Mon. Mar 4th, 2024


Two former U.S. Navy fighter pilots said they have seen “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” or UAP, a phrase the federal government uses to refer to what are commonly known as UFOs.

One of the pilots testified that encounters with aircraft of a nonhuman origin are common among military aircrews and commercial pilots.

A former intelligence official also testified at the hearing that he believes the U.S. government has hidden from the public that it possesses aircraft of a nonhuman origin.

Wednesday’s hearing, by a House Oversight subcommittee, is Congress’s latest push for transparency around UAP, which have long fascinated the public. The federal government has begun disclosing some information about UAP. It has set up task forces to investigate the phenomena and plans to release more findings.

“The lack of transparency regarding UAPs has fueled wild speculation and debate for decades, eroding public trust in the very institutions that are meant to serve and protect them,” said Rep. Glenn Grothman, (R., Wis.). “There lies a pressing demand for government transparency and accountability that cannot be overlooked, and that’s been a problem that’s been around for 50 years.”

“We’re bringing in credible witnesses who can provide public testimony because the American people deserve the truth,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R., Tenn.)

Witness David Grusch, a former member of a U.S. Air Force panel on UAP, has said the federal government has withheld information about the recoveries of aircraft of nonhuman origin from Congress and the public.

Grusch told lawmakers Wednesday that during the course of his work with a UAP task force, he was informed of a UAP crash-retrieval and reverse-engineering program that had existed for decades. When he tried to learn more about that program, he was denied access, he said. He reported what he learned to his superiors and to multiple inspectors general, he said.

Grusch said he believes the U.S. government is in possession of UAP based on interviewing 40 witnesses over four years.

The Pentagon’s UAP task force, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, hasn’t been able to substantiate claims that any federal programs have possessed or reverse-engineered extraterrestrial materials, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense said.

“The Department is fully committed to openness and accountability to the American people, which it must balance with its obligation to protect sensitive information, sources, and methods,” the spokesperson said.

The other two witnesses are former U.S. Navy fighter pilots Ryan Graves, executive director of the UAP-focused advocacy group Americans for Safe Aerospace, and retired Cmdr. David Fravor.

“These sightings are not rare or isolated,” said Graves, who served in the Navy for over a decade. “Military aircrews and commercial pilots, trained observers whose lives depend on accurate identification, are frequently witnessing these phenomena.”

Graves said his aircrew saw UAP during a training exercise off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. Two jets encountered “a dark gray or black cube inside of a clear sphere” and the object came within 50 feet of the lead aircraft, he said. It was estimated to be 5 to 15 feet in diameter, he said.

The mission was terminated, Graves said. The squadron submitted a safety report, but there was no official acknowledgment of the incident, he said.

The encounters with UAP became so common that the aircrew would discuss the risk of the objects during preflight briefings, Graves said.

Fravor’s testimony included his account of witnessing UAP in 2004 off the coast of San Diego. Fravor had been directed to inspect an object, and was told by the mission’s air controller that these objects had been observed for over two weeks coming down from over 80,000 feet and rapidly descending down to 20,000 feet, hanging there for hours and then going straight back up.

Fravor said he saw a small white object that looked like a Tic Tac and had no rotors or wings. It was “moving very abruptly over the white water, like a ping-pong ball,” he said.

Fravor flew his aircraft closer to get a better view of the UAP, and “it rapidly accelerated and disappeared,” he said.

The air controller informed him that the object was now about 60 miles away, traveling that distance in less than a minute, Fravor said.

Provisions in the Senate’s version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act would require federal agencies to hand over records related to UAP to a panel with the power to declassify them. The provisions have bipartisan support.

Federal officials have begun releasing some information about UAP. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report in 2021 that reviewed dozens of reports of mysterious flying objects between 2004 and 2021. The report found several examples of objects that lacked visible forms of propulsion or that appeared to use technology beyond the known capabilities of the U.S. or its adversaries.

U.S. defense officials released videos of such objects last year during the first Congressional hearing on the subject in more than half a century. One video, taken from the cockpit of an aircraft, showed a spherical object flying to the right of the aircraft. Military officials were unable to explain what the object was.

Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, said in public testimony in May his office is studying about 800 cases of UAP reported from 1996 to 2023. Only a small percentage of those cases are anomalies that can’t be explained, he said.

Most of the UAP share some traits, Kirkpatrick said. They tend to be round, measuring 1 to 4 meters across. They can travel at supersonic speed or be stationary, and don’t have any visible propulsion mechanisms.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has established a separate panel tasked with reviewing nonclassified data on UAP. The team plans to issue a report on its findings this summer.



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