A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Maj. David Grusch, testified to a House Oversight subcommittee on Wednesday, alleging that the U.S. is maintaining a clandestine program for the recovery and reverse engineering of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The Pentagon, however, refuted these assertions.
The U.S. government officially refers to these as “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs), shunning the colloquial UFO term. While such phenomena usually stir discussions about extraterrestrial life, both Democrats and Republicans have started demanding in-depth investigation into the sightings by pilots, treating them as potential national security issues, with suspicions they may be linked to foreign adversaries.
In 2019, as part of his duties at the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency responsible for U.S. spy satellites, Grusch was asked by the head of a government UAP task force to identify all top-secret programs related to their mission. He claimed, “During my official duties, I was made aware of a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program, access to which was denied to me.”
When queried about potential extraterrestrial life evidence, Grusch suggested that the U.S. may have been cognizant of “non-human” activity since the 1930s.
The Pentagon strongly disputed Grusch’s allegations. Defense Department spokeswoman Sue Gough stated, “No verifiable information has been discovered to support the claims of any past or present programs possessing or reverse-engineering extraterrestrial materials.” However, the statement did not comment on UFOs that are not suspected to be extraterrestrial.
Following his revelations, Grusch turned whistleblower and alleges retaliation, though he did not disclose details due to an ongoing inquiry. He expressed, “The tactics they employed to harm me both professionally and personally were indeed brutal and regrettable.”
Chairing the hearing, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., greeted a packed audience with humor, “Welcome to the most exciting subcommittee in Congress this week.”
There was bipartisan curiosity regarding Grusch’s declarations, and a serious demeanor was noted from both parties. They interrogated Grusch about his UFO research, his experiences since revelation, and how they could learn more about the government’s UAP programs.
Some lawmakers showed frustration at the Pentagon’s reluctance to provide further information in a classified briefing or release public images. Previous hearings displayed an F-18 military plane’s video with an image of a balloon-like shape.
In December, Pentagon officials revealed that they had received “several hundreds” of new reports after initiating a renewed effort to investigate UFO reports.
“Although it’s still early days, we haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that any of the objects we’ve seen are of alien origin,” stated Ronald Moultrie, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. “We consider any unauthorized system in our airspace as a safety threat.”