A House subcommittee will be holding the first open congressional hearing on unidentified aerial objects after over half a century. The subcommittee is expected to hear testimonies from two defense intelligence officials.
144 sightings reported since 2004
The hearing comes after Congress requested the release of a report on unidentified aerial phenomena in June 2021. The Preliminary Assessment report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence spanned nine pages and detailed 144 incidents from 2004. Only one of those incidents had a logical explanation.
That said, the report did not draw any inferences since the data was “largely inconclusive.” The report noted that limited and inconsistent data made it challenging for experts to evaluate the phenomena. However, it stated that most of the reported phenomena did, in fact, “represent physical objects.”
Hearing to focus on national security and flight safety concerns
The hearing will focus on the work of experts in the Pentagon, who are following up on flight safety and national security questions that were raised in the report.
Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and counterproliferation, said, “Since this is an area of high public interest, any undue secrecy can serve as an obstacle to solving the mystery, or it could prevent us from finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities.”
He continued, “This hearing is about examining steps that the Pentagon can take to reduce the stigma surrounding reporting by military pilots, and by civilian pilots. The federal government and intelligence community have a critical role to play in contextualizing and analyzing reports.”
Congress sets up a hearing on UFOs after over 50 years
Congress has not had an open hearing on unidentified aerial objects since the Air Force closed a very public investigation in the early 1970s. The investigation was called ‘Project Blue Book.’
In 1966, Gerald Ford, a minority leader from the state of Michigan, set up a hearing in response to multiple reports of unidentified flying objects. But the Air Force explained that the sightings were caused due to “swamp gas.” Ford retorted that the Air Force’s explanation was flippant.
Two years later, Congress had another hearing in which scientists presented papers and called for the continued study of UFOs. But the Air Force still maintained that no unidentified flying object had threatened national security. The Air Force then concluded that no further investigation was necessary.
However, in recent years, intelligence reports by officials have cited national security threats from UFOs. Rep. Carson said, “I’ve gotten some chuckles, but it’s something I’m passionate about and I think I can take the heat. This may be the very thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together, at least for an hour or two.”