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Is there evidence of extraterrestrial life? Congress tries to figure it out

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The administration to improve transparency and reduce stigma for both military and commercial pilots who report sightings.


WASHINGTON — During an otherworldly hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, lawmakers and witnesses launched accusations that the Pentagon is stonewalling Congress and the public from information about unidentified anomalous phenomena, more often referred to as UFOs.

That includes a 2014 encounter when a "dark gray or black cube inside a clear sphere" traveled within 50 feet of two U.S. fighter jets off the coast of Virginia, according to witness testimony.

The enigma brought together both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on a GOP-led U.S. House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee in imploring high-ranking military and intelligence officials to clear the air on potential malevolent activity, clandestine military weapons development, or even the existence of extraterrestrial life.

"The lack of transparency regarding UAPs has fueled wild speculation and debate for decades eroding public trust in the very institutions that are meant to serve and protect them, as is evidenced by the large amount of people we have here," said Wisconsin GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman, chair of the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border and Foreign Affairs.

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"We must demand transparency from the Department of Defense, our intelligence community and our defense industry on the UAP work," Grothman said in his opening statement.

The discovery in February of a Chinese surveillance balloon hovering over Montana days after it entered U.S. airspace above Alaska heightened anxiety and attention about UAPs, traditionally referred to as unidentified flying objects. The balloon traversed the contiguous U.S. and was shot down by the U.S. military off the coast of South Carolina. China's government denied the craft's spying capabilities.

Lawmakers on the oversight panel displayed wide-ranging skepticism, raising conjecture and questions about possible involvement from defense contractors, cover-ups of crash sites and debris, and harassment and intimidation of both military and commercial pilots who report sightings.



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