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How media got the Phoenix Lights 'wrong' — and what it means in UFO debate today

By Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 11:11am

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Landscape with a UFO in the sky.
Getty Images
Landscape with a UFO in the sky.

Earlier this summer, a trio of former U.S. military officials testified before Congress that the federal government knows more about UFOs than it’s admitting. Specifically, one whistleblower said the country has a decades-old program in which it retrieves and reverse engineers UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena.

The Pentagon has denied this claim.

Late last month, the Defense Department launched a website it’s billing as a "one-stop shop" for public records about UFOs. And, earlier this month, a panel of outside experts urged NASA to play a "prominent role" in the federal government’s effort to study UFOs.

Talk of unidentified objects in the sky brings to mind the Phoenix Lights, which were seen in 1997 and are still a source of mystery to some today. Tony Ortega is the former editor-in-chief of the Village Voice and investigated the Phoenix Lights when he worked for New Times here at that time.

The Show spoke with him more about this, and the conversation started with what Ortega makes of the fact that there seems to be a lot of conversations and questions about what the Pentagon knows and what it’s telling us and lawmakers about UFOs.

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