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U.S. recovered non-human 'biologics' from UFO crash sites, former intel official says

Ryan Graves, executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace (left), retired Air Force Maj. David Grusch and retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor are sworn in during a House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing on UFOs on Wednesday.
Nathan Howard
Ryan Graves, executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace (left), retired Air Force Maj. David Grusch and retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor are sworn in during a House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing on UFOs on Wednesday.

Three military veterans testified in Congress' highly anticipated hearing on UFOs Wednesday, including a former Air Force intelligence officer who claimed the U.S. government has operated a secret "multi-decade" reverse engineering program of recovered vessels. He also said the U.S. has recovered non-human "biologics" from alleged crash sites.

But while the topic of "little green men" did come up, much of the discussion centered on improving processes for reporting unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs — the military's term for UFOs (increasingly, UAP refers to "anomalous" rather than "aerial" phenomena, to account for sightings in both air and water).

There are also calls to remove the stigma for aviators who report UAP sightings and to ensure oversight of government programs that investigate them.

Retired Maj. David Grusch, who went from being part of the Pentagon's UAP Task Force to becoming a whistleblower, told the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee that he had been denied access to some government UFO programs but that he knows the "exact locations" of UAPs in U.S. possession.

You can watch the hearing here:

In response to public interest and political pressure, federal and military agencies have shared a trove of information about unexplained aircraft encounters — but many sightings have been found to be of pedestrian origin, from weather balloons to drones, airborne trash, and birds.

On Wednesday, Defense Department spokeswoman Susan Gough issued a statement saying the Pentagon's inquiries had not turned up "any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently," as The Associated Press reports.

Grusch also alleged that the U.S. has retrieved "non-human" biological matter from the pilots of the crafts, adding, "That was the assessment of people with direct knowledge on the [UAP] program I talked to, that are currently still on the program."

While he refrained from sharing any further information in the public hearing, Grusch offered to disclose details behind closed doors.

Grusch said he hasn't personally seen any alien vehicles or alien bodies, and that his opinions are based on the accounts of over 40 witnesses he interviewed over four years in his role with the UAP task force.

"My testimony is based on information I have been given by individuals with a longstanding track record of legitimacy and service to this country — many of whom also shared compelling evidence in the form of photography, official documentation, and classified oral testimony," Grusch said, adding that the trove of evidence has been intentionally kept secret from Congress.

Several times during the hearing, Grusch deflected lawmakers' questions, saying he could only elaborate in a SCIF — a sensitive compartmented information facility. Those instances include when he was asked if the government has had any contact with aliens and whether anyone had been murdered to cover up information about "extraterrestrial technology." Grusch said he couldn't comment.

The former intelligence officer also told the panel that he and several other colleagues have been the targets of "administrative terrorism," and that he has at times feared for his life since coming forward.

"It was very brutal and very unfortunate. Some of the tactics they used to hurt me both professionally and personally," he said, adding that there is currently an open investigation into the matter.

UAP sightings are not rare or isolated

The subcommittee also heard testimony from former Navy fighter pilot Ryan Graves and retired Cmdr. David Fravor about their alleged encounters with aircraft of an unexplained origin.

Graves recounted an incident with a flying object off the coast of Virginia Beach in 2014. While flying an F-18, he said, he came upon an aircraft that looked like a "dark gray or black cube inside of a clear sphere" that he estimated to be five to 15 feet in diameter and unlike any aircraft he has ever seen. Grave claimed the UAP could remain stationary despite hurricane-force winds.

He told lawmakers that his squadron submitted a safety report at the time but that he received no official acknowledgment of the incident. According to the former pilot, UAP encounters in that region were "not rare or isolated."

Graves has since founded Americans for Safe Aerospace, a group that supports aviators who have reported UAPs. He stated that the objects that are reportedly being seen by military and commercial pilots "are performing maneuvers that are unexplainable due to our current understanding of our technology and our capabilities as a country."

He added: "If everyone could see the sensor and video data I witnessed, our national conversation would change."

"Incredible technology" unlike anything we have

Retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor offered the panel his own eerie account of a UAP encounter that was captured on video in 2004. (The Pentagon released the video to the public in 2020.)

Fravor described being flabbergasted when he and three other service members saw a white "Tic Tac"-shaped flying object emerge over the San Diego coast in California.

"There were no rotors, no rotor wash, or any visible flight control surfaces like wings," he said of the UAP.

As he and the other pilots tried to get closer to the mysterious craft, "it rapidly accelerated and disappeared right in front of our aircraft," leaving no detectable turbulence.

"The technology that we faced was far superior than anything that we had," Fravor said. "I'm not a UFO fanatic. But what we saw with four sets of eyes — we have nothing close to it. It was incredible technology."

Fravor said it was several years before any officials followed up on the extraordinary events of the day and even then, he added, "nothing was done."

Gasps from the overflow room

The highly anticipated hearing was open to the public; people waited for hours to secure a spot for the hearing.

A 22-year-old from New York City who asked to remain anonymous — "due to stigma that still persists around the subject" — told NPR he made plans to attend "knowing that it's something that could be a historic moment."

From an overflow room with about 100 other enthralled spectators, he watched as Grusch, Graves and Fravor — men with long careers in the military — shared their experiences.

Out of context, he said, their stories "sound fantastical" but given the credentials of all three witnesses, he said he's a believer.

And he wasn't the only one.

"There was definitely a gasp and everyone was definitely a little bit shocked," he said, "when Grusch was talking about non-human biologics." There was a similar response when Grusch later touched on the personal retaliation he suffered, according to the man.

Why now?

The hearing is the latest push by Congress to pressure intelligence agencies for more transparency about UAPs, arguing that they're a matter of national security.

"UAPs, whatever they may be, may pose a serious threat to our military and our civilian aircraft, and that must be understood," said Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California. "We should encourage more reporting, not less, on UAPs. The more we understand, the safer we will be."

Grusch, Graves and Fravor echoed similar sentiments, saying they would like to see a "safe and transparent'' centralized reporting system. The men added that they are hopeful the public discourse is the first step toward eliminating the stigma around reports of UAPs to encourage others to come forward.

Graves, the ex-Navy pilot, estimated that only about 5% of UAP sightings are reported to the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"I urge us to put aside stigma and address the security and safety issue this topic represents," Graves said. "If UAP are foreign drones, it is an urgent national security problem. If it is something else, it is an issue for science. In either case, unidentified objects are a concern for flight safety. The American people deserve to know what is happening in our skies. It is long overdue."

Since it was formed last summer, the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office has received 366 reports of UAPs.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.