You know things are bad when the government is ready to have an open conversation about UFOs.
For all you “X-Files” fans out there who “want to believe,” the House of Representatives announced a new hearing on UFOs, the first such meeting in more than 50 years.
The hearing, to be convened next Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism, counterintelligence and counterproliferation, is in response to a report requested by Congress last June, according to the New York Times.
The nine-page, “unidentified aerial phenomena” report was completed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and focused on 144 incidents dating back to 2004. Of the 144 incidents, the report only satisfactorily explained one.
Of course, the report did not draw conclusions about the unexplained incidents, saying merely that they are “largely inconclusive.” Also, while insisting that inconsistent data hampered more certain conclusions, the phenomena “do represent physical objects,” the report said.
The report also claimed that neither secret U.S. experimental aircraft nor similar foreign aircraft could be linked to any of the incidents. And the report adds, “We currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary.”
The hearing will reportedly focus on a unit inside the Pentagon that is assessing the national security threats and commercial flight-safety issues of the unexplained incidents. So, the hearing isn’t about UFO’s directly, but about the problems they might cause inside our airspace.
“Since this is an area of high public interest, any undue secrecy can serve as an obstacle to solving the mystery, or it could prevent us from finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities,” committee chairman Democratic Rep. André Carson of Indiana said.
Carson added that there is also another goal.
“This hearing is about examining steps that the Pentagon can take to reduce the stigma surrounding reporting by military pilots and by civilian pilots,” Carson said.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff added that the hearing hopes to highlight “one of the great mysteries of our time and to break the cycle of excessive secrecy and speculation with truth and transparency.”
Two witnesses have been announced. Ronald S. Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, and Scott W. Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence will both appear.
Moultrie is in charge of the group tasked with working to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security.”
This is the first open congressional hearing on the topic of UFOs since 1970 when Congress heard testimony about the Air Force’s Project Blue Book.
Since that time, the U.S. government turned away from using the term UFOs and now prefers to use UAP, or unidentified aerial phenomena. Officials claim that the new sobriquet helps remove the stigma from pilots reporting unexplained incidents.
Whatever is going on in the skies above our nation, unexplained sightings are extremely common and are not merely the venue of wild, late-night radio talk shows and hyperbolic cable TV shows featuring men with impressive fans of hair.
In 2020, ABC News reported that between the U.S. and Canada, people reported 5,971 UFOs during 2019. That was a big jump over the 3,395 reported in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, the big jump in reporting could not be explained. However, the numbers show that UFO reports are not at all uncommon.
Carson says he fully understands that the whole issue is looked upon askance.
“I’ve gotten some chuckles, but it’s something I’m passionate about, and I think I can take the heat,” Mr. Carson said, according to the Times.
“This may be the very thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together, at least for an hour or two.”
Jokes aside, it makes perfect sense to evaluate the possible threats — both to civilian aircraft and our national security — that these unexplained phenomena might present.