A leaked photo of a UFO reported to have been widely distributed within the US intelligence community has been identified by many on social media as a children’s party balloon.

The image said to be classified by DoD as “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” was shared with readers of The Debrief, a new news website started by prominent UFO journalists Micah Hanks, Tim McMillan and MJ Banias.

The highly-anticipated article reported that the “unclassified and for official use only” image had come from a government official and depicted an object captured in 2018 off the East Coast of the US.

The anonymous source confirmed to The Debrief that the leaked image is the same photo provided in a 2018 intelligence position report issued by the UAPTF.

It wasn’t long before social media sleuths began their own investigations into what the true nature of the object may actually be.

John Greenewald Jnr The Black Vault, a website that hosts a large cache of declassified government documents, was one of the first to raise the possibility of the object being some kind of balloon, noting on Twitter that there were similarities between the object in the photo and solar ‘tetroon’ balloons.


UFO Debunker Mick West of Metabunk.org also tweeted support for the balloon theory, observing that the object’s purported activity in the sky matches what would be expected of a balloon.

But the most shared theory matched the object with a Batman with a mylar party balloon, with one Twitter user going the extra step to super-impose and animate the balloon over the object showing a near-perfect match.

It wouldn’t be the first time a mylar balloon has been mistaken for a UFO. During a To The Stars Academy (TTSA) live presentation an image of a UFO was shown on screen as an example of in the Nimitz incident as a potential extraterrestrial craft. It was later discovered that the image was already widely distributed on the internet and determined as a No.1 party balloon.

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Daniel James
Authored by Daniel James

Daniel is a Melbourne-based multimedia journalist with international experience as an editor, producer, designer and artist at some of Australasia’s biggest newsrooms. A longtime commentator and reporter on internet culture, he now journals his observations on digital life and counterculture for Boldly.

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