Newly launched video and direct testimony from a former Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent reveal that, very similar to U.S. Navy pilots who say they’ve often encountered unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), regulation enforcement officers defending America’s borders are additionally encountering uncommon aerial objects with shocking frequency.
In keeping with sources The Debrief has interviewed, these incidents embrace encounters with aerial objects that seem to carry out maneuvers properly past the capabilities of standard plane. A few of these occasions, which have been additionally captured on video, have left numerous veteran pilots and different personnel questioning the character and origin of those objects.
Now in an unique to The Debrief, a former CBP agent is breaking his silence, providing important particulars about his personal expertise with UAPs whereas patrolling the Mexican-American border. This, together with experiences and movies shared with him by fellow CBP and Division of Homeland Safety officers, and his efforts to arrange a course of throughout the CBP for pilots and brokers to report their sightings.
For a lot of the final century, individuals have reported seeing unusual objects in America’s skies. Generally showing to maneuver at appreciable speeds and with out discernible technique of propulsion, these unidentified aerial phenomena, extra generally generally known as UFOs, have remained an everlasting thriller; one which ignores cultural and ideological boundaries with the identical disregard they seem to indicate for territorial borders.
In recent times, the dialogue surrounding this long-taboo matter has been considerably elevated, notably amongst lawmakers and protection officers in Washington. A number of incidents, a majority of them reported lately by U.S. Navy personnel, have prompted questions on whether or not drones and complicated surveillance platforms operated by international adversaries–or maybe one thing else fully–may very well be concerned in these aerial incursions into U.S. airspace.
Based mostly on preliminary intelligence assessments, UAP-related laws, official Pentagon investigative places of work, and current congressional hearings, one may get the impression that UAP incidents are fully restricted to America’s sprawling protection and intelligence equipment.
But individuals from nearly all walks of life have claimed to have bewildering sightings of those aerial interlopers. And as some former authorities officers have not too long ago informed The Debrief, relating to U.S. authorities and UAP, the Division of Protection is hardly the one present on the town.
“It’s not simply the DoD encountering these items,” says Robert “Bob” Thompson, a not too long ago retired Division of Homeland Safety Agent.
In an interview with The Debrief, Thompson recounted how one of many roles he took on as a federal agent with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector Particular Operations Group concerned establishing the reporting necessities for Unexplained Aerial Phenomena throughout the Tucson Sector.
In keeping with Thompson, identical to the army, numerous these weird incidents involving UAP have been captured on refined authorities methods, usually tasked with catching drug smugglers or staving off the movement of unlawful immigration.
“We now have guys on the market 24/7 with their eyes to the sky searching for smuggling, however they see different stuff,” mentioned Thompson. “I talked to dozens and dozens of brokers that every one had comparable tales of seeing weird stuff, of getting encounters with UAP.”
After serving for 11 years with the U.S. army and a stint with a Tucson space Hearth Division as a Paramedic and Hazmat Technician, Thompson started his profession with the U.S. Customs and Border Safety Company in January 2008.
As a federal regulation enforcement agent, Thompson would go on to spend the subsequent 14 years guarding America’s southern borders, finally incomes a spot on the Tucson Sectors Particular Operations Detachment Cell Response Workforce (MRT.)
“I gravitated, you realize, virtually proper off the bat to the particular operations facet,” Thompson informed The Debrief.
“As at all times, you simply need to encompass your self with the very best,” he mentioned. “100% out for excellence on a regular basis. I obtained on to what they name our cellular Response Workforce, which is likely one of the three tiers that make up the Border Patrol Particular Operations Detachment.”
Throughout the Particular Operations Detachment the first focus was counter terrorism, counter weapons of mass destruction proliferation, and drug interdiction.
From 2020 to 2021, Thompson labored within the newly created Arizona Air Coordination Middle, which was to develop into the mind for Air Operations throughout the Tucson Sector. Whereas tasked within the heart, Thompson labored on different tasks together with serving to redesign the sector’s antiquated 911 system and redesigning reporting necessities for normal monitoring of statistics for air assist operations.
“Flying was form of my forte. My duty was primarily helicopters, and a number of the different aerial platforms that we work with and different companion companies that we work with,” mentioned Thompson in a cellphone name with The Debrief. “I used to be additionally a paramedic too. In truth, I used to be the senior paramedic, for the entire Border Patrol. I’d get pinged so much as an issue professional relating to emergency administration and preparation, emergency drugs, and counterterrorism.”
Nonetheless, alongside along with his official duties with the DHS, Thompson started investigating UAP sightings he realized about from throughout the company, even amassing movies and pictures of weird encounters captured by refined authorities methods.
“There’s different those who have issues about [these objects] as properly. You understand, like it could be a international adversary,” mentioned Thompson, describing them as “real objects that I couldn’t clarify.”
Though Thompson admits to having a long-time curiosity in UFOs, it was solely after the 2017 revelations of a quasi-secret Pentagon program, the Superior Aerospace Menace Identification Program (ATTIP), that he mentioned he realized the DHS may present equally precious data within the organized research of UAP. Thompson mentioned he started producing an “Subject Paper” in an effort to enhance reporting and steering for brokers encountering UAP alongside the southwest border.
“Tucson Sector Border Patrol (TCA) together with the Tucson Air and Marine Department must develop a program to have the ability to Report, Determine, Catalog, and if wanted; Interdict Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAP) which are encountered alongside the Southwest Border,” Thompson wrote within the doc, a replica of which was obtained by The Debrief.
“Whether or not or not a few of these objects pose a menace to American Pursuits just isn’t clearly understood and by establishing reporting necessities, it could function an early warning system for rising threats when mixed with know-how property already in place by DHS.”
A February 9, 2021 encounter by the Tucson Police Division Air Help unit with an object that “defied identified drone/SUAS traits,” was highlighted within the doc. The craft, described as a “extremely modified drone,” was in a position to outmaneuver helicopters operated by each the Tucson Police Division and U.S. Customs and Border Safety.
“This factor went on for 45 minutes over town of Tucson,” Bob informed The Debrief. “It was doing circles round (the police helicopters) then went as much as 14,000 (ft).”
“Might [it] be one thing Raytheon associated?” Thompson requested. “Completely. Might it’s, you realize, a Chinese language drone doing a little scouting? Completely.”
Whereas attempting to persuade senior management to take the difficulty severely, Thompson put the phrase out to the DHS aviation neighborhood that he was keen on any UAP encounters they could have had.
Persevering with to hold out his full time duties at a DHS air coordination fusion heart, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Thompson says a stream of DHS and Nationwide Guard pilots began sharing accounts of encounters with aerial objects they might not establish. In some situations, the objects have been additionally recorded on video by plane outfitted with superior imaging methods.
One hanging instance, made public now for the primary time, depicts three fast-moving unidentified plane captured by the delicate focusing on/imaging system of an Military AH-64 assault helicopter.
Captured by one of the U.S. army’s flagship assault helicopters near midnight on November 6, 2018, roughly 40 miles northwest of Tucson, Arizona, the video seems to indicate a number of unidentifiable objects maneuvering in contrast to any identified plane.
“Wow! Are these three actually fast-paced jets up there?” exclaims the Apache helicopter’s co-pilot and gunner as three objects immediately seem, dashing throughout the sky because the plane prepares to take-off.
“In all probability. In all probability some A10’s or some F-16s,” the Apache’s pilot replies, earlier than admitting, “however, I’m not trying up there.”
Though tough to discern from the video alone, the three unknown plane initially look like flying in a free triangular formation.
The co-pilot continues to observe the three objects with the plane’s multi-sensor imaging system, the Goal Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night time Imaginative and prescient Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS).
“The M-TADS/PNVS’s superior FLIR sensors allow Military Aviation Warfighters to see first, perceive first, act first and end decisively on the tactical battlefield,” reads a reality sheet supplied by the system’s producer, Lockheed Martin. The subtle Apache Aviator Built-in Helmet (AAIH) worn by the aircrew permits the nostril mounted IR imaging sensor to observe a pilot’s head actions.
As they method the foothills of close by Picacho Peak, the three unknown objects immediately seem to rotate round one another, as if revolving round an unseen axis, all whereas sustaining a gradual eastward trajectory.
After a number of rotations, the objects then resume an obtuse triangular formation earlier than rushing out of sight because the Apache begins to take off.
Though the encounter solely lasted a couple of seconds, the weird maneuvers conveyed within the video suggests it may symbolize the primary publicly accessible imagery of UAP displaying highly-unconventional flight traits, captured by army sensor methods.
To confirm the video’s authenticity, The Debrief was in a position to get hold of a whole, unedited copy of the imagery captured by the Apache’s gun digital camera through the entirety of its flight.
In keeping with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), except there’s a identified air security accident or incident, radar monitoring data, air site visitors management tape recordings, and knowledge communications are solely retained for 45 days.
As a result of the incident is greater than three-years outdated, The Debrief was likewise unable to acquire any automated dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) transponder knowledge from business plane monitoring sources, able to revealing any data on different plane that have been working throughout the neighborhood on the time of the sighting.
It was famous that within the video the Apache pilot will be heard interacting with air site visitors management and requesting permission to take off. There isn’t a point out by air controllers to the pilots of another plane working within the space.
A verify with aeronautical charts of the realm utilizing SkyVector.com additionally failed to offer any apparent clues, comparable to designated flight paths, low-level air-traffic lanes, or army operational areas that may assist account for the objects.
In a video name with The Debrief, former U.S. Air Power fighter pilot Chris Lehto mentioned the objects actually have the looks of being anomalous.
“It seems like three particular objects, however at a distance. The very first thing that stands out to me is the speed of acceleration,” mentioned Lehto, who spent 20-years within the Air Power flying F-16s and holds a Masters diploma in aeronautical science.
“In the event you see an airline out a distance, you’re simply anticipating it to maneuver a certain quantity of distance in a sure period of time. Particularly as a pilot, you simply, you construct that out extra and also you’re used to planes and assessing how far-off they’re. And objects, your mind simply will get an increasing number of attuned to that,” Lehto defined.
“And after I checked out this, the speed of acceleration simply doesn’t make sense for any objects… I’ve seen in my life, as a pilot.”
Lehto says the objects look like transferring sooner than what he would count on to see even from high-performance plane, comparable to an F-16 or F/A-18 fighter jet.
“Definitely. I imply issues do transfer that quick, however they’re fixed as a result of once they’re transferring that quick they’ve a really massive radius of curvature once they flip simply primarily based on centripetal pressure acceleration to be going that quick,” mentioned Lehto.
With regards to the weird sudden rotations, Lehto mentioned, “How they fly, it doesn’t really feel mechanical to me. They’re altering altitudes and headings, or it simply doesn’t really feel like how we might fly, how I might fly a airplane. Principally, at a sure altitude possibly you’re descending, however you’re descending to go someplace.”
“It’s simply form of willy nilly flying round,” mentioned Lehto. “It simply form of offers me extra of an natural somewhat than mechanical feeling.”
After finishing his personal evaluation of the footage, Lehto supplied The Debrief with a number of further particulars that stood out to him, which have led him to conclude the objects show traits that seem to defy rationalization.
“The monitoring price is exceptionally quick,” Lehto informed The Debrief. “Even when they’re solely a mile away, I calculate they go roughly 1.28M. Properly previous the velocity of sound.”
And in line with Lehto, the weird round flight path the objects exhibit close to the top of the footage is the strangest facet of the movie.
“The circle-dance maneuver is simply not doable,” Lehto mentioned. “They do a full 360-degree flip in lower than 3 seconds!”
The previous fighter pilot expressed confidence that an F-16 is certainly able to turning at unbelievable speeds. In keeping with Lehto, “in a degree flip, at Mach 0.8, 7 Gs, and 14 deg/sec, the F-16 may flip 360 levels in about 26 [seconds].”
However in Lehto’s opinion, no F-16—nor any drone or different plane within the present identified stock of the US army—is able to what the objects are seen doing within the video. He judges that they show “a flip price that’s an order of magnitude sooner than one of many quickest turning fighters on earth,” which he estimates to be above 70 Gs.
“I’ve analyzed the video,” Lehto informed The Debrief, concluding “it’s indubitably anomalous.”
The Debrief additionally spoke with former US Navy F/A-18 pilot Ryan Graves, who was one of many witnesses to the now-famous UAP encountered by Navy personnel aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt between the summer time of 2014 and early 2015.
In a cellphone name, Graves mentioned that at occasions the unknown objects pilots have been encountering off America’s east coast throughout coaching workouts on the time would have interaction in comparable weird, “non-mechanical” maneuvers.
“It’s arduous to explain precisely, however generally they would seem to behave erratically. Like group collectively or change positions whereas in formation in ways in which you wouldn’t see plane behave,” mentioned Graves.
“This was in three-dimensional area too. Not simply their vector, however generally they’d additionally abruptly change altitude.”
To reinforce the necessity for a UAP activity pressure inside DHS, Thompson supplied a replica of one other 40-minute lengthy UAP video to the nonprofit Scientific Coalition for UAP Research (SCU), a company comprised primarily of scientists from varied fields who’re engaged within the research of aerial phenomena.
Popularly known as the “Rubber Duck,” the video taken from a DHS surveillance plane exhibits a misshapen object steadingly flying alongside close to America’s southern border with Mexico.
Information reviewed by The Debrief verified Thompson had made supervisors at DHS conscious of his UAP associated side-project, in addition to the truth that he had supplied the purported UAP footage to the SCU for evaluation.
“I’ve seen issues,” Thompson mentioned. I’ve seen issues myself, however sadly, I’ve by no means been in a position to hit the report button, or have one thing that was simply going to be thoughts blowing for individuals.”
“However this one, the ‘rubber duck video’ I assumed displayed some actually distinctive traits that I couldn’t clarify. To me, it didn’t resemble a balloon [and] it didn’t resemble a drone.”
Skeptic Mick West has expressed the view that the item within the “Rubber Duck” video may nonetheless be a drone or runaway mylar balloon, though he acknowledges that conclusive identification primarily based on data within the video alone can be tough.
The Debrief reached out to the Scientific Coalition for UAP Research for remark concerning the footage, and though the video was pending evaluation by an SCU group member, the outcomes of that research had not been accomplished and made publicly accessible on the time of publication.
Beforehand, the SCU performed an evaluation of a separate video originating from throughout the DHS, filmed over the Rafael Hernandez airport at Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, on April 25, 2013, and obtained by the group later that yr.
In keeping with the official who supplied the footage to the SCU, who selected to stay nameless, however whose background data was vetted previous to the evaluation, the item showing within the video produced no squawking transponder sign which might have alerted air site visitors management close by about its presence over the airport.
“Fortuitously an airborne U.S. Customs and Border Safety plane captured the item on infrared video,” a portion of an intensive report on SCU’s findings states.
Wealthy Hoffman, an government board member of SCU who has labored professionally as a protection contractor for greater than 20 years, says that evaluation revealed traits concerning the object that weren’t simply defined.
“It doesn’t have any form of thermal signature that you’d count on,” Hoffman says, who famous that the traits displayed by the item within the footage usually are not in step with how a balloon or hen would usually seem via thermal imaging methods.
“We obtained its flight path nailed down,” Hoffman says, including that SCU “deduced that the velocity diversified… from about 80 to 85 miles per hour.” Hoffman additionally notes that the SCU needed to account for the parallax impact relating to the item’s motion, which can provide the looks of a faster-moving object as a consequence of its relationship with the background primarily based on the digital camera angle.
“It was a comparatively small object,” Hoffman provides, noting that SCU’s evaluation decided it had seemingly been between two and three ft in diameter. The SCU’s full evaluation will be learn on-line at its web site.
Thanks partly to the Division of Protection and Congress’s continued curiosity in amassing knowledge on UAP, issues appeared to be progressing–albeit at a snail’s tempo typical of presidency forms–in Thompson’s try to ascertain comparable efforts throughout the DHS.
Nonetheless, following unexpected medical circumstances, Thompson immediately discovered himself going through early retirement from his greater than 20 years of mixed federal service.
Fearing his efforts to have a proper course of inside DHS to gather and examine UAP incidents may see further setbacks, Thompson took motion just like others who’ve confronted such obstacles associated to the usually taboo matter: he selected to publicly launch a number of the movies he had obtained displaying DHS or army encounters with UAP.
“The movies aren’t categorised they usually don’t have any nexus to something associated to smuggling,” Thompson emphasised. “In order that they match on this bizarre grey space that Border Patrol actually didn’t care about.”
“After I obtained the very first video, the rubber duck video, I requested him (my boss) straight, ‘is there any motive why I can’t share this with anybody?’ Thompson informed The Debrief. And he informed me level clean, ‘No.’”
After acquiring permission to share the movies, to boost public consciousness Thompson reached out to Andy Marcial, who runs a UAP-related Instagram account referred to as NY UAP Discussions.
“I’ve at all times helped out the little man, that’s at all times been one thing that’s been instilled in me from an early age,” mentioned Thompson. “And, you realize, I checked out Andy as slightly man, you realize, when it got here to the UFO neighborhood. That was why, you realize, I reached out to Andy to see if he needed to get these movies out.”
Marcial informed The Debrief that he had been stunned when Thompson reached out to him with the footage.
“At first I used to be reluctant to imagine it. Of all of the individuals, why me?” Marcial mentioned in a name with The Debrief, chuckling as he described the primary time Thompson reached out to him. “After seeing the movies although, I noticed that this was one thing essential. That folks wanted to see it.”
Marcial, selecting to launch three of the DHS movies he obtained, gave them the titles “Rubber Duck,” “A-10,” and “La Bruja.”
What the objects depicted within the movies really symbolize stays a matter of debate. What will be verified is that every was captured utilizing refined plane imaging methods, and that the pilots or aircrews had no rationalization on the time for what was seen. Categorically, the objects within the movies merely stay unidentified.
The movies have been among the many first to be made publicly accessible displaying purported UAP encounters captured by authorities methods since three comparable movies, obtained by U.S. Navy personnel, have been launched in late 2017.
To his shock, Marcial additionally discovered himself a goal of criticism, on account of each the interpretation by some that the movies may convey balloons or different prosaic objects, in addition to obvious suspicions over Marcial’s comparatively current entry into the web “UFO neighborhood.”
“It was an enormous disappointment,” Marcial mentioned. “It was actually arduous to try to do the correct factor and get these items on the market, then have individuals act like they have been upset or begin criticizing me.”
Marcial says he doesn’t finally know what UAP represents, however that the implications may very well be seismic; as long as the potential stays for unique potentialities.
“There may be an excessive amount of negativity on this planet, an excessive amount of hate, an excessive amount of combating, an excessive amount of bickering, and method too little love, empathy, and unity,” Marcial says. “Possibly if we discovered we aren’t alone within the universe it might change views and views in order that the subsequent technology will usher in a brand new period for mankind.”
Undeterred, Marcial hopes that additional releases just like the Apache video and additional inquiries by lawmakers and authorities officers will encourage others to take the topic of UAP severely.
“I would love for lecturers, scientists, and most of the people to not solely take the topic severely, but additionally perceive that there may very well be extra to actuality than what we at the moment comprehend,” Marcial says.
“We have to research and examine this phenomena to not solely perceive UAP, but additionally actuality as an entire.”
More than any private curiosity he had in UAP, Thompson says what drove him to start amassing details about what his fellow DHS workers have been seeing had been an absence of any formal reporting construction for such sightings.
“Guys are seeing stuff they usually didn’t have a method to report it,” he says. “And that’s what introduced me extra into this than something.”
Thompson hopes that exposing UAP encounters, just like the one recorded by Apache helicopter pilots displaying airborne objects performing in contrast to any identified plane, might additional encourage authorities officers to take UAP incidents severely.
“It’s been such a taboo topic for thus lengthy, particularly within the regulation enforcement neighborhood, particularly within the army neighborhood,” Thompson says. “I don’t care if it’s a UFO or a Chinese language drone, it ought to get reported to the right authorities.”
Talking on background, three separate U.S. protection officers aware of the federal government’s present UAP investigations mentioned the encounter by the Apache pilots in 2018 was not reported to both the UAP Activity Power, or its sucessor program, the Airborne Object Identification and Administration Synchronization Group (AOIMSG).
Protection officers The Debrief spoke with mentioned the lack of understanding was seemingly as a consequence of the truth that new UAP reporting procedures have been nonetheless being formalized in 2018. Likewise, the officers mentioned the incident highlights how issues nonetheless exist in attempting to coordinate centralized UAP reporting practices amongst all authorities companies.
“It undoubtedly seems to be anomalous,” mentioned one senior protection official who seen the Apache video and was aware of the work of the UAP Activity Power. “If it had been reported proper after it occurred the duty pressure may have seemingly been in a position to get hold of considerably extra knowledge,” the supply informed The Debrief.
When supplied with the evaluation by former F-16 pilot Chris Lehto of the Apache incident, the identical protection official mentioned they thought-about it a “nice evaluation.”
A not too long ago retired senior U.S. Air Power officer agreed to look at the Apache video, underneath the situation of anonymity.
The Air Power officer, a former pilot that has held varied command and employees positions all through their profession, mentioned the objects seen within the video “didn’t appear to comport with the flight traits of any identified plane platform, though extra evaluation is required to verify this.”
“I’m not going to get into specifics, however unequivocally, I do know for a incontrovertible fact that the federal government has some extraordinarily compelling proof on UAP. Far more important than what has been launched up to now, together with the examples supplied through the current public Congressional listening to,” the previous Air Power Officer additionally mentioned.
“This Apache video seems to indicate UAP behaving in ways in which recommend non-mechanical flight. It could be attention-grabbing to know if there may be different proof that demonstrates UAP behaving in methods which are inconsistent with mechanical flight.”
The Division of Protection has persistently declined to debate any particulars about particular UAP incidents. The Customs and Border Patrol Public Affairs Workplace didn’t reply to a number of requests by The Debrief for remark.
As for the movies, Thompson says they’re only a small pattern of the varieties of “unidentified” issues Nationwide Guard pilots, CBP brokers and different DHS personnel often encounter through the course of their duties.
Regardless of the wide selection of experience he and his fellow brokers develop through the prolonged hours they spend utilizing essentially the most state-of-the-art tools accessible to them, Thompson says they nonetheless can not decide what they’re seeing in these movies.
“Our guys are on the market day-after-day for, you realize, 12 hour shifts, gazing that display screen, attempting to scrutinize a cow from a jackrabbit to an individual strolling to a hen flying within the sky, to a ultralight, to a helicopter, to the A-10s,” says Thompson.
“I personally have 1000s of hours behind the screens,” Thompson says. “So, if I see one thing and I don’t know what it’s?”
He pauses, weighing his phrases with a care and discernment evident of man with Thompson’s a few years in official service.
“I’m telling you,” he lastly says, “it’s obtained me stumped.”
Footage mentioned on this article shall be featured publicly in a science-based panel dialogue on the forthcoming UFO Disclosure Symposium in Vernal, Utah. The Debrief shall be collaborating as a media sponsor for this occasion.
Tim McMillan is a retired regulation enforcement government, investigative reporter and co-founder of The Debrief. His writing covers protection, nationwide safety, and the Intelligence Neighborhood. You’ll be able to observe Tim on Twitter: @LtTimMcMillan. Tim may also be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or via encrypted e-mail: LtTimMcMillan@protonmail.com.
Christopher Plain is the Information Editor and journalist with The Debrief. Join with The Debrief’s Science Editor Christopher Plain on Twitter @plain_fiction