Since 1947, there have been well over 12,000 purported UFO sightings (unidentified flying objects) in the United States alone, including some caught on camera. A few sightings have happened around the infamous Area 51, where the US government is speculated to have found, housed, and tested alien spacecraft as a method of advancing our technologies. No such theories have ever been proved and these conversations have largely existed at the fringes of society. Nonetheless, these sightings keep getting reported, and each one seems as strange as the last.
In recent years, the conversation around what the government now calls UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomena, previously unidentified aerial phenomena) has left the fringes of society and has garnered the attention of elected officials. Concerned with national security risks, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers are pushing to increase transparency around these mysterious sightings and what they mean for American citizens and the world as a whole.
“I Want to Believe” in Bipartisanship
The push to uncover classified UAP information has been going on since at least 2020. The most recent push started with David Grusch, a former US intelligence officer with 14 years of service as a Major in the United States Air Force. Grusch has spent the last two years (2021-2023) as the co-lead of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s UAP program. In June of this year, he became a whistleblower and on July 25th, he testified before congress, saying, “I became a whistleblower…following concerning reports from multiple esteemed and credentialed current and former military and Intelligence Community individuals that the US Government is operating with secrecy - above Congressional oversight - with regards to UAPs.”
Also testifying before Congress was retired Navy Commander David Fravor, who is responsible for the viral “tic-tac” UAP video filmed off the USS Nimitz in 2004 that was declassified in 2019. Along with Grusch’s and Fravor’s testimonies, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released their 2022 Annual Report on UAPs which claims nearly 400 new UAP sightings since July of 2022.
As a result, a much-welcome bipartisan push is trying to increase transparency in regards to the government’s knowledge of these UAP sightings. Reps. Tim Burchett (R-TN) and Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) have led the push to bring UAP discourse to the public along with Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL). In a briefing on July 20th, Burchett stated that, “We’ve had a heck of a lot of pushback about this hearing, there are a lot of people who don’t want this to come to light.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is putting forth legislation to create a commission with authority to declassify government documents about UAPs. He is being joined by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has also supported increased transparency when he led a bipartisan push with Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) to fully fund AARO, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office. AARO’s job is focused with the Department of Defense to resolve UAP sightings, increase data sharing between the DoD and intelligence community, and addressing national security concerns. Joining Sens. Rubio and Gillibrand were Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
Are We Alone?
In 1950, Italian-American Enrico Fermi gave us what is now referred to as the Fermi Paradox, the seemingly abundant possibility for intelligent life in the expanding universe and the lack of proven encounters with said intelligent life. But the Universe is big. Really big. The observable universe is 93 billion lightyears in diameter and that’s just what we can see. That’ll make you feel small. Really small.
Since 1000 BCE, humans have looked at the vastness of the universe and asked ourselves, are we really alone? The idea that we may have visitors from another world is scary, but the idea that we are truly alone scares me more. Either way, our elected officials seem to be playing nicely in the sandbox more than we usually see to give the American people some answers to these very strange sightings.
Carsen Brunn is a Bridging & Content Intern at AllSides. He has a Center Bias.