UFO Hearing: Pentagon shows declassified photos and video, clip of unexplainable floating object
Congress is holding first congressional hearing on UFOs in 50 years
The Pentagon Tuesday showcased declassified photos and video of UFOs to Congress – including a flying object without a “specific” explanation” – as lawmakers pressed military officials on the mysterious sightings.
In one brief and shaky video, a small object appeared to zip past a military pilot. In a separate video and a similar photo taken at a different time, glowing triangles are seeing in the night sky.
The visuals were shown during testimony from Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie.
Bray, as he presented the images and videos, said the video and photo of the glowing triangles remained unresolved for some time, but was eventually identified as unmanned aerial vehicles.
But he said the military does not know what the object in the first video could be.
“I do not have an explanation for what this specific object is,” Bray said in an exchange with Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Bray continued to emphasize that many UAP reports have a “limited amount of high quality data and reporting” which “hampers the ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature and intent of UAP.”
Bray also said Tuesday that there have been at least 11 “near misses” between U.S. military aircraft and UAP. He also said the U.S. military hasn’t tried to communicate with UAP, including the unexplained object in the video shown earlier in the hearing which “may or may not be in controlled flight.”
The presentation happened in a House Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee Tuesday. It was the first congressional UFO hearing in a generation.
Lawmakers are warning that although there is still a stigma associated with UFOs, which the government officially calls Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), they are a serious national security threat.
“Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are a potential national security threat. And they need to be treated that way,” subcommittee Chairman Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” Carson added. “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.”
A 2021 report – a redacted classified version of which was published by The Black Vault earlier this year – said the government recorded 144 reports from 2004 to 2021, including 80 that “involved observation with multiple sensors.” The report also included information on “common shapes” of the UAPs, although the entire sections on the shapes are redacted.
The government has said that UAP “probably lack a single explanation.” Neither classified nor unclassified reports from the government so far rule out space aliens. But other possible explanations are “airborne clutter” like birds and balloons, “natural atmospheric phenomena,” like ice crystals, highly classified U.S. government programs, or “foreign adversary systems” from Russia, China or other countries.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., the subcommittee co-chairman, Tuesday
“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. “The intelligence community must balance addressing known threats to our nation’s security with preventing technical surprise.”
It’s now clear how much detail Moultrie and Bray will be able to share during the open hearing Tuesday. But there will be a separate classified briefing for committee members after the hearing.
Neither Moultrie’s not Bray’s opening statements described the specific nature of UAP. But they highlighted the department’s commitment to determining origins.
“We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena, and because UAP pose potential flight safety and general security risk, we are committed to a focused effort to determine their origins,” Moultrie said.
“We also spend considerable efforts engaging directly with our naval aviators building relationships to help destigmatize the act of reporting sightings or encounters,” Bray said.
Aliens not ruled out as being behind recent UFO sightings
A classified government report on “Unexplained Aerial Phenomena” shows the U.S. is investigating the shapes of objects sometimes seen by military pilots, and reveals details of the plan to investigate them.
A highly redacted version of the report, provided to Congress last June, was published this week by Freedom of Information Act activist John Greenewald on his website The Black Vault.
A shorter public version of the report was published around the same by the director of national intelligence (DNI). The longer declassified version published by The Black Vault closely mirrors that report but with additional specific details, especially about the shapes of the “Unexplained Aerial Phenomena” (UAP).
“The most common shape described by military personnel in their reporting was a [redacted],” one part of the classified report published by The Black Vault reads. “Military aviators described many of these [redacted] objects as [redacted] or that [redacted]. Several sightings were [redacted] and resembled [redacted] shapes like a [redacted] or a [redacted].”
The phenomena long have been publicly reported, including as early as 2019 by The New York Times. In a 2019 story, the Times reported U.S. Navy pilots have been seeing these objects for years, with an especially high rate of sightings on the East Coast between 2014 and 2015.
The 2021 report by the DNI said the government recorded 144 reports from 2004 to 2021, including 80 that “involved observation with multiple sensors.”
The classified version published by The Black Vault also reveals further details about the nature of the reports.
“In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics,” it says. “Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly or move at considerable speed without discernable means of propulsion. In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings.”
The most heavily redacted parts of the report published by The Black Vault are from pages and sections that do not appear on the initial unclassified version at all. Those include sections about “common shapes” and “less common/irregular shapes” reported by observers of the phenomena. The entire sections about the shapes are redacted.
The government has said that UAP “probably lack a single explanation,” but that it classifies them into five categories. Those are “airborne clutter,” including birds and balloons; “natural atmospheric phenomena,” including ice crystals or thermal fluctuations; “USG or industry developmental programs,” meaning “classified programs by U.S. entities;” and “foreign adversary systems,” from Russia, China or other countries. There’s also a final catch-all “other” category which the government says “we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize.”
Neither the classified nor unclassified reports rule out aliens.
The classified report published by The Black Vault includes what appears to be descriptions of multiple UAP instances reported by Navy pilots, though the details are heavily redacted. It also says that the federal Unexplained Aerial Phenomena Task Force (USATF) plans to “leverage” data sharing of non-military departments in the federal government to learn more about the phenomena.
The report published by The Black Vault also includes a section on the “Geospatial Intelligence,” “Signals Intelligence,” “Human Intelligence,” and “Measurement and Signature Intelligence,” used to observe the phenomena. The details in that section are also heavily redacted.
Another appendix in the report published by The Black Vault reveals that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its resources could be useful in learning more about the UAP.
“Given the national security implications associated with potential threats posed by UAP operating in close proximity to sensitive military activities, installations, critical infrastructure, or other national security sites, the FBI is positioned to use its investigative capabilities and authorities to support deliberate DoD and interagency efforts to determine attribution,” the report said.