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The truth is out there: Unexplained aerial sightings now have Congress’ attention

"Reports of sightings are frequent and continuing," naval intelligence chief tells lawmakers.

By Benjamin Bullard
UFO Flying Over New Mexico

Something’s out there — but what is it? That’s the question that, as of this week, has officially entered the federal public record as some members of Congress look determined to get into the hunt for UFOs — oops, we mean the proper term, of course: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).

At a May 17 hearing of a Congressional subcommittee devoted to national counterterrorism and counterintelligence, U.S. leaders spoke in serious tones about the many reports — some firsthand from military personnel in the air — of mysterious, unidentified objects that for decades have been sighted in the skies over Earth. It’s the first time a Congressional committee has publicly addressed the topic of unexplained aerial sightings, as NBC News reports, in more than 50 years.

Subcommittee members listened as Scott W. Bray, deputy director of U.S. naval intelligence, explained a marked increase in the number of reported UAP and unauthorized craft sightings in military airspace since the early 2000s — a function of enlistees’ heightened willingness to come forward as “the stigma has been reduced” surrounding the sharing of such out-there information.

“Reports of sightings are frequent and continuing,” he said, noting that “approximately 400 reports” of UAP sightings have been recorded into a new database, created last year, as part of a new Pentagon task force set up to collect and examine reports of UAP encounters. But, he added, officials so far have no evidence to demonstrate that aliens are behind any of the sightings.

“When it comes to material that we have, we have no material — we have detected no emanations within the UAP Task Force that would suggest it’s anything non-terrestrial in origin,” he said, via The Verge. “When I say ‘unexplained,’ I mean everything from too little data to…the data that we have doesn’t point us towards an explanation.” In many cases, he explained, the uptick in sightings may be the result of humans sending more artificial objects (like mylar balloons and drones) into the sky in general, as well as improving sensor technology that more delicately detects their presence.

Aliens or not, taking the topic into a committee devoted to national security suggests that lawmakers view the possibility of UAPs as a potential threat, which subcommittee chairman Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) confirmed in framing the hearing. “UAPs are unexplained, it's true, but they are real,” he said, via NBC News.”They need to be investigated, and many threats they pose need to be mitigated.”

Does that mean we Earthlings are encouraged to approach our first alien contact with the assumption that they’d be hostile? The hearing didn’t go that far into UAP speculation territory, but we’ve seen enough sci-fi blockbusters to at least hesitate at giving E.T. interlopers the full red carpet treatment. Now that the government wants to be at the center of the unexplained aerial phenomena debate, the first thing we’d probably do is get the Department of Defense on speed dial.

If you're suddenly in the mood to spend time with a far funnier alien threat, Season 1, as well as episodes 1-8 of SYFY's Resident Alien Season 2 are now streaming on the SYFY app and Peacock.