The bipartisan group of representatives pushing for public information on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) is having difficulty continuing their effort after a blockbuster committee hearing last month.
The Hill hosted an event Thursday, The Truth Is Out There: UFOs & National Security, which was moderated by congressional reporter Mychael Schnell and featured three of the four members of Congress who have pushed for UAP transparency.
“I hear from people more on this subject than anything else,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said. “Not the Trump indictments, not Hunter Biden. They are talking about the UAP hearing because there’s great interest in this government transparency issue.”
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn) said the group — comprising Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla), Moskowitz and himself — will likely not get another opportunity for a hearing unless Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) designates a select committee on UAPs as they have requested.
That select committee would give subpoena powers to force leaders in the Department of Defense and others to testify and push past the “roadblocks” the group has faced so far in seeing classified material and getting timely responses, Burchett said.
“We’re running into a lot of roadblocks there, and that’s the problem with this whole thing. It just creates more and more conspiracy theories because our federal government is so arrogant and so bloated, and they’ll just run out the clock,” Burchett said. “I’m guilty of this as well, but Americans want their pizzas in 30 minutes or less, and that’s about our dadgum attention span.”
Burchett and Luna haven’t heard back from the Speaker since they made the request, they said. The Hill has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
The hearing last month featured three witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of UAP sightings. Former intelligence officer whistleblower David Grusch claimed the government has recovered “non-human biological pilots” from downed UAPs, which the Pentagon has denied.
In the hearing last month, Grusch said he couldn’t speak on much of his knowledge because it is classified. But the investigating members told The Hill they are being slowed by the Pentagon on getting a classified hearing with Grusch started.
“The excuse that the Department of Defense is using for us not being able to get a SCIF is that Grusch doesn’t have an active [security] clearance. So unless he has active clearance, they’re saying that he can’t divulge that information to us, which, one, I believe is false,” Luna said at The Hill event. “The Department of Defense is literally trying to stonewall us.”
Luna also threatened to use congressional power to lower the salary of specific officials who were getting in the way of the investigation, saying “there’s a select group of people who have become megalomaniacs with information.”
“I don’t believe that it is fair to the American people to not be able to see information that absolutely has the ability to impact them directly, especially from a national security perspective,” she added.
Another hearing witness, former Navy pilot Ryan Graves, said he witnessed UAPs on a “daily basis” when flying over the North Atlantic. He described the objects as a “dark or a black cube inside a clear sphere.” He’s now an advocate working to better regulate UAP data tracking and transparency.
The objects are a safety hazard for military and civilian pilots and there is stigma for pilots around reporting, he said at The Hill event.
“I think anyone that has approached this subject for any amount of time is probably familiar with the pushback that this topic can elicit. But when we’re aviators, we have to understand that we have a professional responsibility to the aircraft and to the lives and souls in the back of that aircraft,” Graves said.
“Every pilot I’ve spoken to always said that has been their number one concern when they care to share this information. They’re not UFO hunters, they’re not necessarily interested in this topic, but they have that responsibility and they’re frustrated that they don’t have an outlet to be able to safely communicate this information in a way that not only gets it out and is safe, but also something is actually done about it so that we don’t have this issue constantly popping up.”
Members of Congress proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would create a reporting framework and regulate the release of materials to the public through a declassification board.
As the NDAA goes through reconciliation between the House and Senate, there are conversations about including those transparency measures as well as new systems for ensuring whistleblower safety, Moskowitz said.
For Moskowitz, while considering national security is critical, the issue is really about government transparency.
“If we are in the UAP business and we’re developing UAPs, or even worse yet, if we’re reverse engineering technology based on stuff that has crashed landed here from other civilizations, we can’t just tell the American people that’s not true forever, right?” Moskowitz said.
“The American people deserve to know whether some of that is true — maybe not the full extent of it because again, there’s national security issues — but to fully keep the American people in the dark [is bad],” he added.