You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Why Is U.S. Congress Having UFO Hearings?

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/14/2022 Aristos Georgiou

Next Tuesday, Congress will hold a public hearing on UFOs for the first time in more than half a century—but why is this happening now?

The House Intelligence Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation hearing will take place several months after a highly-anticipated government report was published in June last year detailing numerous reports of what officials call "unidentified aerial phenomena" or UAPs.

The report, which was released by the director of national intelligence at the request of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the U.S government had recorded 144 UAP encounters between 2004 and 2021.

The report found that limited data meant the vast majority of the incidents could not be explained and that there could be multiple types of UAPs, which would require different explanations.

The report did not explicitly rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial technology, but it said there could be a variety of potential explanations, including airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, government or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, or "other" reasons.

In 18 incidents, observers reported UAPs with "unusual" movement patterns of flight characteristics that appeared to demonstrate "advanced technology"—potentially "deployed by China, Russia, or another nation or non-government entity."

Later that year, the government passed legislation requiring the military to establish a permanent UAP research office in addition to implementing other measures to monitor and study these incidents.

"The American people expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously evaluate and respond to any potential national security risks—especially those we do not fully understand," the panel chair for the upcoming hearing, Representative André Carson, said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Politico.

"Since coming to Congress, I've been focused on the issue of unidentified aerial phenomena as both a national security threat and an interest of great importance to the American public."

Video: Former director Pentagon unit that studied UFOs speaks out about newly released report (FOX News)

Former director Pentagon unit that studied UFOs speaks out about newly released report

The House committee will hear testimony from Scott Bray, the deputy director of naval intelligence, and Ronald Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security.

The hearing, Carson said, "will give the American people an opportunity to learn what there is to know about these incidents."

A screenshot taken from the GIMBAL video. Department of Defense © Department of Defense A screenshot taken from the GIMBAL video. Department of Defense

Following the publication of the report last year, Carson said in a TV interview with CBS News' Face the Nation that it was "inconclusive."

"There have been nearly 150 sightings. Eighty of the sightings [were] detected with some of the best technology the world has ever seen. We can't rule out something that is otherworldly, but that's a very small percentage," he said.

The hearing next week will be the first to be held by Congress on the issue of UFOS since the Air Force oversaw an investigation called Project Blue Book, which terminated in 1969.

On Tuesday, Representative Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement: "There's still much to learn about unidentified aerial phenomena and the potential risks they may pose to our national security. But one thing is sure—the American people deserve full transparency, and the federal government and Intelligence Community have a critical role to play in contextualizing and analyzing reports of UAPs."

"The purpose of this hearing is to give the public an opportunity to hear directly from subject matter experts and leaders in the intelligence community on one of the greatest mysteries of our time, and to break the cycle of excessive secrecy and speculation with truth and transparency," he said.

Related Articles

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial


More from Newsweek

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon