The First UFO Hearing in Half of a Century

UFO (unidentified flying object)

Google Images

UFO (unidentified flying object)

Violet Flanagan, Features Editor

On May 17th, Congress held its first public hearing on UFOs in over fifty years. UFOs, or unidentified flying objects, have been a cause of public curiosity for a long time. Rare sightings of supposed lights or spacecrafts in the sky have been consistently reported, although skeptics have little belief that those sightings were real, let alone aliens.

UFOs, known formally as UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena,) haven’t been acknowledged or spoken about publicly since the last congressional hearing in 1969, which was held due to the insistence of Representative Gerald Ford who wrote a detailed Airforce report on the subject.

The UFO sighting that sparked the call for a congressional hearing (New York Times)

The US military is closely involved with UAP sightings, and many of the most clear cases of  unexplained objects in the sky have been recorded or discovered through military technology.

Congress recently mandated that the military regularly update them on UAP sightings. Last year, a report was released by The Office of The Director of National Intelligence which compiled 143 sightings dating back to 2004, most of them by the military. 

“This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step,” Sen. Marco Rubio said at the time.”The Defense Department and intelligence community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern,” he said.

When the pentagon looked over the report, only one sighting could be identified and explained as a large deflating balloon. The document was heavily criticized due to the lack of explanation for these events. Representative Andre Carson spoke about Congress’ hesitance to address the report.

You need to show us, Congress and the American public, whose imagination you have captured, you are willing to follow the facts where they lead.

— Rep. Andre Carson

“You need to show us, Congress and the American public, whose imagination you have captured, you are willing to follow the facts where they lead,” he said. “We fear sometimes that D.O.D. is focused more on emphasizing what it can explain, not investigating what it can’t. I am looking for you to assure us today that all conclusions are on the table.”

The Pentagon, where UFO investigation takes place (Google Images)

Many of the people concerned about the report aren’t focused on aliens or extraterrestrials, but rather concerned that the government seems to have no idea what people are seeing in the sky. As they failed to acknowledge public concerns, people grew worried that they weren’t investigating these sightings publicly because they knew they would not find any answers. 

As the New York Times said “The government’s inability to identify objects in sensitive operating areas was ‘tantamount to intelligence failure that we certainly want to avoid,’ Representative Rick  Crawford said. ‘It’s not about finding alien spacecraft.’”