Congress held a public hearing on UFOs on Tuesday to discuss the various sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). Unfortunately, those hoping for details will be disappointed: it ended with few answers on the unexplained events.
The incidents that were discussed in the hearing, the number of which have been steadily increasing since the beginning of the decade, involved mostly United States Navy pilots and other personnel who managed to capture high definition video and radar telemetry on the UAP objects.
However, due to the stigma that can attach itself to a report and damage pilots’ careers, those involved have traditionally been reluctant to come forward and report the incidents.
This week’s much-hyped congressional hearing on recent incidents offered several video examples of incidents involving UAP violating military training areas, causing a threat to the safety of personnel who traditionally “train like they fight.”
During the hearing at the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, a top Pentagon official said that through “rigorous” analysis, most — but not all — UAPs can be identified.
Video footage of encounters with Navy F18 pilots was leaked by Luiz Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a now defunct Pentagon agency tasked with identifying and investigating the alien phenomenon. The program was defunded in 2012, but elements of it continued on under the auspices of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG).
Those videos created quite a stir, especially after being revealed by the NY Times and appearing on several cable television specials, and prompting the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to order a comprehensive review of all UFO/UAP incidents, and issue a report, which was declassified last year.
In the nine-page report, the DNI was able to identify 144 UAP incidents but was only able to explain one. Conclusions reached, however, were that the UAP phenomenon was real, but that there wasn’t much concrete evidence on what the UAP was or its intentions.
Based on the data, though, The Pentagon authorized the creation of a new task force to continue studying the UAP phenomenon, and this new department became known as the UAP Task Force.
Announcing that the task force is now defunct and is being replaced by a third task force, simply known as the UAP Task Force. To date, the UAPTF has investigated over 400 incidents, and Bray stated that they are becoming “frequent” and “increasing,” but stopped short of offering any firm conclusions. He did, however, show a pair of video clips that seemed to indicate that some of the incidents recorded by personnel can be explained by the limitations of technology.
The video shown by Bray, was of a triangular UAP, viewed through night-vision goggles and recorded on a digital SLR. The combination of light passing through both devices, Bray said, caused the triangular shape to appear while the camera was recording.
But Bray also showed another brief, daylight clip taken from a US Navy aircraft, that showed a UAP but only for a brief moment of a few frames. To that, Bray stated that there wasn’t enough high-definition data but that he was reasonably confident that the UAP may have been a drone flying illegally within the military area of operations.
Bray also warned that not all information collected by the task force would be released to the public, since the manner in which the information was collected involved confidential means or technologies that the U.S. military has developed that are still classified.
“We do not want potential adversaries to know exactly what we are able to see or understand or how we come to a conclusion,” Bray says. “Our goal is to strike that delicate balance, one that enables us to maintain the public’s trust while preserving those capabilities that are vital to the support of our service personnel.”
As if to underscore that kind of reluctance, when pressed about reports of nearly a dozen US ICBMs being rendered non-operational during a UAP encounter, Bray brushed the query aside saying “that data is not within the holdings of the UAP Task Force.”
All told, the day-long testimony offered little in the way of answers to the UAP/UFO phenomenon but did offer a positive step forward, with the Deputy of DNI saying that the goal of the new task force will be to transition from an “anecdotal or narrative-based approach to a rigorous science and technology or engineering-focused study.”
In doing so, the hope is that stigma of reporting the phenomenon will be reduced, while reports in fact will be encouraged, so the Pentagon can investigate.