For the first time in roughly half a century, a House panel is set to hold a public hearing on the issue of UFOs and the potential threat they might pose to national security.
The House Intelligence Committee's Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation subcommittee is currently convening a hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena (more commonly known in layman's terms as unidentified flying objects or UFOs) that have been observed by military pilots and others over the past couple of decades. The hearing, which is being livestreamed, is set to feature testimony from two Pentagon officials and will be followed by a closed-door classified briefing.
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"This hearing and our oversight work has a simple idea at its core: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are a potential national security threat. And they need to be treated that way," Democratic Rep. André Carson of Indiana, who chairs the panel, said in his opening remarks. "Today, we know better. 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 public hearing comes as part of a greater push by the government and the civilian UFO research community for more transparency when it comes UAPs. Last year saw the release of a massive report that documented 143 instances of unexplained flying objects over restricted military airspace that have taken place throughout the past couple of decades. Investigators disappointingly found no evidence that pointed to signs of alien life or advanced technology being used by a foreign adversary but they also acknowledged that they couldn't entirely rule out the possibility either.
Congress hasn't held a public hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena (UFO's) in over 50 years. That will change next week when I lead a hearing in @HouseIntel on this topic & the national security risk it poses. Americans need to know more about these unexplained occurrences.— Andr\u00e9 Carson (@Andr\u00e9 Carson) 1652189190
The report pushed the Department of Defense to create the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group last November in an effort to better "detect, identify and attribute objects of interest" in order "to assess and mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security."
The renewed interest in UFOs over the past couple of years follows a spate of declassified reports and footage, including a video that was pushed to be released by Blink-182 frontman, Tom DeLonge. Even Barack Obama last year confirmed that "footage and records" of unidentified flying objects do exist, making him one of the highest level government officials ever to acknowledge the fact.
And while the notion of little green men conducting covert surveillance (as unlikely as that probably is) may be the primary reason the topic has captured the public's fancy, its sci-fi connotations also have resulted in many UAP reports being largely dismissed or unaddressed. Judging from the amount of people social media complaining that Congress' time would be better spent the discussing voting rights or gun control, the stigma surrounding UFOs has outshined any valid national security concerns that they might actually pose.
Carson underscored the point, saying "For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis. Pilots avoided reporting, or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the back room, or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community."
Photo via Getty/ Chris Clor