Members of Congress and their staffs were given classified briefings on unidentified flying objects by the U.S. Navy with a focus on the potential threats to humans, a Navy spokesperson said Thursday.
The briefings, held on Wednesday, reviewed “efforts to understand and identify these threats to the safety and security of our aviators,” Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told HuffPost in an email.
“Navy officials will continue to keep interested Congressional members and staff informed,” Gradisher continued. Follow-up discussions with “other interested staffers” were scheduled for later Thursday.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was among those briefed, his office confirmed.
“If pilots at Oceana or elsewhere are reporting flight hazards that interfere with training or put them in danger, then Senator Warner wants answers,” Rachel Cohen, a spokeswoman for his office, said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely — we can’t ask our pilots to put their lives at risk unnecessarily.”
The Navy in April revised its rules on how military pilots report encounters with unidentified aircraft. Rather than dismissing the observations, the Navy now acknowledges there have been sightings of unauthorized and unidentified aircraft entering military-controlled ranges and airspace in recent years, Gradisher previously told Politico.
Whether any of the sightings involve extraterrestrials remains up in the air.
It’s only been in recent years that the government has begun publicly acknowledging investigations into reported UFOs.
The Defense Department acknowledged for the first time publicly in 2017 the existence of an Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program that investigates reports of unidentified flying objects. The program was launched in 2007 with the help of then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump, in a recent interview with ABC News, said he has also been briefed on unidentified aircraft sightings.
“I did have one very brief meeting on it,” he said. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”
Still, this week’s briefings on Capitol Hill reflect rising congressional interest, several current and former officials told Politico.
“More requests for briefings are coming in,” a current intelligence official told the outlet.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place