(The Hill) – Senior lawmakers are increasingly demanding that military and other government officials provide them with information about intelligence on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs).
The demands reflect frustrations on the part of some lawmakers that they are being kept in the dark about what’s known about UFOs and UAPs.
The lawmakers do not necessarily believe the government is hiding signs of extraterrestrial life from the public and congressional oversight. But they are frustrated they are not learning more about unknown objects flying in restricted U.S. air space.
“My primary interest in this topic is if there are … object[s] operating over restricted air space, it’s not ours and we don’t know whose it is, that’s a problem that we need to get to the bottom of,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“If there’s an explanation for it that’s being kept from Congress, then we need to force the issue. We’re not getting answers,” Rubio told The Hill.
The Senate has adopted an amendment to an annual defense bill that would require the federal government to collect and disclose all records related to UFOs and UAPs unless a special review board determines they must be kept classified.
The amendment was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, and is backed by Rubio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats, as well as Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a former Marine intelligence officer, and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
Rubio, the top-ranking Republican on the intelligence committee, has more access to classified information than the vast majority of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He said he suspects there are records related to unidentified aerial phenomena that are being kept secret from congressional oversight.
“Right now, what I know is reliable people tell us that and we’ve seen objects operating over restricted military and national security airspace. They claim it’s not ours. They claim they don’t know whose it is. That’s like the definition of a national security threat,” he said.
“Either there’s an answer that exists and is not being provided, or there is no answer. Beyond that, I don’t want to speculate anything,” he added.
Rubio said he was familiar with the claims of David Grusch, a career intelligence officer who worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He claims the federal government has retrieved “non-human origin technical vehicles” that have landed or crashed on Earth.
“We have a number of people including that gentleman who have come forward both publicly and privately to make claims,” Rubio said.
“One of two things are true. Either A, they’re telling the truth or some version of the truth or B, we have a bunch of people with high clearances and really important jobs in our government are nuts. Both are a problem. And I’m not accusing these people of being nuts. That said, that’s something we’ll look at and continue to look at seriously,” he said.
Interest in the subject is also reflected by this week’s House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday on UAPs and UFOs.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), who is chairing the hearing, says lawmakers will hear testimony from Grusch, as well as former Navy Cmdr. David Fravor and former Navy pilot Ryan Graves.
Burchett claimed on a podcast this month that the federal government has known about UFOs for decades and “they can fly underwater and don’t show a heat trail,” appearing to defy the laws of physics.
Congressional sources familiar with efforts to gain more information from the Defense Department and intelligence agencies say UAPs and UFOs are being detected more frequently because of improvements in military sensor technology.
The Department of Defense released three Navy videos in 2020 that show objects flying in extraordinary ways and capturing confused and awe-struck comments of Naval aviators who witnessed the phenomena.
Grusch, who describes himself as a whistleblower, says senior intelligence officers have told him they participated in a secret UAP task force, though he says he has not personally witnessed nonhuman intelligence. He says he was retaliated against when he tried to gain more information about the program.
Rubio said “we don’t know” if such a program exists and what evidence it might have collected.
“Without speculating or adding to intrigue about this whole topic, there’s no doubt that in this field, generally, there’s more than what we know,” he said. “We’re trying to get to a process where at least some people in Congress do know.”
Asked why he suspects there’s more for Congress to know about UAPs, Rubio said “there’s pieces of puzzles that don’t fit.”
“Most certainly there are elements of things, whether historic or current, that potentially Congress has not been kept fully informed of — and that would be a problem,” he said. “There’s really no function of the executive that shouldn’t require congressional oversight at some level.”
The language in the Senate defense bill would require the National Archives and Records Administration to create a collection of records related to UAPs across government agencies that would be declassified for public use.
“UAPs generate a lot of curiosity for many Americans, and with that curiosity sometimes comes misinformation,” Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
Most lawmakers are extremely reluctant to say they suspect aliens from other solar systems are visiting Earth because there isn’t any undisputable evidence of such visits in the public domain.
Also, the nearest star to planet Earth is 40,000 billion kilometers away, making it seem impossible that any alien craft could travel the distance necessary to span solar systems. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is so far away that it would take the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which travels at 17.3 km per second, 73,000 years to reach it, according to NASA.
It’s also hard to fathom that a foreign adversary such as China possesses such advanced technology that it can fly aerial vehicles in ways that appear to defy the laws of physics, as U.S. military personnel have observed of UFOs or UAPs.
Rounds said he has seen “no evidence personally” that extraterrestrial craft are visiting the planet but said, “I know that there’s a lot of people that have questions about it.”
“It’s just like with JFK and the  assassination. We set up separate archive for that or central collection place for all that data, which I think gave the American people a sense of security that there was a location where it was being held. This is following that same approach,” he said.
The White House announced late last month that the National Archives had concluded its review of documents related to the assassination of former President Kennedy and that 99 percent of the relevant records had been made publicly available.
Asked about whether he personally believes military personnel and sensors are encountering extraterrestrial visitors, Rounds said: “I don’t think you can discount the possibility just simply because of the size of the universe.”
“I don’t think anybody should say that they know for certain either way,” he said. “If we simply refuse to acknowledge there’s even a remote possibility, then we’re probably not being honest.”
“Some of the items we simply can’t explain,” he said of the Naval videos of UAPs.