Lawmakers Talk of Forcing Transparency, Reverse Engineering UFO Technology After Historic Hearing

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
July 27, 2023Congress
Lawmakers Talk of Forcing Transparency, Reverse Engineering UFO Technology After Historic Hearing
(L-R) Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) talks with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) during a House Oversight Committee hearing titled "Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena: Implications on National Security, Public Safety, and Government Transparency" on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 26, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are adamant about continuing investigations on UFOs after hearing from witnesses who described secretive government programs to retrieve and reverse engineer technology of an unknown origin.

On Wednesday, lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee’s National Security Subcommittee heard testimony about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), which have long been referred to by a different acronym, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). One of the witnesses, David Grusch, came forward with claims of “a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program.”

Mr. Grusch is a former national reconnaissance officer who served on the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Task Force at the Department of Defense, the military office opened in 2020 for the purpose of studying these UAPs. Mr. Grusch said he became a whistleblower after learning about this UAP crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program and has experienced retaliation as a result.

After Wednesday’s hearing, several lawmakers described concerns about limitations on what information could be shared and described a need to open a classified setting to discuss this UAP technology in greater detail and begin to access still-classified information.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said there have been 171 documented UAP encounters since 2022 that still lack a clear explanation.

“I think there’s more information on those than they’ve released to the American public,” Mr. Moskowitz told NTD News. “And obviously, listen, we want to make sure you protect our national security, but that can’t just be a shield to keep the American public from basic information on what these UAPs are. Are they ours? Are they domestic? Foreign adversaries? Or is there some other rationale for why they exist?”

During the hearing, Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) questioned Mr. Grusch and the other witnesses about the threat these UAPs could potentially pose.

“I posed the question, ‘Does UAP technology potentially pose an existential threat to the national security of the United States of America?’ And all three of the witnesses answered, ‘Yes,'” he said. “Congress has a responsibility now to move forward aggressively to get to the answers of these questions, even if it’s in a secure environment.”

Reverse Engineering

Understanding and reproducing UAP technology became a major point of interest in the hearing, as Mr. Grusch described the alleged UAP crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program. Mr. Grusch said he had notified the Intelligence Community Inspector General of at least some locations where this program is going on.

David Fravor, a retired U.S. Navy commander and F-18 pilot, described a 2004 incident in which his and another aircraft were dispatched to investigate an ariel phenomenon that had been appearing on the command ship’s radar for about two weeks. He described a “small, white, Tic Tac-shaped object” that moved rapidly across the water’s surface before vanishing and appearing, arriving at a location about 60 miles away in less than a minute despite having no identifiable means of propulsion.

“The Tic Tac Object that we engaged in Nov 2004 was far superior to anything that we had at the time, have today, or are looking to develop in the next 10 [plus] years,” Mr. Fravor wrote in his prepared testimony ahead of the hearing.

Mr. Ogles said that while the U.S. government possesses UAP technology, it’s essential to keep it out of the wrong hands.

“One of those questions that needs to be asked is what agencies are involved in the reverse engineering? How is that information being protected to make sure that it’s secure and in our best interest and doesn’t fall into enemy hands?” Mr. Ogles said.

Mr. Moskowitz said “the idea that there could be weapons projects that are unsanctioned or that we don’t have oversight of, I mean, that’s problematic.”

Despite the secrecy surrounding the U.S. government’s control of UAP technology, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said he did not believe the motives of the U.S. government have been nefarious. On the other hand, he shared concerns about foreign espionage.

“If you have espionage from other countries and things like that, I’d rather we have that than China or Russia,” Mr. Burchett said.

While these mysterious UAPs could pose a national security threat, they could also potentially advance the capabilities of the U.S. military if they can be effectively reverse-engineered.

“I’m concerned that we’re not utilizing this technology to the maximum extent possible,” committee witness Ryan Graves told NTD News after the hearing. “We have a lot of technological needs that we have to be filled, and if there is technology out there that could help, this would be the time.”

Mr. Graves is a former U.S. Navy lieutenant who also flew F-18s and testified to having witnessed UAPs “on multiple sensor systems firsthand” during his military career. Mr. Graves now serves as the executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace, an organization that has sought to investigate UAP encounters by military and civilian pilots.

While efforts are underway to reverse engineer this UAP technology, researchers may yet be vexed by things well beyond their current understanding.

“I’m a motorcycle guy. So if I took a Harley Davidson or one of the new Indians and took it back to the people on the Mayflower, yeah, they could shine it, they wouldn’t be able to fix the carburetor, wouldn’t change the plugs, I might be able to figure out where the gas goes, I might get it started. But that’s sort of where we’re at with the reverse engineering,” Mr. Burchett said after the hearing. “You know, it’s just so much ahead of us.”

Transparency Challenges

Mr. Grusch said the UAP crash-retrieval and reverse-engineering program has been operating with a level of secrecy above and beyond Congressional oversight.

Mr. Burchett described members of Congress requesting information about UAPs from the military, only to be denied.

“We’re supposed to be telling them what to do, not the other way around,” Mr. Burchett said after the hearing.

One way government actors may be avoiding oversight is by outsourcing the study of recovered UAP technology to private companies. Mr. Burchett told reporters after the hearing that UAP research “has been handed off to people within the business community so that there is no FOIA for you, that you all in the press have no access.”

Addressing members of the press directly, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) called for their support in helping to force greater transparency.

“You guys also should be asking these questions of the intelligence community because we can only do so much as members. That’s where you guys really pick up the slack. Right? So keep the pressure on,” she said.

Another issue Mr. Burchett raised was that military pilots who have encountered UAPs have felt pressure to conceal or even destroy evidence of their encounters for fear of negative career repercussions.

“They do destroy the evidence because they don’t want to come back and be pulled off the flight line,” Mr. Burchett said. “Now they say they’re, you know, they’re debriefed, but it’s eight hours, they’re interrogated, they’re pulled off the flight line. These guys don’t make a lot of money. They’re flying a $50 million piece of machinery, yet they’re treated like dogs. And then on the backside, they get a blemish on their record.”

Several of the lawmakers proposed using the power of the purse strings to tie up government agencies that fight to keep UAP technology secret.

“There are things that Congress could do to defund salaries, agencies and programs,” Mr. Ogles told NTD News.

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