The Pentagon’s decision to officially declassify three ‘UFO’ videos that have been circulating for years has triggered feverish speculation about what the famously secretive department is trying to distract Americans from.

Three short videos depicting US Navy planes’ encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs) – more commonly called UFOs – were officially declassified by the Pentagon on Monday, thrilling alien enthusiasts and igniting a firestorm of speculation on social media.

Even though the clips have been circulating ever since they were leaked online between December 2017 and March 2018, the Pentagon putting its official stamp on the unusual films – supposedly to “clear up any misconceptions by the public” – confirmed their authenticity.

However, not all of the speculation had to do with the type of ‘little green men’ that might be piloting the objects. Even as hashtags like #aliensarereal and #ufo2020 dominated social media, many commenters were skeptical as to why the Defense Department had selected this particular moment in history to officially ‘release’ the videos. With the world in the grips of both a pandemic and an unprecedented economic depression – and with anger rising at government responses to both – the timing raised more than a few eyebrows.

Given the Pentagon’s facility for ‘information warfare’, many assumed the release was an effort to shift the discourse to ‘aliens’ (in which case, mission accomplished!).

The Pentagon releasing UFO videos amidst all of this

Now why would the government confirm that aliens are real at a time like this

But what were they shifting the discourse from? There were plenty of theories – from the “horrifying ‘job’ POTUS has done NOT protecting the American public” to “awful legislation” lurking in Congress, to the president’s latest controversial comments.

GOVERNMENT: Hey I know what will distract people during #pandemic – #aliensarereal PEOPLE: Meh.GOVERNMENT: How about dumb science comments? Economic collapse? OH what about that tried-and-true xenophobia? You LOVE that tasty fear!PEOPLE: Gettin’ tired of your shit honestly.

Trump: We need to distract from my mega-blunder!!!Pentagon: Hey look everyone, something shiny!!!#aliensarereal

Others reasoned – with varying degrees of seriousness – that the disclosure might be laying the groundwork for a new, even more expensive kind of war.

Pentagon says #aliensarereal because US Space Force was created and they have nothing to do. They need something to go to war with and take their space oil. #AlienExist

Not to mention he’s been rallying funds and support to ramp up the starwars military program. What better way then yet another vague enemy to fear.

A few even ventured that the Pentagon throwing its weight behind the videos actually made them less likely to believe in aliens, given the Pentagon’s track record.

The issue I have with these vids is they can’t be independently verified. What is the object? Is it an object – or a hoax? We don’t have much info, other than a video & even then, from a regime that lies with the CIA, so I’m even less obliged to trust it

Yall stupid conspiracy theorists don’t trust the Pentagon for shit else but you trust them when they’re trying to distract you by “declassifying footage of UFOs” smmfh

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