"However, I can tell you... that the length of the video that's been circulating since 2007 is the same as the length of the source video. We do not expect to release this video."

But To The Stars released other confirmed legitimate footage not included in the 2007 leak. It remains unclear how they got it - the group says it was released to them by the authorities, who have denied this. 

Copies of the longer video were either confiscated or erased, witnesses said, by mysterious visitors flew onto the Nimitz and sister vessel the Princeton aboard Blackhawk helicopters.