According to congressional officials who spoke to Politico, three senators received a classified briefing from the Pentagon on Wednesday regarding Navy encounters with unidentified aircraft. The briefing is one of a number of recent requests from oversight committee members following a report in May of Navy pilots who frequently saw Tic Tac-looking UFOs flying off the southeast coast of the United States between 2014 and 2015.
“If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of,” said a spokesperson for Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. An active intelligence official confirmed to Politico that “more requests for briefings are coming in.” And a former government official, who has been present for some of the meetings with lawmakers, added that representatives and support staff on the Intelligence, Armed Services, and Defense Appropriations panels are “coming out of the woodwork” to obtain the information. The briefings have reportedly been organized by the Navy, and have included staff from the under secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
Despite his interest in a Space Force — even if it’s only a fundraising tool — Trump doesn’t seem engaged by the fact that he has more access to unredacted information on UFOs than, presumably, any other terrestrial being. “I did have one very brief meeting on it,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”
But former Nevada senator Harry Reid, the godfather of the recent push to normalize the discussion of UFOs within government, remains quite invested. In an interview with Nevada’s KNPR last week, Reid said that he would encourage lawmakers to hold public hearings on the matter: “They would be surprised how the American public would accept it. People from their individual states would accept it.”
When Reid was Senate majority leader in 2007, he allocated $22 million of the massive defense budget to the study of military sightings of UFOs. “That money was spent developing page after page of information,” Reid told KNPR. “There’s been a lot of activity since that.”
Since the existence of Reid’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program broke in December 2017, the Navy has taken a major step in cutting the stigma around personnel sightings of UFOs. In April, the branch announced it is “updating and formalizing the process” of UFO reports by its pilots in an attempt to analyze the phenomenon from a more scientific approach. Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told the Washington Post at the time that it was “the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.”