Congress Wants Answers on UFOs

From a Wall Street Journal story by Joseph De Avila headlined “Congress Wants Answers on UFOs: ‘The American People Deserve the Truth'”:

A congressional panel examining UFOs is set to hear testimony Wednesday from a former intelligence official who claims the U.S. government has possession of aircraft of a nonhuman origin.

The witnesses also include two former U.S. Navy fighter pilots who have said they saw “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” or UAP, a phrase the federal government uses to refer to what are commonly known as unidentified flying objects.

“We’re bringing in credible witnesses who can provide public testimony because the American people deserve the truth,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R., Tenn.)

Witness David Grusch, a former member of a Pentagon panel on UAP, has said the federal government has withheld information about the recoveries of aircraft of nonhuman origin from Congress and the public.

The Pentagon’s UAP task force, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, hasn’t been able to substantiate claims that any federal programs have possessed or reverse-engineered extraterrestrial materials, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense said.

“The Department is fully committed to openness and accountability to the American people, which it must balance with its obligation to protect sensitive information, sources, and methods,” the spokesperson said.

The other two witnesses are former U.S. Navy fighter pilots Ryan Graves, executive director of the UAP-focused advocacy group Americans for Safe Aerospace, and retired Cmdr. David Fravor.

Wednesday’s hearing, by a House Oversight subcommittee, is Congress’s latest push for transparency around UAP. Lawmakers have been putting more pressure on the federal government to share what it knows about the phenomena, which have long fascinated the public.

Provisions in the Senate’s version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act would require federal agencies to hand over records related to UAP to a panel with the power to declassify them. The provisions have bipartisan support.

Federal officials have begun releasing some information about UAP. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report in 2021 that reviewed dozens of reports of mysterious flying objects between 2004 and 2021. The report found several examples of objects that lacked visible forms of propulsion or that appeared to use technology beyond the known capabilities of the U.S. or its adversaries.

U.S. defense officials released videos of such objects last year during the first Congressional hearing on the subject in more than half a century. One video, taken from the cockpit of an aircraft, showed a spherical object flying to the right of the aircraft. Military officials were unable to explain what the object was.

Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, said in public testimony in May his office is studying about 800 cases of UAP reported from 1996 to 2023. Only a small percentage of those cases are anomalies that can’t be explained, he said.

Most of the UAP share some traits, Kirkpatrick said. They tend to be round, measuring 1 to 4 meters across. They can travel at supersonic speed or be stationary, and don’t have any visible propulsion mechanisms.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has established a separate panel tasked with reviewing nonclassified data on UAPs. The team plans to issue a report on its findings this summer.

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