Is the government hiding alien bodies in a vault under the Pentagon? Have Americans been killed to protect our weirdest extraterrestrial secrets? Nothing was off the table at Congress’s much anticipated hearing on UFOs Wednesday, making for quite the show. The House Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs convened what was at turns a bizarre, funny, and occasionally boring get-together to discuss recent UFO-related allegations made by former members of the government.
The narrative painted by these supposed whistleblowers is one in which not only are we not alone in the universe, but highly advanced alien spacecraft (recently re-dubbed UAPs—or unidentified aerial phenomenon) keep slamming into cornfields, thus causing all sorts of trouble for the American government. Still, if you’re on the skeptical side, Wednesday’s hearing probably sounded less like something that should be entered into the Library of Congress and more like the pages of a good issue of the National Inquirer. With that in mind, here’s some of what we’ve “learned.”
The big takeaway: the need for UFO reporting mechanisms
If you want to skip the juicy details of the hearing (I’m not sure why you’d want to do that but I’m giving you the option) and stick to the dry policy side of things, here’s the basic outcome from Wednesday’s hearing: multiple legislators appeared to support calls for a formalized UFO reporting mechanism that would allow individuals in the governmental, civilian, and commercial spheres to report UFOs to the government when they see them.
David Grusch: UAP “deep throat” and verbal wild card
Of course, dry policy news pales in comparison with the hurricane of bizarre alien-related allegations that were made during Wednesday’s hearing. Thankfully, there was plenty to enjoy on that front.
The hearing’s speaker list included a number of UFO luminaries but probably the most anticipated testimony was given by David Grusch, a former U.S. intelligence official and so-called “whistleblower” who has made claims that longstanding “black” programs exist within the government that are designed to retrieve crash-landed unidentified flying aircraft. These supposed programs, Grusch says, have been “nested” within other classified projects and programs and have often involved illegal activity. Grusch claims he stumbled upon this dark secret as part of the work he did for a little-known Defense Department team dedicated to studying UFOs, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. Grusch has since left the government, apparently to spread awareness about unidentified flying objects. Arguably, his claims are what kicked off the entire wave of renewed UFO interest in the U.S., propelling Wednesday’s hearing into being.
A vast majority of Grusch’s claims sound totally and utterly crazy. It should also be pointed out that many of them are based on allegations that are coming to Grusch second hand from people (he says) are directly attached to the secret UAP retrieval programs. Here are the top claims that Grusch made on Wednesday when talking to Congress.
Top Grusch claims
- People may have been murdered to cover up the government’s secret UAP retrieval programs. Grusch has previously made claims in the press that he had heard information that Americans may have been killed to protect the sanctity of the secret UAP programs. When asked by U.S. Representative Tim Burchett whether anyone had been “harmed or injured” in connection to the UAP programs, Grusch’s response was merely: “Yes.” Burchett then asked, “Anyone been murdered?” to which Grusch said, “I have to be careful answering that question. I directed people with that knowledge to the appropriate authorities.”
- “Non-human biologics” (aka ALIEN BODIES!!!) may have been recovered by the government. Yes, according to Grusch, the government has found some organic material not of this world and is storing it somewhere for safe keeping. The term he used to refer to this matter was “non-human biologics,” though he noted that he, himself, had never seen any alien bodies.
- The UAP pilots could be actually time-traveling inter-dimensional beings. When asked about his previous claims that the operators of crash-landed UAPs could actually be from a different dimension or could even be time-travelers, Grusch said the following: “In terms of multi-dimensionality, the framework that I’m familiar with is something called the holographic principle. It derives itself from general relativity and quantum mechanics and that is…if you want to imagine 3-D objects such as yourself [pointing to legislator who asked the question] casting a shadow onto a 2-D surface—that’s the holographic principle. So you can be projected from higher dimensional space to lower dimensional [space].” Okay!
- People have been “injured” by people in the government and/or aliens (?) in connection with the government’s secret programs. Another vague series of claims that Grusch has made is that people have been injured (by UFOs? by aliens? by men in black?) as a result of the secret UAP programs. Grusch did little to shed more light on those allegations on Wednesday, though he did bring them up with lawmakers.
- Grusch has been retaliated against by unnamed “higher ups” in the government, due to his attempts to disclose details of the UAP retrieval program. Grusch repeatedly referred to being retaliated against for his disclosures surrounding UAPs. “It was very brutal and very unfortunate—some of the tactics they used to hurt me both professionally and personally, to be quite frank,” he told legislators.
So, uh, yeah, that’s a whole lot of crazy. Whether you buy into the more bizarre elements that decorate Grusch’s X-Files-like narrative, there does seem to be something deeply bizarre going on inside the government when it comes to UFOs. Indeed, the most interesting part of Wednesday’s hearing involved Grusch’s claims of illegality in connection to the supposed craft retrieval program. These allegations hint at something far darker at the heart of the UFO mystery, suggesting a kind of corruption within the federal bureaucracy that—if even halfway true—would be a major story. The crimes that Grusch alleges include everything from murder to a breach of congressional reporting standards to a potential misappropriation of federal funds to pay for secret programs. Believing that the government is storing dead aliens is, of course, very much a stretch. Believing that secretive government agencies may be up to no good, on the other hand, is a far easier sell, in my book. Unfortunately, Grusch continually stalled on offering concrete details but said that he would be willing to be more candid with legislators behind closed doors, in a SCIF (a secure compartmented information facility) after the hearing had ended.
The Nimitz episode, revisited
Another speaker at Wednesday’s hearing was one of the pilots who was directly involved with what has come to be known as the 2004 “Nimitz episode.” Former Commanding Officer David Fravor (now retired) was one of the Navy pilots attached to the U.S.S. Nimitz, an aircraft carrier that encountered what was later described as the “flying Tic Tac,” a bizarre cylindrical vehicle that seemed to be able to move at impossible speeds and elevations. Videos taken of the Tic Tac would later be featured in a now famous 2017 New York Times article that explored the UFO sightings and led to renewed interest in the subject matter.
On Wednesday, Fravor shared his experiences with legislators, making some pretty interesting comments about the apparent vehicle’s capabilities. He said that the object “traveled 60 miles in a very short period of time (less than a minute), was far superior in performance to my brandnew F/A-18F and did not operate with any of the known aerodynamic principles that we expect for objects that fly in our atmosphere.” More bizarrely, he claims that the government never really investigated the incident. “What is shocking is that the incident was never investigated, none of my crew were ever questioned, tapes were never taken, and after a couple of days, it turned into a great story to tell friends.”
Floating red squares and cubes in spheres
What does a UFO look like exactly? According to numerous descriptions given Wednesday by invited speaker Ryan Graves, they look really fucking weird. Graves is a former U.S. Navy pilot and the executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace, a UAP-focused advocacy group made up of former military pilots that advocates for government disclosure surrounding the issue. As part of its mission, ASA says it collects and chronicles UFO incidents involving government and commercial pilots. At one point, U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin asked Graves to describe some of the sighted objects, and this is how their exchange went:
RASKIN: “Are there common characteristics to the UAPs that have been sighted by different pilots and can you describe what the convergence of descriptions is?
GRAVES: “Certainly. We were primarily seeing dark gray or black cubes inside of a clear sphere.”
RASKIN: “I’m sorry—dark gray or black cubes?”
GRAVES: “Yes, inside of a clear sphere—where the apex or tips of the cubes were touching the tips of the sphere.”
Raskin seemed about as flummoxed as you are, dear reader. It would appear that the “flying Tic Tac” spotted during the Nimitz episode is only one UFO make and model of many.
Another description of a UAP given by Graves was even weirder. This one involved an alleged episode that had occurred at Vandenberg Air Force base in Santa Barbara, California. Details of the event were submitted to ASA by a witness, Graves said. It went as follows:
“In the 2003 time-frame a large group of Boeing contractors were operating near one of the launch facilities at Vandenberg Air Force base when they observed a very large hundred-yard-sided, red…square…approach the base from the ocean and hover at low altitudes over one of the base facilities. This object remained for about 45 seconds or so before darting off over the mountains. There was a similar event within 24 hours—later in the evening…there were reports of other sightings on-base, including some aggressive behaviors. These objects were approaching some of the security guards at rapid speeds before darting off.”
Graves further claimed that the “red square” object that was initially spotted was described by witnesses as being “almost the size of a football field.”
A lot of funny questions about the “flying TikTok”
The Congressional response Wednesday was undeniably funny. For one thing, despite the supposed world-shifting nature of the subject matter at hand, most of the legislators seemed like they couldn’t care less about the proceedings. Indeed, you can see from the video that most lawmakers did not stay for the entire hearing—and by the end of the session almost nobody was still present. When they did ask questions, they seemed alternately confused, astounded, occasionally jokey, and weirdly lacking in skepticism about the validity of the claims being made. On multiple occasions, older legislators referred to the sightings associated witht the Nimitz episode as a “flying TikTok,” butchering the actual term used to refer to the relevant craft, a “flying Tic Tac.”
In this writer’s opinion, the top prize for question-asking for the day went to Congressional newcomer Eric Burlison, who asked the obvious question that nobody else in Congress seemed capable of asking: isn’t it possible that instead of time-traveling interdimensional beings or an ET aircraft, that what is really being discovered and retrieved is just some sort of advanced covert aircraft being tested by our own government?
Grusch’s answer: “That’s a hypothetical situation. I’m not aware of any historical situation that would match that…that I’m aware of.”
Yeah, I guess inter-dimensional time-traveling aliens seems a lot less hypothetical than, like, a crashed drone or an experimental spy plane? I suppose we’ll just have to keep talking about wormholes and Martians until we get a clearer picture of what’s actually going on.