Congress dives into UFOs, but no sign of aliens | News, Sports, Jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress held its first hearing in half a century Tuesday on unidentified flying objects. And no, there is still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life.
Testifying before a House intelligence subcommittee, Pentagon officials did not release additional information about their ongoing investigation into hundreds of unexplained sightings in the sky. But they said they had chosen a director for a new task force to coordinate efforts to collect data on what the government has officially called “unidentified aerial phenomena”.
Ronald Moultrie, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said the Pentagon is also trying to de-stigmatize the issue and encourage pilots and other service members to report anything unusual they see.
“We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there,” Moultrie told lawmakers, adding that he was a science fiction fan himself. “We get questions not only from you. We get it from family and we get it night and day.
Lawmakers from both parties say UFOs are a national security issue. Sightings of what appear to be planes flying without discernible means of propulsion have been reported near military bases and coastlines, suggesting witnesses have spotted undiscovered or secret Chinese or Russian technology.
But observations are usually fleeting. Some only appear in front of the camera for a moment, then sometimes end up being distorted by the camera lens. The US government is believed to have additional technical information about the sightings that it has not released publicly.
An interim report released by intelligence officials last year counted 144 sightings of planes or other devices apparently flying at mysterious speeds or trajectories. In all but one of the sightings investigated, there was too little information for investigators to even broadly characterize the nature of the incident.
A senior Pentagon official briefly demonstrated the challenge on Tuesday. Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, stood next to a television to show a short video taken from an F-18 military aircraft. The video shows a blue sky with passing clouds. In one image – it took several minutes for staff in the room to queue – there is an image of a balloon-like shape.
“As you can see, finding the UAP is harder than you think,” Bray said, using the acronym for “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Representative Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat who presided over the hearing, called on investigators to show they “are prepared to follow the facts where they lead.”
Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from Arkansas, noted that the investigations were not “to find alien spacecraft but to provide dominant intelligence.”
“Failure to understand objects in our sensitive areas of operations amounts to an intelligence failure that we certainly want to avoid,” he said.