While Congress gears up for the first public hearings on UFOs in more than 50 years, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are quietly battling over how to comply with mandates to study the phenomena and share their knowledge, former and current national security officials told Politico.
The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, and ''will give the American people an opportunity to learn what there is to know,'' according to Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., who chairs the panel.
According to Politico, it is the first hearing to be held by a congressional committee on the subject since 1966 and comes five months after the National Defense Authorization Act compelled the military to create the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group to gather and investigate reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin.
Four former and current officials told Politico that an internal struggle is taking place between the Pentagon and intelligence agencies over how best to fulfill Congress' request and how much to reveal to oversight committees.
The legislation also requires that oversight committees be kept apprised of new incidents involving ''unidentified aerial phenomena'' (UAP) through regular public and classified reports, including prior information or investigations discovered in government repositories or testimony.
''Without forcing peoples' hands, it is going to be very difficult to uncover legacy ventures and programs that we know about based on oral interviews we dug up,'' a Defense Department official told Politico. ''There has to be a forcing mechanism.''
The official is involved in the new project but was not authorized to speak publicly.
According to the official, there are people who know about the phenomena but have not yet contributed to the effort.
''These people exist, and they are protecting very interesting information,'' they said.
Two current officials told Politico they are concerned that unusual incidents are being grouped with more common occurrences and aren't being investigated.
''They're like, you know, five things out of 5,000, we weren't sure what they were,'' an intelligence official who was not authorized to speak told Politico.
He added that his superiors viewed UAPs as ''all air trash.''
The official thinks the department is not tackling ''the whole tapestry of the multi-tech problem that we have.''
''They really dragged their feet on this,'' the defense official told Politico. ''I don't think they have taken it very seriously.''
The overarching question is potentially whether the Pentagon is divulging everything to Congress.
A bloc inside military and intelligence agencies exists, according to the intelligence official, ''that … takes this subject very seriously.''
''They fetishize their secret society,'' the official said. ''It's kind of a Skull and Bones-type vibe. They take it seriously, but they have no accountability. Zero. There is a whole group of us that know in great detail this subject, a lot of which has not been reported to Congress because of security issues.''
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