Are UAPs UFOs?

This is not just an entry for most capitalised headline of 2023. On 26 July, the US House of Representatives (the security sub-committee of the House Oversight Committee which has support from both Republicans and Democrats) opened a one day, two hour hearing into the Unexplained Aerial Phenomena issue (UAP). UAP is the current term for what were once known as UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects). The primary witness was a US Air Force intelligence officer named David Charles Grusch.

Grusch, 36, who has worked for both the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO – whch handles spy satellites) and the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA – which analyses geospatial intelligence) has said that the US intelligence services had recovered parts of “non-human spacecraft” and even the remains of “pilots” and had been involved in a massive cover-up operation for years. At the NRO he worked for the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force and then became the NGIA’s co-lead for UAP analysis 2021-22. He claims that the UAP Task Force was kept out of any such programme and was refused permission to go to crash sites. He said that agencies have discovered “quite a number” of non-human spacecraft “based on the vehicle morphologies and material science testing and the possession of unique atomic arrangements and radiological signatures.”

He stopped government work in April 2023 and has filed a complaint with members of Congress and with the Intelligence Community Inspector General saying that he received discriminatory treatment for revealing his discoveries. He may not be quite the nut he appears to be: Karl Nell, a retired Army colonel who was also on the Task Force, described him as “beyond reproach”. However, Grusch does not claim to have seen any of this material, he just believes it exists and says that others have confirmed it to him. Grusch says he has evidence after having interviewed 40 witnesess over the past few years. Grusch said that he personally knew of people who had been harmed or injured because of the efforts to cover up captured UAP technology and that at times he had feared for his own life.

The Chair of the Sub-Committee, Republican Representative Glenn Grothman, said in his opening remarks that two US Presidents (Ford and Carter) have claimed to have seen UFOs and that there is now “a pressing demand for accountability”.

Intelligence agencies are interested in this topic not because they think these may be alien spacecraft but for two other reasons: 1) Most of the intelligence on this matter will have been collected by their agencies and 2) a UAP may be the first sign that an enemy has made a siginificant technological breakthrough in aviation. For instance, many of the UFO reports in America during the 1950 and 1960s are thought to have been related to early tests of the US technology that eventually made way for Stealth fighters and Stealth bombers. Next time, the Russians or Chinese may make the breakthrough first and a UAP sighting may be the first sign of that.

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