NASA named its new director of research charged with investigating UFOs — or what the U.S. government calls unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs) — on Thursday after refusing to identify him due to potential threats.
Mark McInerney, a previous NASA liaison to the Pentagon, will take on the role, associate administrator Nicky Fox said Thursday hours after the agency announced the new position.
“As we continue to digest the study team’s report and findings, please treat him with respect in this pivotal role to help us better scientifically understand UAP,” Fox said.
The role was announced earlier Thursday as part of NASA’s effort to increase its investigations into UAPs. It follows the release of a report from an independent study panel tasked with looking into how NASA can assist ongoing government efforts to gain information on the intelligence of UAPs.
The agency declined to release McInerney’s name earlier due to the threat of harassment, given the controversial nature of the UAP investigation.
Dan Evans, an assistant deputy administrator at NASA, told reporters Thursday that members of the independent report committee received threats, Politico reported.
“That’s in part why we are not splashing the name of our new director out there, because science needs to be free,” Evans said. “Some of [the incidents] rose to actual threats.”
NASA administrator Bill Nelson on Thursday called the report the agency’s first “concrete action” to seriously study UAPs, adding that he hopes the report will transition the conversation about UAPs from “sensationalism to science.”
“They are being tasked with developing and overseeing the implementation of NASA’s vision for UAP research,” Nelson said of the newly appointed director. “We will use NASA’s expertise to work with other agencies to analyze UAP.”
The Hill’s Miranda Nazzaro contributed to this report.
Source: The Hill