The strange craft appeared in December and were spotted every night for over a month. They were huge “drones” with six-foot wingspans; they moved in formation in groups of 10-50; stayed high in the air for hours on end; they were undisturbed by bad weather, wind or storms; and there were hundreds of them.

No one had ever seen technology quite like it. And the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated a full investigation into the ordeal.

The mystery garnered international attention. People were asking lots of questions. Politicians were demanding answers. But no one knew what in the hell was going on in the skies over eastern Colorado. It was a flat-out mystery. And for a while, it was the strangest story of 2020.

That was, until late January when the drones simply disappeared — vanishing almost as abruptly as they’d appeared. By the time COVID-19 came to town, the story was old news and nobody really gave a damn anymore. People could hardly get their hands on toilet paper, there, for a while — unidentified drone swarms were the last thing on anyone’s mind.

So the mystery was never solved. And, new documents from the FAA show that the military and the government — from the Pentagon to the FBI to the Air Force and NORTHCOM/NORAD — were all equally uninvolved and deeply perplexed. No one had a clue what was going on, these conversations reveal.

“Still no idea on operator or source of these operations.”  

Douglas D. Johnson, a researcher with the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, used FOIA requests to obtain these hundreds of pages of emails, photos and documentation from the FAA, in regards to the drones:

[FAA Bumberger]1-2020-006226 First Release_Redacted.pdf

Bumberger Second Release 1_Redacted.pdf

Bumberger Second Release 2_Redacted Reduced.pdf

Bumberger Third Release_Redacted (7-6-20).pdf

Bumberger 1-14-20 activity drops away -Third Release_Redacted 152.pdf

Perhaps the most interesting development from these emails is the eyewitness accounts of an even larger drone operating in the same area as the smaller drones.

“This larger drone, also described as a “Mother Ship”, is said to hover while all the others fly around in close proximity. The large drone, as described, is about 5-6 feet in diameter with a cylindrical shape and a red front.” Wrote Michael W. Sanford in one email, with the FAA’s aviation safety division.

But not a single arm of the US military stepped up to claim the drones or their “Mother Ships,” despite the costly federal investigation underway. As the associate administrator for the Office of Security and Hazardous Materials Safety, Claudio Manno wrote in one email released in these documents:

“The FAA contacted multiple offices within the Pentagon in both the Army and the Office of the Secretary. All provided negative responses. Combined with previous DOD engagement [by FAA] with USAF and NORAD/NORTHCOM, there is high confidence these are not covert military activities."

So, if not the military, who? What kind of private entity or individual could execute such a massive operation, with such advanced technology, in total secrecy? Whoever it was, had immense financial resources, and knew the laws surrounding aerial systems operation on a very deep level. These craft, bizarre as they were, weren’t technically breaking any laws (which was why the FAA couldn’t do much to stop them).

People’s first thoughts went to private companies doing resource surveys. These drones were clearly looking for something: flying in formation, in grid patterns over the land, outfitted with big spotlights. Maybe they were looking for oil or gas?

However, no developments were ever made on this front, despite the FAA apparently reaching out to numerous natural resource companies that might be involved. The only mention of oil and gas companies responding to these inquiries, is from companies denying any involvement.

They even contacted companies like Google, Amazon and Uber to see if they had any idea what was going on. But no dice.

“The ASH LEAP agent researched out to one company, –REDACTED--, that has the capability and capacity to fly extended hours as observed and was granted a 107.29 night waiver. He just confirmed they are not operating in the areas with reported sightings.” Wrote Angela Stubblefield, the FAA chief of staff in one email.

Emails like that bounced back and forth for weeks, with no developments. By early January, Stubblefield and other FAA officials are still making comments like, “Still no idea on operator or source of these operations.”  


By mid-january this had been going on for a month and still, the mystery persisted. People were getting anxious. Locals were getting irritated. The mystery was only spreading, gaining momentum and yet the federal administration investigating it, could only shrug. Conspiracies began swirling. Curiosity, slowly, began to turn to unease. The world was watching, wondering, waiting for some kind of revelation.

Then on January 14th, as sightings and reports began to tail off, Special Agent Michael “Bam” Bumberger of the FAA sent an email out essentially brushing the mystery off.  

“Looks like reporting was way down this weekend in Colorado and Nebraska. Kansas had a few reports but nothing like what we have seen the past few weeks. I have not received one call since Friday evening,” Bumberger writes. “So far the sheriffs I have contacted have reported no activity. They think the people have gotten tired of reporting. I think the activity has moved on or has stopped. “

After that, the agency lost interest quickly and dropped the investigation altogether. If The People were no longer interested in getting to the bottom of the drones, and if the drones were no longer invading their airspace, the FAA had no vested interest in finding answers.

Then came COVID and the rest is history…

Now, when the FAA dropped the investigation, they had two main theories: These drones were either A) a private oil and gas company surveying a proposed pipeline area in the Julesburg Basin, which is adjacent to where these drones were being reported, or B) a private oil and gas company doing independent research on gas leaks, to meet Colorado’s more-strict EPA laws.

However, it does seem strange that a private company doing something as environmentally proactive as searching for gas leaks to mitigate pollution, would be so secretive about it. That’s a positive marketing point. Why the stealth?

And anyway, an operation of this scale certainly required a lot of people to pull off: engineers to develop the extraordinarily advanced aerial systems, operators to fly them and charge them up/refuel them, orchestrators to plan the whole thing out. How would a private company keep such a big secret through all the international uproar? Why hasn’t a single person come forward to claim the drones as their own? Or even to say, they worked with the company who was flying them?

NDA’s can be powerful. But that powerful? 

Anyway. All of that’s just to say: Colorado’s 2020 drone mystery is still a mystery. In fact, it’s only gotten more perplexing as more information has come to light. The only thing we learned from these released FAA emails was that their investigation turned up nothing. No one knew, and still, to this day, no one knows anything.

Nothing except that they were here, and now they’re gone. What they were doing, who was doing it, and why are still unanswered questions.

Someone knows, though. Someone was behind it, and they aren’t speaking up. Whether it was a private enthusiast with incredible resources, a private company doing something shady, a foreign government running surveillance operations in rural Colorado, or our own government doing something they still won’t admit to, is unknown. And may remain unknown for many years to come.