United States Defense official Sean Kirkpatrick told Congress on Thursday that a “Reaper” drone, being operated in the Middle East by the U.S. military, identified a strange “metallic orb” flying through the skies in 2022.

Kirkpatrick leads the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), which studies what are commonly referred to as UFOs (unidentified flying objects).

The data released in Kirkpatrick’s briefing did not specify where the footage was captured, however, it was part of an update on UFOs, and was only recently declassified.

Kirkpatrick warned that some of the footage he encountered showed “concerning indicators” that U.S. adversaries, such as China, could be spying on the U.S., as opposed to extraterrestrials. “The adversary is not waiting. They are advancing, and they are advancing quickly,” he said.

While Kirkpatrick said AARO is tracking over 650 specific incidents, he confirmed that there is no evidence that any of the sightings are related to alien activity.

“I should also state clearly for the record that, in our research, AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics,” said Kirkpatrick.

The Pentagon, which usually refers to the mysterious objects as Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAPs), tracks them as a matter of security. Because their origin and identity are unknown, the UAPs could represent a threat from hostile countries or groups in the form of advanced technology the U.S. is not currently aware of.

There has been recent focus on aerial security in the U.S. due to the Chinese spy balloons that traveled across the United States in recent months. However, the footage Kirkpatrick showed did not appear to be related to a weather or spy balloon.

In the released footage, the object, which moves very quickly, passes through the drone camera’s field of view before the camera operator manages, with difficulty, to track its progress. The object, which appears to be quite small and lacking any apparent means of propulsion, accelerates across the frame. Eventually, the camera operator catches up to the object and tracks its progress for several seconds.

In his briefing, Kirkpatrick noted that this particular object, or ones like it, have been spotted in the Middle East before. He did not speculate on what their purpose might be, due to a lack of sufficient data.

“It is going to be virtually impossible to fully identify that, just based on that video,” he said, adding that the lack of data has prevented the resolution of some cases.

“Without sufficient data, we are unable to reach defendable conclusions that meet the high scientific standards we set for resolution, and I will not close a case that we cannot defend the conclusions of,” said Kirkpatrick.

He also said that only a few incidents were abnormal.

“I want to underscore today that only a very small percentage of UAP reports display signatures that could reasonably be described as ‘anomalous,'” he said, adding,“The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrate mundane characteristics of balloons, unmanned aerial systems, clutter, natural phenomena or other readily explainable sources.”

Kirkpatrick  explained that 52% of UAPs involve “round” or “sphere” objects, with most ranging in size from one to four meters in diameter and having a “white, silver or translucent metallic” appearance.

He also said some of the objects have been tracked moving at twice the speed of sound.

Highlighting the lack of data, Kirkpatrick encouraged UFO enthusiasts to submit data on observed incidents to credible, peer-reviewed scientific journals, to help increase knowledge.

In a second video released yesterday, Kirkpatrick showed that the team was eventually able to identify another object as a commuter airplane, after analysis of the footage showed the heat signature of aircraft engines.

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