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Tom DeLonge on the Pentagon Releasing UFO Videos: ‘I Can’t Believe We Pulled This Off’

DeLonge talks about the government’s new declassified clips, and the future of Blink 182

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Last week, the Department of Defense released three declassified videos of “unexplained aerial phenomena.” The videos — filmed by Navy pilots in 2004 and 2015 — show “objects hurtling through the sky, one rotating against the wind, and pilots can be heard expressing confusion and awe,” wrote the New York Times, who published two of the videos in 2017 at the same time as To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, a company that researches unidentified aerial phenomena co-founded by Tom DeLonge, the original singer-guitarist of Blink-182. A third video, of a 2015 incident off the East Coast, was released by To the Stars the following year. Though the Navy acknowledged that the videos were not fabricated in 2019, for people still in doubt, the Department of Defense officially released the videos last week and made them available for download “to clear up any misconceptions by the public.”

While the Pentagon did not offer any more hints on what we are looking at, DeLonge saw the official government acknowledgment as the culmination of a long journey — one that began when he walked away from his band in 2015 to spend more time developing To the Stars, a “transmedia” experience for music, books, films, and UFO research. DeLonge works alongside former intelligence officials to uncover information about unidentified aerial phenomena, and helped expose the Pentagon’s mysterious UFO program in 2017.

“It’s wild,” says DeLonge, who feels that the government released the statement because of the investigative work his team is doing. “I can’t believe we pulled this off. It’s a big deal, and so much more is coming. I think people need to buckle up.” We talked to DeLonge — whose History Channel show Unidentified is gearing up for its second season  —  about the UFO videos, his life in isolation, and the possibility of a reunion with Blink-182.

What was your reaction when the government officially released these videos?
My first reaction was how many people didn’t see when the Navy acknowledged the videos were real, the objects were real, and UFOs were real. That all happened a year ago. And then before that, the New York Times blasted out that UFOs were real and the Pentagon was studying them, so it’s funny that this came out now, with the Department of Defense, which is obviously higher than the Navy. It just shows you how much news is out there and how many people are out there, and how much work we have to do.

I did not see it coming, but I do know some of the inside leaks that are happening at the Pentagon. And they’re not allowed to lie, and basically we caught them dealing with something, and now they’re forced to recognize it and acknowledge it. They do work for us. They’re like, “Alright it’s time to start talking about it because Tom and his rascals are putting our feet to the fire,” you know? I think it’s something we should all be focusing on right now, because it’s a big, big thing that’s gonna change the world as we know it.

Tell me about your favorite video of the three that were released.
The Gimbal video by far. [Editor’s note: The Gimbal video, outlined here, is a 2015 Navy-U.F.O. encounter taken off nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt near the Florida coast.] When you look at that video, it has all the hallmarks of the observable characteristics that my co-founder of To the Stars, Dr. Harold Puthoff, figured out for the UFO program. While some of the other videos are further away and you can’t totally tell, in the Gimbal video, you can see it really well. You can see the plasma on the bottom, you can see the blurry edges. You see all the things that are just absolutely impossible with any technology that we know of. Keep in mind that Steve Justice, who runs our aerospace division, was one of the top guys at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. They build all the cool shit. Steve is looking at this going, “Wow, this is not something anyone can do on earth right now.” But the scarier part could be if Russia or China or someone else did create something that could do that, that’s a big deal. It’s a game changer and we should be all over it. So either way, we need to focus on this.

Do you remember watching the Gimbal video for the first time?
My heart sank to my chest because of the clarity of that thing. You see things like this on the internet sometimes, but you have no idea where it came from. There’s no confirmation of anything, because usually they leak out of places where people just make them in their bedroom. This one, I knew exactly where it came from. The New York Times went and did all its work on it and was able to prove that it was real, so looking at it for the first time, I was like, “Oh my God, this is the real deal.” I have never seen a UFO that clear before.

People have to understand the cameras that it got caught on, when you see a jet or a drone on those cameras, they look exactly like a jet or a drone. [People say], “Oh, it could be anything.” No. If you were looking at an F-18 on that same camera, the same distance away … it literally is like taking a black and white photo with the exact amount of clarity. So it’s not like, because it’s all those cameras, the definition is incredible. So I tell anyone: look at thermal images of jet fighters and drones and see what I’m talking abut. That’s why the pilots were so animated. They knew that this was a special event.

The New York Times said that some astrophysicists say that “bugs in the code” of imaging for the fighter jets could be responsible.
The thing is, with, like, the USS Nimitz case that we came out with at To the Stars, there wasn’t just footage, there was radar data. There was trained observers that saw it. There was an investigation by the Department of Defense. So usually there’s multiple tracks of physical evidence from the absolute top radar systems that have ever been invented, which is being used by those battlegroups, where you can basically see a three-dimensional version of the airspace for however many long miles. You couple that with satellite data and all that other kind of stuff. So we’re not saying, “Hey, this is an unidentified aerial object because one guy saw something.” We’re saying it because it’s been captured on so many systems and been confirmed by so many different groups, so I think it’s a really big deal. For someone just to say it’s a bug or a glitch is literally pure ignorance and they spent absolutely no time looking at the data, or even trying to find it, and that’s the problem with people who are skeptics of this stuff. It’s healthy to be cautious … but to see the data come out, and say something so brazen like that without ever looking into it, it just shows the close-mindedness of people that are supposed to be some of the smarter people here. It just blows my mind. I hold these guys up to a higher standard than that.

Do you know why the Pentagon chose to do this now?
I think To the Stars Academy made all the noise. We’ve been working tirelessly to get all the senators and congressman briefed. We’ve been connecting the people that are still running the program to other players in the government to make sure the info is getting passed around. We’ve been giving advice on national security policy on how they can create a system to be accountable for all the reporting and basically have all the data flow up to the proper think tanks. And you have a situation where [people in] the government aren’t allowed to lie about this stuff. They aren’t allowed to go out and just act like none of this is real. Now that the cat is out of the bag, what you’re seeing is a process that took a little bit of time. Obviously the Department of Defense is massively busy, but what you’re seeing is them having meetings and saying, “What are we going to do? Are we going to try to act like this isn’t real? I’m not going to be the guy that goes out there and lies. I’m not going to be thee guy that says something that’s not true and be the one that has to get hauled before Congress and be deposed on CNN live.”

Trump said, “It’s a hell of a video.”
I know that he’s been briefed. He’s talked about the fact that he’s had a briefing. I tend to wonder when he says things like, “I don’t particularly know these are real or not.” He says these kinds of words that seem like he knows a lot more than he acts. I don’t talk to the President. I just know that he got briefed. I know that it was a big briefing and I think whatever his reasons are for saying the things he’s saying are probably because behind the scenes, there’s a lot more discussions on how to best handle this with the public. So you know, I’m excited that he mentioned it again, because I think it helps.

Blink 182 at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Blink 182 at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

What have you been doing or listing to during your quarantine?
Well, just like everyone else, I’ve been watching old movies. I turned on an old Elvis movie today. Listening to a lot of music, doing a lot of exercising. Thats about all you can do in San Diego.

You posted a really nice message about Blink the other day: “I started blink-182 when I was 16 … It has given me every opportunity I have ever had, and gifted me some legendary friendships that I still have to this very day.” I was curious what brought that on.
Well I think that particular one, I was going through old photos and saw some old photos and just felt like it. You know, I talk to Mark and Travis every so often. I just talked to Mark the other day, and I talk to Travis about every week or two. And you know, I was feeling a little sentimental, but there’s no hidden message there or anything.

Everyone wants to know, “Are you guys gonna play again?” Yeah, of course we are. We just gotta figure out the timing, how it works for everybody. Right now Angels and Airwaves is on a roll. We’re getting ready to put out the best record we’ve ever made. So I’m really busy with that. I’ve got multiple film projects. As you know To The Stars Academy is just booming, so I have all these priorities I’m responsible for, and I can’t just stop and go do a Blink 182 tour because it sounds fun. It’s a big thing. I gotta make time for it. So it’s kind of like, “How do we plan it a year or two in advance?”

And I hope Angels and Airwaves can get back on the road eventually. I was excited to see that.
Oh I know, my gosh. To see the whole concert industry get wiped out — and the film industry too — theres no productions going either it’s just wild wild thing. No one saw this coming. Shutting down the world? So many people are in so much pain or lost their jobs. I don’t know how any hotel, restaurant or salon, how any of these places are going to last. I just wish the government would step in and do more. I think they’re trying to, but I think they’re trying to attach all these weird stipulations on bills to bail out peoples problems, tying it to immigration if you want to [help] the restaurant industry, it’s just becoming politicised, and I really wish it wouldn’t be right now. I wish people would work together in a more harmonious way.