Yesterday saw the US government’s first public Congressional hearing on UFOs since 1966. Some new footage of unidentified aerial phenomena (or UAPs as they are officially known) was shown and the hearing highlighted how the US Department of Defense has gathered at least 400 sightings in recent times, including 11 near-collisions.
However, many were disappointed with the lack of hard evidence shared in the hearing with one politician describing it as a “total joke.” It was also clear that lawmakers were not overly concerned with alien spacecraft visiting Earth, but rather that a foreign power may be flying next-generation military technology in US airspace.
The public portion of the congressional hearing, which lasted around an hour and a half, saw top military intelligence officials testify at a Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Tuesday, May 17. After this, a closed and classified briefing was held.
Scott Bray, the deputy director of US naval intelligence, testified that the Pentagon’s task force for tracking unexplained aerial phenomena (UAPs) has collected roughly 400 reports. The intelligence chief noted that there have been an uptick in reports in recent years, which he put down to the growing popularity of drones, improvements in sensor technologies, and a decrease in the stigma surrounding reporting sightings. He also stated that there have been at least 11 near-misses between US military assets and UAP, but no confirmed collisions.
"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,” Democratic Rep. André Carson of Indiana, the chairman of the panel holding the hearing, said in his opening remarks.
"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."
During the hearing, Bray showed two pieces of footage showing UAP sightings that have not been publically broadcasted before. One video, filmed from the cockpit of a Navy aircraft, showed a small reflective spherical object flash past the window.
Lasting just a few seconds, the short video was used to highlight how they often have very poor evidence to accompany UAP sightings. Bray explained that this particular sighting is still unexplained.
Another video (shown around 27 minutes and 20 seconds into the hearing) showed a flashing triangle object flying in the sky through a night-vision camera. Bray explained that the footage remained unexplained for several years, but later transpired that the object was an uncrewed drone.
While most UAP sightings can ultimately be explained, said Bray, there remain a number of incidents that still have no explanation.
Other than this, however, little more was presented at the hearing. Many questions were left unanswered and very few finer details were revealed.
You can watch the full public hearing below.
"That was a frustrating hearing as well as a reminder both of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go," tweeted Christopher K. Mellon, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
“The UFO hearing this morning was a total joke,” Representative Tim Burchett said on Twitter. “We should have heard from people who could talk about things they'd personally seen, but instead the witnesses were government officials with limited knowledge who couldn't give real answers to serious questions.”
When a reporter asked Burchett whether he learned anything from the hearing, he replied: “No, ma'am. I learned that I was correct – that the cover-up will continue.”