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In first UFO hearing in 50 years, Pentagon says unexplained reports are on the rise – TechCrunch

An unusual congressional hearing posed unusual questions to government officials on Tuesday, marking the first congressional hearing on UFOs – now called UAPs or “unidentified aerial phenomena” – in half a century.

The House Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation held the question-and-answer session, hosting two Pentagon officials in a rare public discussion on one of the most most controversial and conspiratorial that intersects with the federal government.

“UAPs are unexplained; it’s true,” Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, chairman of the subcommittee, observed in his opening remarks. “But they are real. They must be investigated and many of the threats they pose must be mitigated.

During the hearing, US Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray shared declassified video of an unidentified sphere-shaped reflective object being “zoomed” by a pilot flying into a training area of ​​the marine, visible only for a few short frames. This clip can be seen around 46:40 in the video embedded below.

“I don’t have an explanation of what this specific object is,” Bray said of the recording.

The open discussion was followed by a confidential hearing where Pentagon officials were able to discuss the technical specifics of how the U.S. military collects UAP data.

During the open session, officials took the opportunity to throw cold water on a popular conspiracy: that the US military secretly has evidence of crashed planes that did not originate on Earth. In response to a question about the mysterious wreckage from Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bray said the military has no material that “is not explainable, that is not consistent with an origin earthly”.

“We don’t have any material,” Bray said in response to another question about inexplicable evidence. “We have not detected any fumes within the UAP working group that would suggest this is anything of non-Earthly origin.”

The Department of Defense has created a dedicated task force to investigate UAPs in 2020, an important step in the government’s recent efforts to be more transparent on a topic it once refused to discuss outright. The task force describes its mission as an effort to “detect, analyze, and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to the national security of the United States.”

The Pentagon’s UAP Task Force maintains a database of unexplained aerial sighting reports and Bray noted that it now contains 400 reports, up from 143 less than a year ago.

During the hearing, Pentagon officials and lawmakers worked to legitimize discussions of UAPs, encouraging those in the military who observe such phenomena to come forward. “Reports of sightings are frequent and ongoing,” Bray said. “…The stigma has been reduced.”

Tuesday’s hearing provided little material for the more exotic and extraplanetary explanations that UFO devotees like to speculate about, pushing the conversation into more grounded territory regarding national defense.

One possible explanation – still considered a long shot – is that some UAPs observed by US service members could be hypersonic technology from US adversaries like China and Russia designed to spy on military activities. If this theory is ever confirmed, it would indicate that other nations have advanced technological capabilities that far exceed those of the US military in some respects.

But, unfortunately for true believers, more mundane explanations are still in play. These include errant weather balloons and visual distortions produced in the equipment used to record the mysterious images.

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