As we recently discussed, the first public congressional hearings on UFOs (or UAP if you insist) in more than fifty years took place recently and it held quite a few surprises. The witnesses may not have been particularly well informed on some topics and tabled a number of questions to be dealt with in the classified portion of the hearing that followed, but it was obvious that the committee members were well informed on the subject matter and raised many key issues. Not everyone was as impressed with the proceedings, however, and felt that there was a great deal of ground left uncovered. One of these people was Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant Defense secretary for intelligence, along with multiple other positions in the defense and intelligence communities. In an opinion piece at The Hill, Mellon praises the efforts made by the committee but also points out a number of questions that were badly in need of follow-up queries, as well as additional, obvious questions which should have been pursued. Quoting from the article, these include the opportunity to:
- Determine if the government’s new UAP classification guide strikes a proper balance between public transparency and national security;
- Assess the progress being made in establishing the new, congressionally mandated Department of Defense-Director of National Intelligence (DOD-DNI) organization to investigate UAPs;
- Determine whether America’s massive space surveillance apparatus is detecting anomalies in space comparable to those being detected in the atmosphere and in the ocean;
- Determine whether progress has been made in overcoming Air Force resistance to sharing information with the UAP task force and its successor, a problem acknowledged in the unclassified UAP report provided to Congress last June.
- Validate or eliminate a number of prolific, sensational rumors involving UAP and the U.S. government.
All of these topics should be on the table, as well as other subjects Mellon brings up in the rest of the article. But there are a few that stand out in particular.
Several committee members did sprinkle their opening statements and questions for the witnesses with references to the need to be transparent with the public to increase confidence in the government and address some questions that are as old as mankind. Congressman Andre Carson and others also asked these leaders in the new UAP office if they could commit to “eliminate no possibilities” and follow the evidence “no matter where it leads.” This was an obvious reference to the possibility that some UAP may be of extraterrestrial origin and they were seeking assurances that such an answer would not be waved off out of hand. The men insisted that everything is on the table, though I wasn’t brimming with confidence over how firmly they held those intentions.
As to the matter of classification, one of the witnesses was the person responsible for establishing the current classification system which locks off each and every item in the possession of the UAP Task Force as being Secret or Top Secret. This is simply unacceptable, particularly when it comes to materials that have previously been out in the wild and confirmed by the Pentagon. I hope that future hearings will be more aggressive on this matter. I’m sure most reasonable people will be on board with the idea of protecting classified sources and methods, but materials such as photos and videos can have such identifying markings removed easily enough.
Of far less critical importance, but still a constant topic of discussion in the online community was the issue of the name of the new office. The witnesses were pronouncing AOIMSG as “aimsog” or something like that. Not for nothing, but that’s a terrible acronym. The witnesses suggested that a new name is in the works. I would hope they would just go back to ASTRO, which was attached to the Gillibrand amendment that created the office and has more of a “spacey” feel to it.
I also agree with Mellon that not enough probing was done during the first hearing to determine the level of cooperation that the office has been receiving from various military and government agencies who have traditionally not supplied any noticeable level of cooperation on the UAP topic as far as the public is aware. The Air Force has left itself open to sustained criticism in that regard, but the Department of Energy is an even bigger perpetrator when it comes to stonewalling on this subject. Have those agencies assigned people to work with the office as the law now requires? And have they been cooperating fully? We should be able to hear answers to questions like those in a public setting.
Mellon also mentioned either validating or eliminating “a number of prolific, sensational rumors involving UAP and the U.S. government.” I would argue that some of that was explored during the first hearing, particularly when the storied Wilson-Davis memo was entered into the Congressional record. But it was even more disappointing to then hear the two witnesses, both of whom are now highly placed in this organization, claim that they weren’t even familiar with the subject. I’m sure there will be many more such instances, but we’ll need time to feed them all into the new machinery.
The latest hints we’ve been receiving suggest that another public hearing will take place in the Senate sometime after Congress returns from recess. If so, I would like to suggest that more witnesses who have direct experience with UAP encounters and the government’s investigations be called. And perhaps find someone to testify who has at least heard of the Malmstrom Air Base UFO incident.