Washington (USA) A subcommittee of the US House of Representatives will soon hold the first public hearing on unidentified flying objects in Congress in more than half a century. The hearing follows the release last June of a report requested by Congress on “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The nine-page “preliminary assessment” by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on 144 incidents dating back to 2004. Only one of them could be cleared up.
The hearing is said to focus on the past findings of a group within the Pentagon that has been looking into the national security issues raised in the UFO report. Ronald S. Moultrie under secretary of defense for intelligence and security and Scott W. Bray the deputy director of the US Navy will be answering the committee’s questions.
The event will also be broadcasted in a livestream. After the public portion, the subcommittee will retire to a closed meeting. Until then, the whole world can watch what the USA has to report about UFO sightings in recent years.
The upcoming hearing is the first public hearing on the UFO phenomenon before the US Congress in more than 50 years. Most recently, in 1966, then-Republican minority leader and later US President Gerald R. Ford organized a public hearing on issues surrounding the then-increasing reports of UFOs. However, the reports, made by more than 40 witnesses (including 12 law enforcement officers), were dismissed as “swamp gas” by the Air Force.
A statement that Ford then called “flippant” and in a letter to congressional committees dated March 28, 1966, stated: “I believe that the American people have a right to a more thorough explanation than those heard here by the Air Force.” Two years later, another hearing was held, in which scientists independent of the Air Force presented their studies on the UFO phenomenon and asked for the official investigation to continue.
However, the Air Force concluded in its final report on Project Bluebook, that no UFO had ever posed a threat to national security, that the objects described had no inexplicable technological properties, and that there was no evidence that the objects are of extraterrestrial origin. Accordingly, it was concluded that no further investigations were necessary and “Project Blue Book” was officially ended.
The new public hearing follows the Pentagon’s “Preliminary Assessment” released last July 2021, in which the US Department of Defense and the US intelligence agencies briefed Congress on UAP and on 144 investigated UFO sightings by US military members since 2004. The “UFO Report” at the time did not come to any official conclusions as to what these phenomena were, as the reporting is “largely inconclusive”.
It had been found that limited and inconsistent data posed a challenge in assessing the phenomena. However, most of the reported UAPs represented physical objects. The assessment further concluded that the objects were not classified US technology and the data also did not indicate any significant technological advancement by a potential US adversary.
The report, presented to Congress last year, was prepared by the intelligence community in conjunction with the “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force”, which the Pentagon replaced last November with the “Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group”. The group’s mission is “to detect, identify and map objects of interest in airspace for special purposes and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to flight safety and national security”.
The hearing now is expected to focus on the Pentagon’s work on national security and aviation safety issues raised by the report. “Because this is an area of high public interest, any undue secrecy can be an obstacle to solving the mystery or preventing us from finding solutions to possible vulnerabilities,” said Congressman André Carson
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff tweeted Tuesday that “the American people deserve full transparency,” and said the hearing “will give the public an opportunity to hear from experts about one of the greatest mysteries of our time”.