Once fodder for tin-hat wearing conspiracy theorists, extraterrestrials have begun to enter the mainstream and are having a moment in Congress.
Nowhere was that more evident than at a much-anticipated House hearing on Wednesday, during which a whistleblower testified that the U.S. government has recovered biologics from the wreckage of aircraft of “non-human” origin.
David Grusch, a former military and intelligence officer who first went public with his allegations in June, described his evidence of a government cover-up and misinformation campaign to obfuscate the truth about Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, or UAP, the newfangled title for UFOs.
“I was informed in the course of my official duties of a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program,” Grusch told a subpanel of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
“We’re not bringing little green men or flying saucers into the hearing. … We’re just going to get to the facts. We’re going to uncover the cover-up,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., reflecting a tone change in the halls of Congress in recent years as lawmakers have increasingly taken seriously the possibility of extraterrestrials in our airspace.
Until April 2023, Grusch worked at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He said he learned of the secret program based on photographs, official documents and classified oral testimony from “individuals with a long-standing track record of legitimacy and service to this country.”
GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina pressed Grusch, asking him, “If you believe we have crashed craft … do we have the bodies of the pilots who piloted this craft?”
Grusch replied, “As I’ve stated publicly already … biologics came with some of these recoveries, yeah.”
Mace continued, “Were they human or non-human biologics?”
“Non-human,” Grusch replied.
In addition to alleging a cover-up, Grusch accused the government of misappropriating funds to evade congressional oversight and said he was targeted personally and professionally for coming forward.
“Do you have any personal knowledge of people who have been harmed or injured in efforts to cover up or conceal these extraterrestrial technology?” Burchett asked.
“Yes, personally,” responded Grusch.
“Has anyone been murdered that you know of?” Burchett replied.
“I have to be careful [answering] that question. I directed people with that knowledge to the appropriate authorities,” Grusch said.
Grusch was joined by Ryan Graves, a former U.S. fighter pilot who described “routine” interactions with UAP, and David Fravor, a retired Navy commander who recalled an encounter in the early 2000s during a routine training mission over the Pacific.
That incident, described in a 2017 New York Times story that several House Oversight members credited with lending credence to the issue, involved a large, white, oval-shaped aircraft that made erratic, physics-defying moves before jamming the aircraft’s radar.
Graves, meanwhile, recounted a series of sightings of UAP while he was stationed near Virginia Beach in 2014. The sightings became an “open secret” among other pilots and were corroborated by infrared sensors, he said. Those UAP were consistently described as a dark gray or black cube within a clear sphere that could hover motionless against the wind, according to Graves.
“These sightings are not rare or isolated, they are routine,” Graves said. “Military air crew and commercial pilots, trained observers whose lives depend on accurate identification, are frequently witnessing these phenomena. The stigma attached to UAP is real and powerful and challenges national security.”
The hearing is the latest in a series of recent attempts in Congress to shed light on a growing number of mysterious sightings, many of which aren’t easily explained.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced plans to introduce legislation tacked on to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the declassification of government records related to UAP. That legislation comes on the heels of a 2021 report released by the Director of National Intelligence that listed several examples of unexplained objects that appeared to use technology beyond the known capabilities of the U.S. or rival countries.
Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, which was established within the Department of Defense in 2022, said earlier this year that his office is reviewing more than 650 UAP incidents reported by military personnel, although a majority of those could be explained.
And in 2022, Congress held its first public hearing on UAP in half a century, which fueled suspicions among lawmakers that the government had not been forthcoming about its brushes with UFOs.
Witnesses and lawmakers alike stressed the need for a better reporting system for both military and commercial pilots.
Failure to do so could mean that the government does not have a “complete picture of what’s actually going on,” said Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California, who serves as ranking member of the Oversight panel’s National Security, the Border and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.
“You need a centrally located repository that these reports go to,” Fravor said. “I think you need to develop something that allows you a central point to collect the data in order to investigate.”