The United States Congress held the first hearing on UFOs since the 1960s, and it went about as well as those of us in the reality-based community could have hoped. In the hearing, called in a subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee by Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), who recently admitted to getting his UFO ideas from cable TV and media articles, naval intelligence officer Scott Bray and Defense Department intelligence official Ronald Moultrie effectively made the case that the flap over UFOs is a tempest in a teapot driven by sensationalism.
Bray stated point-blank that there is no evidence for extraterrestrials, and we also heard that there is no crashed UFO wreckage in the government’s possession. The best videos the government has are not full HD glamour shots of imperial cruisers as major UFO figures claimed but fuzzy dots and grainy lights. Moultrie also stated that the unexplained UFO cases in videos like those were likely inexplicable only because the incidents did not generate enough data to draw a conclusion, no because the objects were inexplicable, supernatural, or extraterrestrial.
It really made Lue Elizondo, who was not present and stayed silent on social media, look like a fool for making so many wild claims that were so quickly dismissed.
Carson, clearly a believer, name-checked UFO huckster Jeremy Corbell and appeared to praise the leak of UFO videos, a very strange position for an intelligence committee member charged with safeguarding national security to take. Bray and Moultrie made mincemeat of Corbell’s leaked “pyramid UFO” video, dismissing the “best” UFO video in history, as Corbell put it, as nothing more than bokeh, a camera effect acting on small drones. Ditto the “transmedium” UFO, which was a drone that fell out of the sky.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) acquitted himself especially poorly, spinning UFO conspiracy theories drawn directly from UFO Twitter fever-dreams and moving to enter into the Congressional Record the so-called Wilson-Davis document—a write up of notes by UFO loon Eric Davis claiming Adm. Thomas Wilson of DIA confirmed the reverse-engineering of the crashed Roswell saucer. Wilson has denounced the document as a fraud, and even John Greenwald, who thinks it’s authentic, believes it’s more fan fiction by Davis than a chronicle of real events.
At the end of the hearing, Ronald Moultrie discussed the problem of misinformation in response to a question by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Iowa), who asked about “amateur interest groups”—obviously referencing To the Stars Academy, the various lobbying efforts its former members spun off from it, and the many UFO propagandists.
LaHood: As we talk about, and I would say there’s a lot of what I would call amateur interest groups that are involved in the UAP field, my question is when there are unsubstantiated claims or manufactured claims of UAPs or kind of false information that’s put out there, what are the consequences for people that are involved with that or groups that are involved with that?
Then, just because it’s government, they talked about how to use the law to crack down on First Amendment rights to stop misinformation and hold “interest groups” responsible for their lies.
However you cut it, it was a bad showing for ufology, but it did show that I was right to get information about the “amateur interest groups” into The New Republic where official Washington could see it. During the hearing, the managing editor of C-SPAN tweeted out a link to my first New Republic UFO piece, and I’d like to think my work offered at least a little push in the right direction.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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