Government officials testified on Tuesday, May 17, at Congress’ first public hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years as part of an effort to be more transparent about investigations into “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
What was revealed? Unsurprisingly, not much. There certainly were no bombshells or anything close to an admission that any of the “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” or UAPs- which is now the preferred vernacular – had an alien origin.
Indiana Rep. André Carson, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, called Tuesday’s hearing, the first in more than 50 years focused on the aerial incidents.
UAPS are “a potential national security threat” and must be investigated, said Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, chair of the House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee.
“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” Carson said. “Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the backroom or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community.”
Of greatest interest to the assembled members of Congress and to the general public was what the Pentagon officials had to say about the leaked footage of the infamous UFOs that interacted in a seemingly inexplicable fashion with Naval vessels.
That footage, which the military confirmed last year was “authentic,” had helped spur interest in purported UAPs.
In what sounded suspiciously like the same-old-same-old “weather balloon” story, a Navy official said at Tuesday’s hearing that investigators are “reasonably confident” the floating pyramid-shaped objects captured on one of the leaked, widely seen military video were “likely drones.” However, the infamous footage of the “Tic Tac” UFO remains unexplained.
The number of UAP reports has risen to “approximately 400,” a significant increase from the 144 between 2004 and 2021 that were tracked in last year’s report, according to Scott Bray, the deputy director of Naval Intelligence. Bray told the House panel that the spike was due to a reduction in the stigma associated with stepping forward to report such incidents in the wake of the 2021 report.
“We’ve seen an increasing number of unauthorized and or unidentified aircraft or objects and military control training areas and training ranges and other designated airspace,” Bray said. “Reports of sightings are frequent and continuous.”
But Bray believes many of the newly disclosed accounts are actually “historic reports that are narrative-based” from prior incidents that people are only now coming forward with, which leads him to believe there will be fewer new accounts in the future.
Last year’s intelligence report could only explain one of the documented 144 “unexplained” encounters and did not contain the words “alien” or “extraterrestrial.” The report stated then that the UAP incidents would require further study.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Bray echoed last year’s conclusion that most of the phenomena were likely physical objects and noted that “the UAP task force doesn’t have any wreckage that … isn’t consistent with being a terrestrial origin.”
Bray said it could be quite difficult to identify the objects, given that the sightings are often short and may not be recorded. He shared a few short videos and images of unidentified objects to demonstrate how fleeting the observations can be.
One clip shot through night-vision goggles off the US coast several years ago – which had been leaked to the public — showed glowing green triangles moving through the air. Investigators later determined the mysterious objects were unmanned aerial systems, or “drones.”
Even so, Bray said, questions remain.
“I can’t point to something that definitively was not man-made, but I can point to a number of examples which remain unresolved,” Bray said, citing a video of a 2004 incident in which a Navy pilot recorded an unusual, Tic Tac-like object over the water.
“We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there,” said Ronald Moultrie, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, who also testified at the hearing.
Moultrie said the Pentagon is establishing an office to speed up “the identification of previously unknown or unidentified airborne objects in a methodical, logical and standardized manner.”
Members of Congress, including Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Arkansas, stressed the importance of transparency while communicating the steps defense officials are taking to track and analyze unidentified objects in US airspace.
Crawford said failing to identify the objects is “tantamount to an intelligence failure,” and the search is “not about finding alien spacecraft.”
“The intelligence community has a serious duty to our taxpayers to prevent potential adversaries such as China and Russia from surprising us with unforeseen new technologies,” Crawford said. “This committee has an obligation to understand what you are doing to determine whether any UAPs are new technologies or not – and if they are, where are they coming from?”
Still, Moultrie said government officials have a duty to protect sensitive information.
“Our goal is to strike that delicate balance, one that enables us to maintain the public’s trust while preserving those capabilities that are vital to the support of our service personnel,” he said.
Sounds like the same old government “coverup” and deflection, and if the truth is indeed “out there,” will it ever really be shared with the American people?