News and Commentary

Close Encounter Of The Congressional Kind

Is the truth out there? Congress wants to know and for the first time in 50 years a hearing on Capitol Hill took place last week to investigate UFOs. Well, sort of. 

A House Intelligence subcommittee welcomed Department of Defense official Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray to unearth secrets that our government may or may not have about unearthly visitors. The results were mixed.

While there were no bombshells regarding close encounters, there was an acknowledgement from the Pentagon officials that videos of flying objects do exist which our best and brightest simply have no reasonable explanation for. Bray testified that sightings of UAP, the technical term for UFOs, are “frequent and continuing.” He cited 400 incidents that his stargazing task force is studying.

The committee was shown several videos, taken by military pilots, of objects in the air performing maneuvers beyond what we believe to be current human or modern aircraft capabilities. Bray explained that when these incidents occur and are investigated they fall into a few different categories, some are foreign military objects, some debris, others a natural phenomenon, and then finally, those that fit into none of these are classified as unexplained, and as possible “scientific discoveries.”

Careful though the language was—little green men and warp signatures were not mentioned—it was significant for top officials to even entertain the idea of non terrestrial origin for the increasing parade of videos that perplex the task force. Although in one instance, Bray was able to show the committee how the Navy, through detective work, sometimes comes to explain the unexplainable. 

The committee was shown a night vision video of triangular objects darting around the sky in ways that could not be explained. It looked like a dark green version of Space Invaders. But then the committee was shown a second video, taken later in a different location with these same three sided objects. This second time though, more sensors were in the area. And eventually with that data, the task force discovered that these were normal drones which through the night vision and camera technology had been pictured as triangular. Camera tricks strike again.

Both Bray and Moultrie explained that the surge in sightings lately is largely owing to an effort in the military to remove any stigma from making reports about UAP. One can easily understand why a military pilot might be reticent to announce that they think they might have just seen a flying saucer, but in fact, that is exactly what the Pentagon is insisting on, and for good reasons that go far beyond, well, the far beyond.

In fact, the main purpose of the UAP Task Force is not to search for aliens, but to ascertain potential threats, including most importantly foreign technology that may be in advance of anything the United States has or knows about. 

As Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), the chairman of the subcommittee put it, “UAP’s are unexplained, it’s true. But they are real. They need to be investigated. And any threats they pose must be mitigated.”

Amid the often vague testimony during the hearing, Bray did clarify a point that will interest the aspiring Fox Moulders and Dana Scullys of the world. Asked if the United States is in possession of any materials of a non terrestrial origin the official was blunt, saying, “We do not.” But for those who still want to believe, or storm Roswell, New Mexico, it’s important to point out that Bray could only speak for his task force, not for other potentially shadowy elements of the government.

The overall tone of the hearing was unique and at times almost comical, as if the members of the committee could scarcely believe it was happening. Among other things we learned that Moultrie, along with being a top DOD official also is a sci-fi fan who attends conventions. He stated he doesn’t “necessarily dress up.” Just another mystery we didn’t get answers to.

This was a case where the most important thing about the hearing was the hearing itself. The ice has now been broken for more in depth investigation from Congress into UAP and the possibility of other worldly visitors. We will not have to wait another 50 years for the next set of questions from our representatives about mysterious objects in the sky. This is now an issue that at least in part will play out in public. The truth might be out there, but for now, all we can do is wait and see.

David Marcus is a writer and theater artist based in Brooklyn, NY. 

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