Washington (CNN) — Members of the House Intelligence Committee will receive a secret briefing Wednesday morning on one of the most controversial topics circling Washington today: UFOs.
The enigma of UFOs as seen by American pilots 3:34
The briefing, which was confirmed to CNN by two sources familiar with the commission’s plans, comes just weeks before US intelligence agencies are to submit an unclassified account of the case to Congress. Wednesday’s briefing will be conducted by the Navy and the FBI, according to a commission source.
The fact that Congress receives reports and intelligence agencies report what the Pentagon has dubbed UAP (which stands for “Unidentified Light Freak”) is in itself extraordinary. After years of power struggles in Washington, including bureaucratic wrangling at the Pentagon and pressure from some members of Congress, the US government finally appears to be taking seriously what has long been considered a side issue.
Even as the number of unexplained object sightings reached into the hundreds, Pentagon officials struggled with the time and fortune that needed to be devoted to their investigation. Interviews with half a dozen officials and documents reviewed by CNN reveal that an American martial and intelligence community is struggling to pull the problem out of the world of science fiction and its implications into the existing world for homeland security. .
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Even now, multiple sources tell CNN that the affiliate almost certainly wouldn’t have produced the story without public pressure from lawmakers essentially because both Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest in the issue.
While former senior defense officials familiar with the latest iteration of area investigations say the Pentagon took it seriously, some pilots and former officials tasked with investigating the matter say senior officials of the Pentagon downplayed or ignored the investigation. .
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“Anyone who has paid enough attention to it understands it needs to be taken seriously,” said former Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, who created a task force to investigate UAPs in 2020. “But once you get out of that circle, you find people who don’t want to believe they believe in conspiracy theories.”
For the most serious people inside the Pentagon who investigate the strange happenings, the former officials said, the investigation is not about proving aliens are visiting Earth and hanging out with Navy pilots. Specifically, it’s being traded to figure out what’s behind these unexplained encounters in America’s wispy space, with some officials particularly concerned that it could be some kind of next-gen coexisting technology being implemented. by China or Russia.
“Yes [estos objetos] If they had the Russian flag on their tape, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Norquist said. “Any one of them would be flagged; everyone would know.”
The enigma of UFOs as seen by American pilots 3:34
The story, which is due to be presented to Congress in late June, is unlikely to settle the debate, or provide the kind of juicy details ufologists have been hoping for, such as confirmation that strange sightings of U.S. Navy alien pilots United States were spaceships.
A branch official noted that many incidents in the Pentagon’s encounter database likely have multiple causes: for example, an unusual weather anomaly combined with the sighting of a weather ball on the horizon. But some could eventually become adversaries operating in the US steam space, this person said.
For that reason alone, officials will likely be reluctant to go into too much detail about what they saw in the next story: If any of these incidents involve Russia, China, or any other state, the United States will not want to show what they have seen. see. knows. for anti-espionage reasons.
Proof that the US government has come into contact with extraterrestrial life, what ufologists call “the revelation”, will have to wait another day.
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The US government has sporadically investigated the aberration for decades. One iteration began in 2007 when the defense field began conducting research known as the Aeronautical Threat Identification Software Detachment. The software officially ended in 2012, although a former area manager says he continued to work part-time until at least 2017.
That same year, the Pentagon confirmed the legality of a Navy video of a conference off San Diego in 2004 that attracted considerable attention in the country. In the video, two Navy F-18 fighter pilots from the aircraft carrier Nimitz chase a white oval object the size of an airplane.
The release of several additional videos in 2018 and 2020, as well as continued advocacy by a small clique of former defense officials and several lawmakers who received extensive briefings on the issue, particularly the former Chief of majority in the Senate Harry Reid, contributed to the “accumulation of Aprils”. “UFO problem,” said a congressional aide.
Luis Elizondo, the former head of advanced aviation threat identification software, resigned in 2017, frustrated that top defense leaders were not taking the issue seriously enough. He argues that skeptical Pentagon leaders ignored the threat, misled the manifesto and harmed his career, according to documents reviewed by CNN, including a complaint Elizondo filed with the area’s generic inspector. defense.
Separately, internal Defense Zone emails reviewed by CNN suggest that until last summer, Pentagon officials defied all attempts to inform the UAP manifesto, including issuing a directive. calling on press secretaries to issue “no comment” instructions when asked about the matter.
According to a July 2020 email, the concern was that “the nuances of it all are such that any deviation from what the Defense Zone says will result in multiple messages and additional requests for Exemption Act multi-level information. “
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In August 2020, Norquist publicly announced the formation of a task force to investigate the matter. The goal, he said, is in part to remove the stigma of pilots talking about strange things they’ve seen. Officials wanted to “start training our pilots and get them to the point where they understand that this is plausible enough. [que] We really need him to chronicle it and he shouldn’t be afraid the region will be upset by saying it.”
At the time, the former official said, the small task force working on the matter understood that the data surrounding those encounters, including radar and other technical information, was not theoretically tampered with or attributed to misuse. pilot’s perception and could refer to an existing event.
“Somehow I had to get rid of the ritual joke,” Norquist said. “But everyone who looked at it understood the information when they saw it, it’s quite plausible [y] We need to investigate why.”
Removing the stigma from serious discussion of UFOs was even the goal of lawmakers in 2020, when they passed a law requiring the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to provide more information about such UFO encounters, details that until recently were largely classified and maintained.
“Everyone realizes that once you start talking about it, it becomes too understandable,” Norquist said. “And, without diversion, if there had ever been a discussion of UFOs in America, we would like to be there.”
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Restoring any credibility to UFO discussions will be a challenge, even after the story reaches Congress. Elizondo believes his career has been derailed due to his enthusiasm for the software, which focuses on managing such encounters.
Others believe it’s because officials like Elizondo got too involved in the tantalizing possibility that the objects are otherworldly, tainting the effort with a sci-fi edge.
“It doesn’t surprise me that someone can work on this software and embrace it as an opportunity, and then get frustrated that others don’t pursue it with the same vigor as the other programs Defense is working on,” said said Norquist.
In the full interpretation of his generic inspector complaint, reviewed by CNN, Elizondo claims senior officials dismissed his UFO work and accuses some of actively trying to discredit him inside the Pentagon and among members. media and undermine it. .
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In his complaint, Elizondo recounts a particularly heated exchange in October 2017, shortly after he submitted his resignation letter, in which a senior Defense Zone official threatened to “tell the family he is alienated”, claiming it could affect your security clearance.
The following month, Elizondo said he had been told the official arrest “could sue him”, after which he said he had decided to hire a lawyer.
CNN’s Barbara Starr and Jeremy Herb contributed to this story.