Lawmakers in the United States pledged to make transparent their investigation into unidentified flying objects (UFOs) during a congressional hearing with Pentagon officials.
According to The New York Times (NYT), the hearing was the first in more than 50 years to focus on military reports of UFOs or "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAPs) as they are officially referred to.
During proceedings, members of Congress pushed officials from the Pentagon — the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) — to fully investigate and provide explanations for reports of UAPs.
"You need to show us, Congress and the American public, whose imagination you have captured, you are willing to follow the facts where they lead," said Representative André Carson, Democrat of Indiana and the chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee that held the hearing, reported NYT.
It also saw defence officials testifying under oath that the government had not collected materials from any alien landing on Earth.
Declassified videos of UAPs
A declassified video, screened for members of Congress, showed a spherical object zoom against the backdrop of a pure blue sky zoom past a military fighter jet.
Another video, taken with night vision, appeared to capture multiple triangle-shaped objects hovering off the coast of Southern California.
NYT reported deputy director of naval intelligence Scott W. Bray as saying that DOD was "reasonably confident" that the triangular objects were drones; their other-worldly appearance a product of camera lens distortion.
About 400 reports of UAPs
The hearing, held on May 17, came after a report was released last year where the U.S. government admitted that nearly all of the incidents of UAPs investigated remained unexplained.
According to CBS News, since the release of that report in June 2021, the number of UAP reported by pilots and service members had grown to about 400, from 144 incidents since 2004.
"For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis," said Carson.
"Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the backroom or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a sceptical national security community."
DOD officials added that they wanted to be careful about how much information they divulged on their ability to identify objects.
"We do not want potential adversaries to know exactly what we’re able to see or understand, or how we come to the conclusion," said Bray, according to NYT.
Officials said they were sceptical that the UAPs were some unknown Chinese or Russian technology.
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Top image from Defense Visual Information Distribution Service