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Lots of big questions to ponder this week. Why has a sad “X” logo usurped the little Twitter bird? Who does LaKeith Stanfield’s PR, and what was going on with Timothée Chalamet’s floral bonnet in the scorching Manhattan weather? All beguiling inquiries, but none weighs more heavily on me than the question that emerged after Wednesday’s congressional hearing on UFOs: Is that a yes on aliens, or what?
Three military veterans testified before a House Oversight Committee in Washington about sightings and knowledge of unidentified anomalous phenomena (government lingo for UFOs), warning that the alleged UAP poses a national security problem and pushing for more government transparency around the whole extraterrestrial question. Back in April, a Pentagon official told a Senate subcommittee that the U.S. government is tracking over 650 potential UFO sightings; according to the New York Times, most of the incidents were said to involve flying trash, foreign spying efforts, and weather balloons. Still, most is not all, and former Navy fighter pilots Ryan Graves and David Fravor both testified to separate encounters with unknown aerial objects that they say moved and accelerated unlike any existing human technology.
Fighter pilot sightings aside, Wednesday’s most striking allegations came from whistleblower and former Air Force intelligence officer David Grusch, who led a government task force on UAP sightings back in 2019 and repeated prior allegations that the U.S. has been recovering and reverse-engineering bits of “intact and partially intact” alien vehicles for decades, apparently covering up its research into unidentified sightings and allegedly harming and injuring people as part of said cover-up. In a statement to Time, a spokeswoman from the Pentagon maintains that the Department of Defense “has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.”
Grusch also claimed that nonhuman “biologics” have been recovered from alleged crash sites. Though he previously expanded on his claims in a June interview with NewsNation, Grusch was unwilling to expound or name sources on the witness stand, citing issues of security and fueling criticism that the whole thing may well be bonkers. “The concept that an alien species is technologically advanced enough to travel billions of light years and gets here, and is somehow incompetent enough to not survive Earth, and crashes, is something I find a little far-fetched,” Missouri representative Eric Burlison said, per the Times.
Not everyone, however, appears to be a total naysayer, and it’s nothing like a bunch of alien superstars to bring in some bipartisan harmony. Senator Chuck Schumer is currently pushing for legislation to create a commission with the authority to declassify government UFO documents and documents related to extraterrestrial matters. Tennessee Republican representative Tim Burchett, who was instrumental in holding Wednesday’s hearing, vows to “uncover the cover-up” supposedly at play. “We’re not bringing little green men or flying saucers into the hearing … We’re just going to get to the facts,” Burchett said, per CNN. (After claiming to have seen classified UFO footage earlier this month, Burchett declared via podcast that aliens, should they exist, could likely “turn us into charcoal briquette” with their technology).
Personally, I’m a little perplexed as to why we didn’t bring in more of the little green men and/or flying saucers into the mix. It’s not every day that Congress has a UFO hearing. If even a handful of the presumed 650 UFO sightings are to be believed, are there in fact aliens, and if there are — I suspect there are — why are they hitting and quitting the earth? Are they grossed out by our sprawling views of late-stage capitalism? Are they merely wondering where the hell our ozone layer is going and zooming in to take a closer look? Or are they taking a few final earthside trips before we roast ourselves and our planet into charcoal briquette with climate change? Maybe they’re too classy for this world for us to ever know for sure.