‘A Skull and Bones-type vibe’: Spy agencies grapple with how much to share at UFO hearing
Congress may need to create incentives to get national security officials to talk.
Ronald Moultrie testifies next to other officials during a House hearing.
As Congress prepares to hold the first public hearing on UFOs in half a century, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are feuding internally over how much to cooperate with demands to investigate and share what they know, according to current and former national security officials.
Pentagon officials are under increasing pressure to carry out Congress’ recent mandate to establish a permanent effort to coordinate research into reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin intruding into protected airspace.
The law also requires regular classified and public reports to oversight committees on new incidents involving “unidentified aerial phenomena,” including previous information or investigations that are uncovered in government repositories or testimony.
But there is a tug of war among competing factions inside the national security bureaucracy that will make it difficult for Congress to compel military branches, spy agencies, national laboratories and other organizations to come clean given the longstanding secrecy and stigma surrounding the issue.
“Without forcing peoples’ hand, it is going to be very difficult to uncover legacy ventures and programs that we know about based on oral interviews we dug up,” said a Defense Department official who is involved in the new effort but was not authorized to speak publicly. “There has to be a forcing mechanism.”
“There has to be something to hold people accountable but also give them a chance to come out clean for a period of time,” the official added, noting that in his experience the Pentagon oversight group has been “stonewalled.”
The official said there are people with knowledge of the phenomena who have yet to contribute to the oversight effort.
“These people exist and they are protecting very interesting information,” the official said.
The public hearing, the first to be held by a congressional committee since 1966, is scheduled for Tuesday before the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee.
“It will give the American people an opportunity to learn what there is to know about these incidents,” the panel’s chair, Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), said in announcing the hearing last week.
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