Some also came dangerously close to US planes, Bray said. “We didn’t have a collision. However, we’ve had at least 11 near misses,” he told Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthia Democrat from Illinois.
The updated numbers, which also include some recent historic cases, are more than double those reported a preliminary report to Congress last June, which identified 144 UAPs, including 18 that maneuvered in ways that appeared to defy known aerodynamics.
The details came in a rare public session that urged top US intelligence officials to reveal what they know about the top-secret and controversial mystery. The hearing looked at widespread conspiracies that the government has obtained material from downed UFOs (they said they didn’t) and whether it has investigated high-profile UFO cases, such as one that reportedly dropped nuclear missiles in Montana decades ago switched off (they didn’t do it). and promised to take care of it).
The hearing came amid an internal feud over how much should be shared with the public and as lawmakers have criticized the intelligence agencies for not being very forthcoming about what they have learned so far.
Ronald Moultrie, DoD’s undersecretary for intelligence, vowed to use “rigorous scientific analysis” to investigate the origin of UAPs by the recently established Pentagons Synchronization group to identify and manage air objects.
“A methodical approach is something we’re doing that’s never been done before,” he said.
At the request of the Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Andrew Carson (D-Ind.) If the Pentagon follows the facts wherever they may lead, Moultrie replied, “We are open to any hypotheses, we are open to any conclusions that we might encounter.”
He also detailed his own curiosity about the unknown and the potential ramifications of solving some of the UAP mysteries, including a light-hearted revelation that he has attended science fiction conventions.
“I enjoy the challenge of what may be out there,” Moultrie said. “I followed science fiction. I even went to conventions. I put it on record. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t necessarily disguise yourself, but I think it’s important to show that the Department of Defense … we have character and we’re people like you, just like the American people.”
“We have our curiosity, we have our questions,” he added.
One of the more unusual moments in the hearing was when the witnesses played to the committee cockpit video, taken over a military training area, showing a spherical vehicle rushing by in broad daylight.
“I have no explanation as to what this particular object is,” Bray told the panel.
Asked by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the entire committee, Bray refused to respond publicly when data about the vehicle was collected from multiple sensors — rather than just video — and deferred to a subsequent secret meeting.
“I think that would be dealt with more appropriately in a closed session,” he said.
But he pointed out that the video footage wasn’t the only evidence. “In this case, at least we have that,” he said.
Moultrie also said military and intelligence sensors are often unable to collect enough data. “Sometimes it’s very ephemeral data that we have on some of these objects,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s calibrated for things of this type and size, things of this speed.”
Moultrie also deferred to the confidential session when he was told by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark) when sensors have detected UAPs underwater or submerged.
“We don’t have any supplies”
And the panel members didn’t shy away from pushing the witnesses to some of the more controversial theories and claims.
“Are we holding organic or inorganic materials that we don’t know about now?” asked Rep. Jim Himesa Democrat from Connecticut.
“When it comes to material that we have, we don’t have material,” Bray replied.
representative Mike Gallagherwho is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, led Moultrie to say on record that he was not aware of any official UFO research effort between the Air Force’s Project Blue Book, which was discontinued in 1969, and the short-lived Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was set up in 2007.
Moultrie also told Gallagher that he was not aware of any specific programs to study UAP technology outside of the current effort.
“I’m not aware of any contractual programs focused on anything related to this other than what we’re doing in the … task force and what we’re about to launch in terms of our efforts,” he said.
“We’re not aware of anything outside of what we’re doing in the UAP Task Force,” Bray added.
Gallagher also asked about a high quality report a “glowing red orb” reportedly observed over Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, “in which 10 of our nuclear ICBMs were rendered inoperable.”
“I’ve heard stories, I haven’t seen any official data on it,” Bray replied.
“I want you to look at this,” Gallagher said.
“We’ll go back and take a look,” agreed Bray.
Gallagher also entered a copy of it into the record unconfirmed meeting notes from 2002 dubbed “Admiral Wilson’s memo” and purporting to reveal government officials and contractors discussing how they were prevented from accessing information about downed UFO footage.
The claims were hotly debated among ufologists but never confirmed. One of the people cited in the document, Eric Davis, who is now the senior project engineer at the federally funded Aerospace Corp. has declined several interview requests from POLITICO.
Moultrie and Bray said they were unfamiliar with the document.
“To draw some conclusions”
Bray explained the evolving process for creating and analyzing UAP reports.
First, he said, “it goes down the operational chain of command … and also to the UAP task force so they take that data, store it in a database, and often people from the task force can contact the airman and ask additional questions, if there are things that were not clear in the report.”
Second, “The thing goes into a database where we can compare it to other observations that we have — again, comparisons by location, comparisons by heights, speeds, shapes, if any [radio frequency] emissions]were detected by the platform…so we can try to draw some conclusions about that,” he added.
In his prepared testimonyMoultrie claimed that “it is the Department’s claim that by combining appropriately structured collected data with rigorous scientific analysis, it is likely that every object we encounter can be isolated, characterized, identified and, if necessary, mitigated.”
This includes whether the reports can be explained by possible technological breakthroughs by allies or adversaries, secret US vehicles or “commercial platforms” or “natural or other phenomena”.
Moultrie also offered the committee a rather limited definition of “unexplained aerial phenomena,” the government’s term for UFOs.
He described them as “flying objects which, when encountered, cannot be immediately identified”. The hearing did not address reports of vehicles appearing to be moving to and from the sea, into the air and into space.
Moultrie also acknowledged that the “cultural stigma” surrounding UFOs is crippling efforts to explain the phenomenon by preventing witnesses from coming forward.
“Our goal is to remove that stigma by fully involving our operators and mission staff in a standardized data collection process,” he said at the opening of the hearing. “We believe making EAP reporting a must-have will be critical to the success of this effort.
But panel members also sounded wary that the department will proceed without more aggressive oversight.
“You must show Congress and the American public, whose imaginations you have inspired, that you are willing to follow facts wherever they lead,” Carson told witnesses. “I fear sometimes that the Department of Defense is more focused on highlighting what it can explain and not examining what it can’t.”
Carson also hinted that more hearings are forthcoming. “The last time Congress had a hearing on EAPs was half a century ago,” he said. “I hope it won’t be 50 years before Congress holds another one. Because transparency is urgently needed.”
Schiff added, “It is also the responsibility of … government and this body to share as much as possible with the American people — since excessive secrecy breeds only suspicion and speculation.”
“Fake Pursuits and Chases”
Regarding how much to share with the public, Moultrie said, DoD “is fully committed to the principles of openness and accountability to the American people. However, we are also aware of our obligation to protect sensitive sources and methods.”
“Our goal,” he added, “is to find that delicate balance — one that allows us to maintain public trust while preserving the skills that are critical to supporting our service personnel.”
But that doesn’t mean chasing down every UFO report, Moultrie said, claiming the military and intelligence community need to focus on what could be a real security or air safety threat.
“One of the concerns we have is that there are many individuals and groups that are posting information that could be viewed as somewhat self-serving,” Moultrie told Rep. Darin LaHooda Republican from Illinois.
“Anything that distracts us from what we have with the resources allocated,” he continued, distracts national security agencies “from false pursuits and hunts that are just not helpful.” They are also helping to erode the confidence of Congress and the American people that we are trying to get to the root cause of what is happening here.”
But he also insisted the ministry wants to share as much as possible with other organizations inside and outside government.
“What we don’t want to do is put something in a DoD database for a DoD holding company and then have so many wraps around it that it’s not available to those who really need to look at it to take advantage of it,” said Moultrie.
That means you have to rely on the help of other government agencies when collecting data that is beyond the expertise of military or intelligence experts.
For example, Moultrie said “if it’s a weather phenomenology,” the Pentagon would turn to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “If it is a potential for extraterrestrial life or an indication of extraterrestrial life [it would coordinate] with someone like NASA.”