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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.
An image of a UFO shown at a House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee Hearing on March 17, 2022. DOD officials said they do not have an explanation for what the object is. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)
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.
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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.”
The presentation happened in a House Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee Tuesday. It was the first congressional UFO hearing in a generation.
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald S. Moultrie testifies before the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee on May 17, 2022, in a hearing on UFOs. (House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee/Youtube)
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.
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“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.”
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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.
UFO seen in clip released by Department of Defense. A Pentagon watchdog is launching a probe into the actions taken by the Department of Defense after a series of UFO sightings in recent years. (Department of Defense)
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.”
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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.