A trove of classified materials associated with an infamous UFO incident marked TOP SECRET are so sensitive that their release would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to US national security according to the Navy.
The files, related to the 2004 encounter between the USS Nimitz and a series of strange, "Tic Tac" shaped UFOs, were sought through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by researcher Christian Lambright, according to VICE's Motherboard.
In response, the Navy told Lambright in a letter that it had "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," according to the report.
"We have also determined that ONI possesses a video classified SECRET that ONI is not the Original Classification Authority for," the letter continues.
"The Department of Defense, specifically the U.S. Navy, has the video. 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," Susan Gough, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Motherboard. "However, I can tell you that the date of the 2004 USS Nimitz video is Nov. 14, 2004. I can also 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." -VICE
The Navy also wouldn't comment on higher on whether a higher resolution version of the video existed.
In November, Popular Mechanics reported that several original witnesses to the Nimitz incident viewed longer, higher resolution footage of the UFO encounter. According to the report, "Gary Voorhis, a Petty Officer who served on the Princeton, a ship in Nimitz fleet, told Popular Mechanics that he “definitely saw video that was roughly 8 to 10 minutes long and a lot more clear.” Others, such as Commander David Fravor, have stated that longer videos of the incident probably do not exist. "
Luis Elizondo, the former Pentagon staffer and the man who played a key role in making the Navy video public, told Motherboard that straightforward messaging does not seem to be the Pentagon’s strong suit. When the New York Times ran its 2017 story concerning the Nimitz UFO incident, it also broke the existence of $22 million dollar UFO investigation program called AATIP, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, and that Elizondo, a career intelligence officer, ran the project. The Pentagon has repeatedly changed its story since then; as recently as last month, the Pentagon said that AATIP had nothing to do with UFOs.
“The Pentagon has a long history of sometimes providing inaccurate information to the American people,” Elizondo said. “This is true as recently as this week regarding the draft memo involving Iran, and two weeks ago when the press finally received the truth about Afghanistan despite 18 years of statements to the contrary.” -VICE
"As in the case involving UAPs, I can only hope that the inconsistent message is due to the benign results of a large and cumbersome bureaucracy and not something more nefarious like a cover-up or deliberate misinformation campaign," added Elizondo, who told the publication that he's "not able to comment further on the existence of a longer video due to my obligations involving my NDA with the Government and the fact that I am no longer employed with the U.S. Government. However, as I stated before, people should not be surprised by the revelation that other videos exist and at greater length."