Why Are Senators Suddenly Being Briefed on UFOs?

Photo credit: Photo 12 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Photo 12 - Getty Images

From Popular Mechanics

This week, three U.S. Senators were briefed by the Pentagon about the Navy reportedly encountering unidentified aircraft over the years-the latest group of government officials, including President Trump, to receive classified information about UFO sightings. The recent briefings and a renewed government interest in UFOs, as reported by Politico, begs the question: Why now?

As you’d expect, the information passed on by the Pentagon in the secret sessions is highly classified. But a spokesperson for one Senator involved in the meetings, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), explained his intrigue and request for more intel.

“If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of,” said his spokesperson, Rachel Cohen, in a statement. Warner is the current vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Earlier this week, President Trump told ABC News in an interview that he had also been briefed about UFOs, but didn’t seem especially interested in-or convinced by-their existence.

“I want them to think whatever they think,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos. “They do say … I mean, I’ve seen, and I’ve read, and I’ve heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”

When Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he thought he’d know if there was evidence of extraterrestrials, the President responded, “Well I think my great, our great pilots would know, and some of them really see things that are a little bit different than in the past,” he said. “So we’re gonna see. But we’ll watch it and you’re gonna be the first to know.”

Until the leader of the free world reveals the long-awaited truth about aliens to George Stephanopoulos, however, we can only speculate as to why the federal government is suddenly UFO-curious. Politico pinpoints the resurgence back to late 2017, when the New York Times revealed the Defense Department’s secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program had investigated reports of UFOs, some of which came from the Navy.

One such sighting: In 2004, two F/A-18F Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz were flying 100 miles off the coast of San Diego when a nearby Navy guided missile carrier, the USS Princeton, alerted them to two unknown objects, which the jets later flew to investigate: a larger underwater object that was “much larger than a submarine,” and a second “wingless, white” and “oblong” object that hovered 50 feet above the water and moved erratically. Here’s the infrared video of the encounter:

In 2018, a second video was released that showed another Navy run-in with a puzzling, fast-moving object. The video was taken in 2015 off the East Coast by a F/A-18F fighter jet using the aircraft’s onboard Raytheon AN/ASQ- 228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pod.

Politico reports that more requests for briefings from members of Congress are rolling in, with one former government official telling the publication, “There are people coming out of the woodwork.” So more than 70 years after the first documented sighting, UFOs are just as mysterious as ever-but maybe we’re getting closer to finally uncovering some answers.

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