For the first time in 50 years, the federal government is publicly talking about unidentified flying objects.
On June 24, 1947, a man named Kenneth Arnold reported a series of bright flashes of light speeding across the sky — the first UFO sighting that would capture the national attention. A full 75 years after that sighting, the government is ready to talk. On Tuesday, the U.S. Congress held its first public hearing about unidentified flying objects in more than 50 years and laid out some of the modern encounters with these unexplainable flyers.
The House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee welcomed two officials from the Pentagon who spoke on what the government calls “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP), because the government has to come up with its own terms for things so it can feel like it’s doing something. Ronald Moultrie, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security and Scott Bray, the deputy director of naval intelligence, shared insight into what the government has spotted in the sky over the last half-century and what we know — which is shockingly little!
During the hearing, the intelligence officials shared with the committee several images of unexplained objects in the sky. One was of a spherical object caught on camera by an FA-18 fighter jet; another was a video of glowing green pyramids that are now believed to be drones. Both clips appear to be ones that were first made public by an organization founded by Tom DeLonge, the lead vocalist of Blink-182. Somehow, in a story about UFOs and aliens, this might be the weirdest detail: DeLonge has been working on UFO research for nearly a decade, and his efforts are a large part of why the hearing happened.
During the hearing, Bray told the committee that “reports of sightings are frequent and continuing,” and the government is working to identify these sightings as best they can. Still, they’re being pretty secretive about the whole thing. “We do not want potential adversaries to know exactly what we’re able to see or understand or how we come to the conclusion,” Bray told committee members during the public part of the hearing. “Therefore, disclosures must be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.”
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding many of these so-called UAPs — so much so that at one point, when asked about a specific sighting, Bray responded, “I do not have an explanation,” which is a pretty wild thing to hear from an official working at an intelligence agency. But it’s clear that some of the politicians in charge of investigating these UFOs aren’t messing around. Rep. André Carson, a Democrat from Indiana, described these unknown objects in our skies as “a potential national security threat.” So, watch out for us to open fire on an alien craft and start the War of the Worlds in the near future.