WASHINGTON — Former intelligence official David Grusch made far-reaching claims about possible U.S. government cover-ups of contact with UFOs and non-human pilots in a House Oversight subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.

But Grusch could not offer any hard evidence to substantiate his claims — largely due to his fears of prosecution for sharing classified data in a public setting, he told Congress.

“As a former intelligence officer, I go to jail for revealing classified information,” he told the members.

Lawmakers on the national security subcommittee noted that evasion is not the same thing as Grusch admitting he doesn’t have proof. 

“We should remind viewers and witnesses — and I think is really important — that we also cannot share classified information in public settings,” Ranking Member Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) said.

Members repeatedly complained that they had been denied access to a secure hearing room (a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF) where they could hold a fully secure interview with Grusch.

“Every person watching this knows that we need to meet with Mr. Grusch in a secure compartmentalized facility so that we can get fulsome answers that do not put him in jeopardy,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told the committee.

Gaetz’s GOP colleagues said after the hearing that they would demand to interview Grusch and the other witnesses in a SCIF to gather additional information. 

Here are three specific areas where Grusch said he could share further classified information with Congress to bolster his claims. 

Naming his sources 

Grusch said that during his time as co-lead of the Pentagon’s Unexplained Anomalous Phenomenon (UAP) task force, fellow intelligence officials leaked to him the existence of the secret program focused on retrieving — and attempting to reverse engineer — non-human craft.

“Do you have direct knowledge — or have you spoken to people with direct knowledge of this imagery of crash sites,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) asked Grusch.

“I can’t discuss that in an open session,” Grusch said. 

But he promised to offer a list of potential witnesses — both cooperative and “hostile” — who could give the committee more information.

Claims of retaliation 

While most of his intelligence agency colleagues have been supportive, Grusch told Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-N.Y.), “I do have knowledge of active and planned reprisal activity against myself and other colleagues,” in what he called “administrative terrorism.”

When Raskin pressed on where these reprisals had come from, Grusch said the source was “certain senior leadership at previous agencies I was associated with.”

“That’s all I’ll say publicly,” Grusch added, “but I can provide more details in a closed environment.”

Asked if anyone had been killed over potential leaks, Grusch told Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) that “I have to be careful asking that question, I directed people with that knowledge to the appropriate authorities.”

By contrast, former Navy pilot Commander David Fravor, sitting next to Grusch, said that he and other pilots who had witnessed UAP had been treated “very well.”

Misappropriation of funds

Grusch alleged that aerospace and weapons manufacturers were siphoning money off of government contracts — and plowing it into unsanctioned research projects in advanced technology.

The Secretary of Defense does have the authority to deny congressional oversight of particularly sensitive “special access programs,” or SAPs. But the group of high-powered congressional leaders known as the Gang of Eight is at least supposed to be informed — which Grusch said didn’t happen in this case.

Asked how such a secret program gets funded, he said: “I will give generalities — I can get very specific in a closed session — but misappropriation of funds.”

“Do you think US corporations are overcharging for certain tech they’re selling to the US government and that additional money is going to programs?” Rep. Moskowitz asked.

“Correct, through something called IREN,” Grusch said, referring to the INFOSEC Research and Engineering Network, a joint research and development venture between several corporate weapons contractors

Pressed for details, Grusch said he could reveal more in a closed session and offered Rep. Alexia Ocaio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) a list of corporations and sites to begin targeting.

“I’d be happy to give you that in a closed environment, I can tell you specifically,” Grusch responded.