The First House Panel on Unexplained Phenomena in 50 Years
The panel is focusing on military reports of "unexplained phenomena," which is the official term for reports of UFOs. It's also offering lawmakers a chance to ask questions of the Pentagon, especially why reports aren't very detailed and the Pentagon's plan to be more forthcoming in the future.
In late 2017, a Pentagon employee named Luis Elizondo met with a freelance writer. He had quit his job the day before, writing a resignation letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. For the last seven years, he had been in charge of running a $22 million Pentagon program that investigated military reports of UFOs. He resigned to become a whistleblower, in the name of national security.
A brief quote from his resignation letter: "Bureaucratic challenges and inflexible mindsets continue to plague the department at all levels... The department must take serious the many accounts by the Navy and other services of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond next-generation capabilities... There remains a vital need to ascertain the capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation.”
"[There is] very compelling evidence we may not be alone."
Luis Elizondo // December 2017
Luis said in an interview with GQ published in November 2021, "I've got to be careful, I can’t speak too specifically, but one might imagine that you get a report from a pilot who says, 'Lue, it's really weird. I was flying and I got close to this thing and I came back home and it was like I got a sunburn. I was red for four days.'"
"Well, that's a sign of radiation. That's not a sunburn; it's a radiation burn. Then [a pilot] might say, if [they] had got a little closer, 'Lue, I'm at the hospital. I've got symptoms that are indicative of microwave damage, meaning internal injuries, and even in my brain there's some morphology there.'
"And then you might get somebody who gets really close and says, 'You know, Lue, it's really bizarre. It felt like I was there for only five minutes, but when I looked at my watch 30 minutes went by, but I only used five minutes worth of fuel. How is that possible?'
"Well, there's a reason for that, we believe, and it probably has to do with warping of space time."
Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)
Started in 2007 by then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP) investigated unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP). The AAWSAP was later renamed to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). Senator Reid was a senator for the state of Nevada, where Area 51 is located and the wreckage from the 1947 Roswell crash was taken. The program was appropriated $22 million for five years.
U.S. intelligence officials were collecting over 300 reports of people who had encountered UFOs, and some also experienced inexplicable health effects, including paralysis, electric shocks and even "permanent healing."
Among the other reported effects are: apparent abductions (129 reported cases), electromagnetic effects on vehicles (77), perceived time loss (75), burns (41), electrical shocks (23), force field impacts (18), and sexual encounters (5).
The Department of Defense stated that the program was terminated when the appropriations ran out, but after the AATIP was publicized in 2017, its exact status and theoretical termination are still unclear.
Luis says that even though the government funding technically ran out in 2012, the program continued as a joint operation between the Navy and the CIA.
The Pentagon confirmed in 2020 that Luis' claims, in addition to others' that the program continued to exist even after funding ran out.
The House Panel
Top Pentagon officials told lawmakers that there are almost 400 military reports of UFO encounters, a major increase from the mere 144 mentioned in a report released last year.
Indiana Rep. André Carson, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, said "For too long the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis," he added. "Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did."