Witnesses Play Up the Alien Angle at Congressional UFO Hearing

Three former insiders who have played a role in dealing with UFOs — or as they’ve now come to be known, unidentified anomalous phenomena — say the U.S. military knows more than what it’s been telling lawmakers about encounters with potentially alien technology.

During a House subcommittee hearing held today, one of the witnesses said he was told that non-human remains have been recovered from UAP incidents.

“As I’ve stated publicly already … biologics came with some of these recoveries,” David Grusch, a former intelligence officer who took on whistleblower status due to his claims, said in response to a question from Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.

“Were they, I guess, human or non-human biologics?” Mace asked.

“Non-human,” Grusch replied. “And that was the assessment of people with direct knowledge on the program I talked to, that are currently still on the program.”

Much of what Grusch had to say, including his controversial claims about non-human technology and recoveries, was said earlier in a News Nation interview. That interview was frequently referenced during today’s hearing before the House Oversight subcommittee on national security, the border and foreign affairs — so much so that the interview was entered into the hearing record. But this time, Grusch made his statements under oath.

The claims seem to run counter to statements made during a Senate committee hearing in April by Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO. “AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics,” Kirkpatrick said in April.

In an emailed statement, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the Department of Defense “takes public interest in UAP seriously.”

“The department is fully committed to openness and accountability to the American people, which it must balance with its obligation to protect sensitive information, sources and methods. DoD is also committed to timely and thorough reporting to Congress,” Gough said.

Gough said that AARO “has established a safe and secure process for individuals to come forward with information to aid AARO in its congressionally mandated historical review,” and that the office “welcomes the opportunity to speak with any former or current government employee or contractor who believes they have information relevant to the historical review.”

“These individuals are still obligated to protect classified information and may not disclose classified information to the media, the public, or anyone who does not have proper access to such information, including the appropriate clearance level and need-to-know,” Gough said. “These lifelong obligations extend to a public congressional hearing.”

Echoing Kirkpatrick’s testimony, Gough said “AARO has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.”

Tech and the Tic Tac

The two other witnesses at the hearing — former Navy pilot Ryan Graves and retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor — didn’t go as far as Grusch did in discussing the possibility of alien involvement. But they said the flight characteristics they saw during UAP encounters seemed to reflect technologies far beyond the capabilities of the U.S. military or its rivals.

Fravor, who was involved in the “Tic Tac” encounter that occurred off the California coast in 2004, said what he experienced was “well beyond the materials science and the capabilities that we had at the time, that we have currently, or that we’re going to have in the next 10 to 20 years.”

During that encounter, pilots tracked what the Navy said was a 46-foot-wide object that looked smooth and rounded like a Tic Tac breath mint. “For some people that can’t know what a Tic Tac is, it’s a giant flying propane tank,” Fravor said.

The object appeared to move evasively, jam the jets’ radar and zoom off at a high speed. “It’s been said it’s probably the most credible UFO sighting in history, based on all the sensors that were tracking it,” Fravor told the subcommittee.

Graves, who encountered UAPs during his time as a Navy pilot and now heads an advocacy group called Americans for Safe Airspace, said other eyewitnesses have described “a dark gray or black cube in a clear sphere.”

“UAP are in our airspace, but they’re grossly underreported,” he said. “Parts of our government are aware of more about UAP than they let on. The excessive classification practices keep crucial information hidden.”

Decades of secrecy

Grusch, who coordinated work on the UAP issue in intelligence roles for the Air Force, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said his research suggested that the U.S. government was aware of extraterrestrial connections to UFOs as far back as the 1930s.

In response to a question from Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., Grusch said he had personal knowledge about injuries that were sustained by people trying to reverse-engineer UAP technologies.

“How were they injured?” Burchett asked. “Was it something like a radioactive-type situation, or something we didn’t understand? I’ve heard people talk about Havana syndrome type incidents. What was your recollection of that?”

“I can’t get into specifics,” Grusch replied, “but you could imagine assessing an unknown unknown. There’s a lot of potentialities you can’t fully prepare for.”

He said the most sensitive work on UAPs has been kept secret, even from members of Congress, through compartmentalization in special access programs.

“How does a program like that get funded?” Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., asked Grusch.

“I will give you generalities,” Grusch said. “I can get very specific in a closed session, but [it’s] a misappropriation of funds.”

Grusch repeatedly declined to name names in open session, but he said he’d be willing to share what he knows in a secure classified setting. Some subcommittee members said they ran into difficulties when they tried to make such arrangements with intelligence officials.

All three witnesses said UAPs had the potential to pose an existential threat to U.S. national security.

“In the event that your encounters had become hostile, would you have had the capability to defend yourself, your crew, your aircraft?” Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., asked Graves and Fravor.

“Absolutely not,” Graves said. “No,” Fravor added.

Lawmakers plan action

All three witnesses also said there had to be a better centralized system for receiving and processing UAP reports — not only from military pilots, but also from commercial pilots and the general public. “It’s a travesty that we don’t have a system to correlate this and actually investigate,” Fravor said.

Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., said “one of the clear outcomes of this hearing already is that there has to be a safe and transparent reporting process for pilots.” Subcommittee Chairman Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., agreed, saying that he assumed “some legislation will come out of this.”

“I think we’re going to want to look into what we can do to make more of this information public,” Grothman said.

Skepticism came to the surface only once during the hearing. “The concept that an alien species is technologically advanced enough to travel billions of light-years gets here and somehow is incompetent enough to not survive Earth or crashes is something that I find a little bit farfetched,” Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., told Grusch. “And with that being said, you have said that there’s interdimensional potential. Could you expound on that?”

In reply, Grusch said that no matter how advanced a civilization becomes, a “small percentage” of sorties are going to end in mission failure. And on the interdimensional question, Grusch referred to the holographic principle — which is a way-out hypothesis on the frontiers of string theory.

“You can be projected from higher dimensional space to lower dimensional,” Grusch explained.

“But you have not seen any documentation that that’s what’s occurring,” Burlison asked.

“Only a theoretical framework discussion,” Grusch answered.

Outside the hearing chamber, the skepticism was sharper. “The KGB is having a banner day in Congress today,” investigative journalist Dave Troy said in a tweet. “This is such a disgraceful abuse of this institution.”

Alan Boyle

Science writer Alan Boyle is the creator of Cosmic Log, a veteran of MSNBC.com and NBC News Digital, and the author of "The Case for Pluto." He's based in Seattle, but the cosmos is his home.

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