Jun 21, 2019 I Micah Hanks

UFO Briefings in Washington Continue as Interest in Aerial Phenomenon Deepens

Interest in the UFO subject continues to mount in Washington, as several senators on Capitol Hill have reportedly received briefings on the subject. The news arrives on the heels of a recent statement by President Donald Trump, where he made passing reference to a "brief meeting" he had on UFOs.

Politico's Bryan Bender reports that Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was among those who received the classified briefings.

Bender also appears on History's new Unidentified series, which chronicles the efforts of Luis Elizondo, a former DoD employee who says he headed a Pentagon UFO study during his time with the agency.

It's not surprising that members of Congress are showing interest in the subject, after news that the Navy would be "updating" its reporting procedures with regard to incidents where pilots encountered unidentified flying objects was received with much fanfare several weeks ago.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia (Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

And yet, while the fact that members of Congress are receiving classified briefings on the subject is making news, the question remains as to what, precisely, our current Commander in Chief's "brief meeting" on the subject actually entailed.

Reports by a number of news agencies at that time noted that a "briefing" had occurred, but it should be pointed out that Trump himself never called it this, and actually had very little to say about the subject. When asked if he believed the reports given by Navy pilots, which were featured in a New York Times article several weeks ago, he said "not particularly," expressing to George Stephanopolous that if any additional information was forthcoming he'd be "the first to know."

In terms of party lines, political interest in the UFO subject is mostly favored by Democrats, which includes the aforementioned Mark Warner, and former U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who spoke recently with KNPR Radio out of Las Vegas. Reid was asked during the 45-minute interview about Luis Elizondo, who was referred to by the New York Times in November 2017 as former head of the Pentagon's UFO program, and whether contradictory statements by Pentagon spokespeople had relevance to his former position with the DoD.

According to Reid:

"I've talked to Luis, met him several times. Met him here in Las Vegas recently... Here's one thing that we have to understand with this. First of all, I believe in science. That's what we should be dealing with. But there are some people that have wanted for many years to have... kind of conspiratorial issues... and when they are challenged with real science, they don't like it. So that's the problem we have with this. Then you have people that are just coming on board, and they want to also report 'I saw a flying saucer' and all this, some of which is true, most of it, of course, isn't."

"Elizondo is a real guy," Reid concluded. "A few people [are] out there trying to punch holes in what he is saying and what he does, but he was part of the Defense Department, no question about it, and a man, I think, of veracity."

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Former Senator Harry Reid (Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

While Reid stated that Elizondo held a former position with the DoD, what remains unaccounted for to date is any clear statement that outlines the exact role served by Mr. Elizondo with regard to the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).  Elizondo says he was the head of the program up until his resignation in late 2017.

According to Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood, in correspondence with journalist Kieth Kloor who wrote about this for The Intercept, "Mr. Elizondo had no responsibilities with regard to the AATIP program while he worked in OUSDI [the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence], up until the time he resigned effective 10/4/2017.”

Elizondo and the To the Stars Academy have not issued any official response to the statement. However, it is not inconceivable that there may be circumstances that could have led to confusion on the matter, which may have to do with the nature and scope of Elizondo's prior work with the government.

While information continues to slowly become available about official government interest in unexplained aerial phenomenon, one thing remains very clear: interest in the subject--both on the civilian and governmental levels--is at an unprecedented high, the likes of which have not been seen since the early 1950s, when official USAF studies into the phenomenon began. It's anybody's guess which direction this may take in weeks and months to follow, and whether we will learn anything new of substance in relation to this enduring mystery of the skies.

Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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