Senators briefed on US Navy's encounters with UFOs: report

Senators briefed on US Navy's encounters with UFOs: report
© Greg Nash

The Navy briefed three senators Wednesday on a number of reported encounters with unidentified aircraft amid growing requests from members of oversight committees.

The office of Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer Bipartisan lawmakers to introduce bill allowing social media users to transfer data Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out MORE (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed the meeting to The Hill.

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“If pilots at Oceana or elsewhere are reporting flight hazards that interfere with training or put them at risk, then Senator Warner wants answers. It doesn’t matter if it’s weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely — we can’t ask our pilots to put their lives at risk unnecessarily,” his spokeswoman, Rachel Cohen, said in a statement.

The Navy did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

Interest surrounding “unidentified aerial phenomenon” has spiked since 2017 after it was revealed that former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment MORE (D-Nev.) requested the Pentagon set up a program to study the issue. Officials reportedly interviewed several current and former sailors and aviators who say they’ve encountered advanced aircraft that defied the laws of aerodynamics. Videos of the aircraft intruding on protected military airspace have also been published. 

Politico first reported in April that the Navy updated its procedures for pilots and other personnel to report such sightings. 

“In response to requests for information from Congressional members and staff, Navy officials have provided a series of briefings by senior Naval Intelligence officials as well as aviators who reported hazards to aviation safety,” the Navy said in a statement to Politico at the time. 

The Senate briefing comes days after President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE said he had been briefed on reports of the sightings. 

“I did have one very brief meeting on it,” he told ABC News. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.” 

Despite the president’s skepticism, officials told Politico that more briefings could be in the pipeline.

“There are people coming out of the woodwork,” said one former government official who has participated in some of the meetings. 

“More requests for briefings are coming in,” a current intelligence official added.