In the ’90s The X-Files became a nearly instantaneous addition to the American zeitgeist after building an entire television series and movie franchise around the idea that the government has known about the existence of extraterrestrials for decades and engaged in a vast, deadly conspiracy to withhold that information from the American public. But as covid-19 turns out to be a vast, deadly testament to the ineptitude of the American government and the president sends g-men in vans to snatch peaceful protesters off the street, a more timely conspiracy theory is one in which the American government starts talking about aliens to distract from the fact that they’re fucking killing people.
The government’s UFO branch—named the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, ostensibly because Space Force was already taken—has announced plans to make public some findings about the retrieval of what former official Eric Davis told the New York Times are “off-world vehicles not made on this earth” in March. The new UFO unit is preceded by another Pentagon UFO program that gave classified intelligence briefings on unexplained sightings of unidentified flying objects to congressional committees from 2007-2017.
Now, for the first time, some of this information will be made public as the newly formed task force updates the Senate Intelligence Committee on its findings every six months. But in an interview last week, acting intelligence committee chairman Marco Rubio told CBS Miami that he’s worried the objects aren’t from aliens, but technically advanced weapons built by our old Cold War enemies (though X-Files was the first to ask “Why not both?” in regards to this scenario):
“Frankly, that if it’s something from outside this planet — that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary,” Rubio said in the interview.
Whether these materials were sent by intelligent and hopefully benevolent lifeforms from space, enemies from abroad, or perhaps a higher power finally getting around to punishing us for the myriad transgressions various religious texts prophesy that we will eventually have to die for, the question for Mulder and Scully remains: Why is the government suddenly so chatty about the spaceships they’ve got lying around? What are they really hiding? Scully would say there’s a perfectly logical explanation for this, but fans of the show know that she always sounds right but never is.