UFOs Described at Congressional Hearing as Potential National Security Threat
WASHINGTON — Defense intelligence officials told a congressional panel Tuesday that sightings of “unidentified aerial phenomena” are increasing but they could not explain why.
They don’t know where they come from or how the ultra-fast flying discs stay in the air.
Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray showed members of the House intelligence subcommittee video of one of the objects zooming past an F-18 fighter jet.
“I do not have an explanation for what this specific object is,” Bray said.
In the first congressional hearing on unidentified flying objects in a half-century, lawmakers were mostly concerned UFOs represent a breakthrough technology that so far eludes the United States.
They downplayed the notion the aircraft were “alien,” from other planets, instead focusing on the need for better information gathering about them.
“The data we have doesn’t point us to an explanation,” Bray said.
The mystery described by Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., was more ominous.
“Unidentified aerial phenomena are a potential national security threat and they need to be treated that way,” said Carson, who chairs the House intelligence subcommittee.
They never have been studied seriously because of a stigma associated with them, namely that the persons who claimed to have seen them were crackpots, Carson and the Defense Department officials said.
“Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did,” Carson said.
For similar reasons, the Defense Department “relegated it to a back room,” he said.
As the technology for monitoring them has improved, they have moved from uncorroborated sightings of strange lights in the sky to phenomena that can be recorded and viewed on television or online.
Last year, the Defense Department’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report describing 144 credible sightings between 2004 and 2021 of aircraft with unusual shapes flying faster than any conventional aircraft, often on trajectories that dart quickly with sharp turns.
The Defense Department witnesses at the hearing showed several videos of the sightings, some with radio discussion among Air Force pilots expressing amazement at the unexplained aircraft.
Undersecretary of Defense Ronald Moultrie said, “We are committed to a focused effort to determine their origins.”
The Defense Department is taking the lead in the effort but seeks more input from NASA and civil aviation pilots. The department is developing a standardized system for reporting the phenomena.
Lawmakers at the hearing were primarily concerned the aircraft might represent an undisclosed spying threat from Russia or China.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., said the investigations were not “about finding alien spacecraft but about delivering dominant intelligence.”
“The inability to understand objects in our sensitive operating areas is tantamount to [an] intelligence failure that we certainly want to avoid,” he said.