While the first congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years did not reveal the existence of extraterrestrial life, it did state that the US military is taking sightings of unknown craft seriously as a national security threat. .

A House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation of Intelligence hearing was held Tuesday morning with a 90-minute open session followed by closed-door testimony later that day.

“Unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) are a potential national security threat and should be treated that way,” Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, said at the start of the hearing, referring to the term Preferred technician for unidentified flights. objects or UFOs.

“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” he added. “Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. Defense Department officials relegated the issues to the back room or swept them under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community.

“Today, we know better,” Carson continued. “The UAPs have no explanation, it is true, but they are real. They need to be investigated, and any threat they pose needs to be mitigated.”

The House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation of Intelligence in a hearing.

Tuesday saw the first congressional hearing on “unidentified aerial phenomena” in more than 50 years. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The tone of the hearing, the first on the subject since 1966, when Congressman and future President Gerald Ford held one after a Michigan sighting, focused less on concerns about alien invasion and more on intelligence failures that could make other nations unaware of technology that the US was not aware of. That push included making sure pilots feel comfortable reporting anything they see.

“The intelligence community has a serious duty to our taxpayers to prevent potential adversaries like China and Russia from surprising us with unforeseen new technologies,” said Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark. “This committee has an obligation to understand what it is doing to determine whether or not UAPs are new technologies, and if they are, where did they come from?”

In November, the Pentagon announced the new Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group program to help with tracking. followed a Report June 2021 documenting 144 observations dating back to 2004.

“We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena, and because UAPs present potential flight safety and general safety risks, we are committed to a focused effort to determine their origins,” Ronald S. Moultrie, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. , declared at the hearing. “We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there. We receive questions not only from you. We get it from the family, and we get them day and night.”

Ronald Moultrie, deputy secretary of defense for intelligence and security.

Ronald Moultrie, assistant secretary of defense for intelligence and security, testifies on Capitol Hill Tuesday. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images)

Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, said his database of unidentified objects has grown to “approximately 400 reports.” He said that while there were no collisions between military craft and UAPs, there were at least 11 near misses. Bray said the military had not picked up communication signals from the objects, nor had it attempted to initiate communications with them.

“Generally speaking, it appears to be something that is unmanned, it appears to be something that may or may not be in controlled flight, so we have not attempted any communication with that,” he said, noting that the military had not fired on any UAPs. . nor had he come across any shipwreck “that is not consistent with being of terrestrial origin.”

While Bray said most of the still unexplained sightings could be attributed to a lack of data, he admitted: “There are a small handful of cases where we have more data that our analysis just hasn’t been able to fully extract. together a picture of what happened.”

The American fascination and military interest in UFOs is decades old. In his opening remarks, Carson referenced the Air Force Project Blue Book, a classified program established in 1952 that counted more than 12,000 UFO sightings during its 17 years of existence, with hundreds still unexplained. A 2006 report from a disk floating over Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport it was ruled out by the Federal Aviation Administration as a weather anomaly. The 1947 high-altitude balloon crash in Roswell, NM, inspired generations of conspiracy theories about flying saucers. The unmanned craft was part of a top-secret program to monitor Soviet weapons tests.

Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, points to an image on a screen.

Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, plays video of an unidentified aerial phenomenon during Tuesday’s congressional hearing. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In a letter dated March 1966 To two fellow congressmen, Ford wrote: “In the firm belief that the American public deserves a better explanation than the Air Force has heretofore provided, I strongly recommend that there be a committee of investigation of the UFO phenomenon. I think we owe it to the people to establish credibility regarding UFOs and to produce as much illumination as possible on this subject.” The following month, Ford issued a statement saying that while some had “ridiculed” his call for an investigation in Congress, they were a fraction of those who had given their approval to investigate a March event in which 40 people, including 12 policemen, claimed to have seen a group of UFOs.

In 2017, the New York Times ran a story about how former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, had pushed for funding for the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which investigated unexplained aerial sightings. The program ran from 2007 to 2012.

“I’m not embarrassed or embarrassed or sorry that I started this,” Reid said in an interview with the Times. “I think it’s one of the good things I did in my service to Congress. I’ve done something no one has done before.”


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