Do you believe the government is hiding something?
What about if we asked if you think the government is hiding something about UFOs?
“I believe there is something else out there,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., at a recent press conference. “Dadgumit, whatever the truth may be, we’re done with the cover-up.”
Burchett leads the House’s second big hearing on UFOs in 15 months Wednesday.
Burchett certainly falls into the category of believing the government is hiding something. He says his constituents do, too.
“I’m stopped every weekend back in Knoxville,” said Burchett. “People will stop me and tell me about their experiences (with UFOs). Decorated veterans. Why would they risk their reputations and careers over something that they’re lying about?”
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., is an Air Force veteran who aligns with Burchett when it comes to UFOs.
“If we continue to get stonewalled, if we smell that they’re giving us a bunch of BS, we are going to do the field hearings directly at those locations,” said Luna of the military. “Full transparency really is what we need in this situation.”
Toss Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., into the camp of those who are skeptical about what the government is saying about UFOs – or UAPs as they’re sometimes called. That’s short for unidentified aerial phenomena.
“It is really about getting to greater government transparency,” said Moskowitz. “If the answers are, ‘No, there are no unidentified aerial phenomena,’ then say that. But that’s not what the answers are. The answer are, ‘We can’t tell you.’ And so that leads to speculation.”
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., characterized himself as a UFO skeptic. But he joined with Burchett, Luna and Moskowitz about getting to the truth on UAPs – and shutting off noise and conjecture.
“I don’t give into conspiracies,” said Burlison. “But too often the federal government works outside of the public eye and in conspiracies. Rumors tend to flourish in places where the federal government is silent or not transparent.”
The House Intelligence Committee held the first open hearing in five decades on UFOs last spring. It took some cajoling, but Burchett managed to schedule a House Oversight subcommittee to conduct its hearing on UFOs Wednesday.
Among the witnesses:
Ryan Graves, executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace. Graves was a Navy pilot who flew F/A-18F Super Hornets. He reported multiple sightings during training flights. Graves grew concerned that UAPs posed safety risks to American pilots.
Cmdr. David Fravor is a former Navy aviator. He spotted a UAP during a 2004 training mission. He shot what is known in UFO circles as the “Tic Tac” video. The UAP looked like a flying Tic Tac hard candy.
Then, there is a whistleblower.
David Grusch is a former intelligence officer who saw action in Afghanistan. He led the UAP task force for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Grusch told lawmakers the government may have in its possession pieces of a non-human spacecraft and potentially, the remains of an extra-terrestrial pilot.
“We’re going to have witnesses who can speak frankly to the public about their experiences. We’ve had a heck of a lot of pushback about this hearing. We’ve had members of Congress who fought us. We’ve had members of the intelligence community and also the Pentagon. Even NASA backed out on us,” said Burchett. “There are a lot of people who don’t want this to come to light.”
This comes back to the old Latin maxim, “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.”
Lie once, perhaps you’re lying all the time.
If the government is covering up UFOs, what else might it hide?
“If they can do it here, what else are they doing?” asked Moskowitz. “That’s a scary thought that they don’t trust us.”
Bipartisan lawmakers accused the Pentagon of blocking attempts to talk to pilots and see UAP photos when they traveled to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
“We actually got into an argument with the general of that base,” said Luna.
Burchett doubts the purported technology belongs to American adversaries like China or Russia.
“If Russia owned it, they wouldn’t be battling in Ukraine. It’d be over,” said Burchett.
Many military personnel and civilians have described various UFOs as maneuvering and gyrating in ways that don’t comport with contemporary science. They also accelerate and dash away at insane speeds – believed in one instance to be as fast as 13,000 mph.
“When you see the Tic Tac videos and listen to the pilots, it defies all of our laws of physics,” said Burchett. “The human body would not be able to withstand the pressure from this thing.”
After last year’s hearing, Congress tucked a provision into the annual defense policy bill to require the military document and review claims of UAPs. Lawmakers say the Pentagon sometimes ignored reports of UAPs – and viewed those who say they saw the unexplained as kooks.
Many lawmakers are pleased with the new reporting and documentation system. But Burchett is far from satisfied. Senior administration officials are coy when pressed about UAPs and the new reporting regime.
“We’re not saying what they are,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby when asked about UAPs. “We’re saying it has had an effect on some of our training operations.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to add a provision to this year’s defense bill to create a special agency dedicated to studying UFOs and de-classifying certain information.
“It’ll be very helpful for the American people to see exactly what’s there,” said Schumer. “Otherwise, there are all sorts of rumors flying around.”
To say nothing of UAPs.
However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is unconvinced about the existence of UFOs.
“If we had found a UFO, I think the Department of Defense would tell us because they probably want to request more money,” said McCarthy.
And if the spacecraft are evidence of aliens from another galaxy, cruising through the Milky Way, could humans accept the premise that we are not alone?
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He convened last year’s hearing on UAPs.
“We saw what happened with the (Orson Welles radio broadcast) ‘War Of the Worlds.’ We saw what happened in 1947 (in Roswell, New Mexico). We saw what happened with radio programs in the ‘30s and folks were jumping out of buildings,” said Carson.
Perhaps the best quotation about these circumstances doesn’t come from movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” or “E.T. the Extraterrestrial.” It may emanate from “A Few Good Men.”
Can the public “handle the truth?”
“Are we OK with the federal government keeping information from the American people because they’re trying to prevent us from having anxiety on all sorts of issues?” asked Moskowitz. “What else are we going to give them authority to not tell the American people because they’re interested in controlling and keeping us in a bubble?”
Yours truly asked Carson if he could deal with learning that the alleged aircraft are otherworldly.
“I’m a Muslim. I’m a Black man. I’m from Indiana,” said Carson. “I can deal with a lot.”
But is everyone else ready for this?
Burchett gently chided the press corps.
“Every time you play this (news conference), you play the theme from the X-Files. I get it,” said Burchett. “You better be careful about a government that doesn’t trust its people because there’s no telling what they’ll pull on you.”