At a House hearing on unidentified flying objects (UFOs), three retired military personnel warned that the administration has been keeping too much information about the sightings hidden and that they pose a threat to national security.
A hearing on UFOs was held on Wednesday by a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee at the request of politicians who want the government to be more open about unexplained abnormal occurrences.
“If UAP are foreign drones, it is an urgent national security problem. If it is something else, it is an issue for science. In either case, unidentified objects are a concern for flight safety,” said Ryan Graves, a former Navy pilot who now runs Americans for Safe Aerospace, a group he founded to encourage pilots to report incidents of UAPs.
The government labels the mysterious sightings as UAPs and has recently published reports on the cases. Others have been attributed to “balloon or balloon-entities,” drones, birds, weather conditions, or flying trash like plastic bags, while others are still unknown.
Both Graves and former US Navy commander David Fravor gave testimony in court concerning encounters they had with UAPs while serving in the military. Former Air Force intelligence officer David Grusch said that material he provided to the inspector general of the intelligence community was withheld by the government from its investigation into the mysterious sightings.
“The technology that we faced was far superior than anything that we had,” Fravor said of the episode he witnessed in 2004, when asked why UAPs are a national security threat.
The hearing is the most recent attempt to get the matter investigated on a national level by legislators, intelligence agents, and military personnel investigating inexplicable aerial occurrences.
“This is an issue of government transparency,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican who pushed to hold Wednesday’s hearing. “We’re not bringing little green men or flying saucers into the hearing. … We’re just going to get to the facts. We’re going to uncover the cover up, and I hope this is just the beginning of many more hearings.”
At the hearing on Wednesday, no government representatives gave testimony. Sean Kirkpatrick, the head of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, which Congress established to concentrate on UAPs, informed a Senate subcommittee in April that the US government was keeping track of 650 potential cases of unexplained aerial phenomena while showing footage from two of the incidents. Kirkpatrick highlighted that his office had uncovered “no credible evidence” of extraterrestrial life or of items that defied accepted laws of physics.
The Department of Defense has been questioned by lawmakers about the sightings after they were described as possible dangers to national security.
“UAPs, whatever they be, may pose a serious threat to our military and our civilian aircraft, and that must be understood,” Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California said. “We should encourage more reporting, not less on UAPs. The more we understand, the safer we will be.”
In order to push for greater government transparency, Garcia and Florida Democrat Rep. Jared Moskowitz agreed that it was critical for Congress to collaborate on the subject across party lines.
“Many Americans are deeply interested in this issue, and it shouldn’t take the potential of nonhuman origin to bring us together,” Moskowitz said.
In addition to UAPs, according to Grusch, the US government apparently has the body parts of the purportedly “non-human” pilots of the aircraft. When challenged, he clarified that he had just heard this from other people and did not have firsthand knowledge. I haven’t personally witnessed that, he replied.
The panel was informed by Grusch that he could supply a list of “cooperative and hostile witnesses” who could inform Congress more about the UAP-related programs.
Grusch said that as a whistleblower, he had informed the inspector general of the intelligence community of his claims. The inspector general of the intelligence community’s office declined to comment through a spokeswoman.The witnesses and a number of senators claimed that the US administration had over-classified information about the mysterious sightings.
Republican congressman from Florida Matt Gaetz claimed that he contacted Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to inquire about an event he had been informed about. Gaetz said when he went to Eglin, he was initially denied but eventually shown an image of the episode, of which, he claimed: “I am not able to attach to any human capability, either from the United States or from any of our adversaries.”
Graves claimed that reporting UAP events still has a stigma for both commercial and military pilots.
“Right now we need a system where pilots can report without fear of losing their jobs,” Graves said. “There is a fear that the stigma related to this topic is going to lead to professional repercussions either through management or through their yearly physical check.”
The House Intelligence Committee held the first congressional hearing on unmanned aerial systems (UAPs) in decades last year, and Kirkpatrick’s testimony was the subject of the most recent Senate hearing.
Of the 650 cases the government is tracking, Kirkpatrick said, “We’ve prioritized about half of them to be of anomalous interesting value, and now we have to go through those and go ‘How much of those do I have actual data for?’”