Key lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives warned in a hearing on Tuesday that unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), informally called UFOs, must be investigated and considered a potential threat to national security.
The event, which, The Rebel reported last week, marked the first congressional public hearing on unidentified flying objects in decades.
The House intelligence committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism, counterintelligence and counterproliferation is holding a hearing with the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray.
For numerous lawmakers and intelligence officials, the concern with UAPs stems not from alien lifeforms from outer space, but undisclosed new technologies developed by China and Russia. Congress understands that China, Russia, or some other rival nation may be fielding a next-generation technology in American airspace that the U.S. does not know about.
The committee had a bipartisan consensus that UAPs must be treated with seriousness and not dismissed as science fiction.
Rep. Rick Crawford, the top-ranking Republican present at the hearing, said, “aside from all the hype and speculation, there are important underlying issues posed by UAPs.”
“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,” he said. “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?”
“Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are a potential national security threat. And they need to be treated that way,” echoed Rep. Andre Carson.
“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,” he added.
“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,” he said.
Speaking to the panel, Bray showed videos and images to demonstrate what observations of UAPs may look like — and detailed the amount of effort it might take to make a positive identification.
In one video, which showed flashing triangles seen through night-vision goggles, US navy personnel recorded what appeared to be triangles recorded off the coast of the United States.
“This time other U.S. Navy assets also observed unmanned aerial systems nearby and were now reasonably confident that these triangles correlate to unmanned aerial systems in the area,” he said. “I don't mean to suggest that everything that we observe is identifiable," he said, "but this is a great example of how it takes considerable effort to understand what we're seeing in the examples that we are able to collect.”
The testimonials of the experts follows a release last year by the U.S. intelligence community of a report about UAPs seen flying through restricted military airspace for several decades.
The report looked at 144 reports of what the government called “unidentified aerial phenomenon.” Investigators found no evidence the sightings represented were of extraterrestrial or a major technological advancement by a foreign adversary like Russia or China, but acknowledged that the latter is a possible explanation.