The hearing, which was chaired by Rep. Andre Carson, evaluated the risks UFOs pose to national security.
"Congress hasn't held a public hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena in over 50 years. That will change when I lead a hearing in House Intelligence on this topic and the national security risk it poses. Americans need to know more about these unexplained occurrences," Carson wrote on Twitter ahead of the May 17 hearing, alongside black and white photos of what looked like mysterious flying objects.
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray were among the witnesses invited to the hearing.
Testifying before the House Intelligence subcommittee, Pentagon officials did not reveal extra information from their ongoing investigation of hundreds of unexplained sightings in the sky. But they said they had chosen a director for a new task force to organize data collection efforts on what the government has officially called UAP.
Moultrie mentioned that the Pentagon was also attempting to destigmatize the issue and urge pilots and other military personnel to report unusual sightings that they see.
"We want to know what's out there as much as you want to know what's out there. We get the questions not just from you. We get it from family and we get them night and day," Moultrie told legislators, adding that he was a science fiction fan himself.
A separate classified hearing took place, which focused on the Pentagon's Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group. According to the Department of Defense, the group's responsibility is to "detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to the safety of flight and national security."
Carson said Americans "expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously evaluate and respond to any potential national security risks – especially those we do not fully understand." The lawmaker noted that since joining Congress, he has been "focused on the issue of unidentified aerial phenomena as both a national security threat and an interest of great importance to the American public."
The hearing follows a nine-page public report released last June 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in connection with a U.S. Navy-led task force that profiled 144 reports of UAP. (Related: Advanced, non-human UFO technology repeatedly observed, documented and filmed by U.S. Navy pilots.)
The reports go back to 2004 and mentioned that 11 of the 144 sightings created "near misses" for military pilots. The 11 "documented instances in which pilots reported near misses with a UAP" were specified as examples of the present "ongoing airspace concerns."
"UAP poses a hazard to safety of flight and could pose a broader danger if some instances represent sophisticated collection against U.S. military activities by a foreign government or demonstrate a breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary," the report said. "UAP clearly poses a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security."
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby in a recent press briefing said the Pentagon is "committed to being as transparent as we can with the American people and with members of Congress about our perspectives" on UAPs and will try to "make sure we have a better process for identifying these phenomena, analyzing that information in a more proactive, coordinated way than it's been done in the past."
Kirby added that the Pentagon will also try to "mitigate any safety issues" that occur since "many of these phenomena" have been seen in training areas and training environments.
The congressional hearing was the first on the matter since the U.S. Air Force canceled the UFO program code-named Project Blue Book in 1969.
In its 17 years of existence, Project Blue Book gathered a record of 12,618 total UFO sightings – 701 of which include objects that officially stayed "unidentified."
The Air Force afterward stated that it found no sign of a national security threat or evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles.
In 1966, almost a decade before he became president, then-Michigan Representative Gerald Ford arranged a hearing in response to loads of witness accounts of strange shining lights and huge football shape objects flying at low altitude around Dexter, Michigan, which an Air Force official had notably explained as "swamp gas."
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This video is from the channel The Sword & Shield on Brighteon.com.