Officials address ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’

Military takes UFOs seriously at congressional hearing: ‘We want to know what’s out there’

While the first congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years didn’t reveal the existence of extraterrestrial life, it did affirm that the U.S. military is taking sightings of unknown craft seriously as a national security threat.

A House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hearing convened Tuesday morning with a 90-minute public session that was followed by closed-door testimony later in the day.

“Unidentified aerial phenomena [UAPs] are a potential national security threat, and they need to be treated that way,” Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., said at the beginning of the hearing, referring to the preferred technical term for unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” he added. “Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issues to the backroom or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community.

“Today we know better,” Carson continued. “UAPs are unexplained, it’s true, but they are real. They need to be investigated, and any threats they pose need to be mitigated.”

The hearing — the first on the topic since 1966, when congressman and future president Gerald Ford held one after a sighting in Michigan — was less focused on concerns about alien invasion and more on intelligence lapses that could lead to other nations having unknown technology about which the U.S. is not aware. That push included making sure pilots feel comfortable reporting anything they see.

“The intelligence community has a serious duty to our taxpayers to prevent potential adversaries such as China and Russia from surprising us with unforeseen new technologies,” said Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark. “This committee has an obligation to understand what you are doing to determine whether any UAPs are new technologies or not — and if they are, where are they coming from?”

·Senior Writer
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