NASHVILLE — U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, says he is "100%" convinced the federal government and Pentagon officials are covering up information about unidentified flying objects and unidentified aerial phenomena, known as UFOs and UAPs.
Burchett and colleagues hope to shed more light on the issue Wednesday during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing on anomalous phenomena and its implications on national security, public safety and government transparency.
"We've requested documents, we've gone to interview pilots and been stonewalled by our Pentagon. It's ridiculous. It's been going on since the '40s," Burchett said Saturday in a Fox News interview. "We are taking the gloves off. ... We're done with the coverups."
The subcommittee will hear firsthand accounts of unidentified phenomena and assess threats while highlighting legislative efforts to bring transparency to the issue.
"The Pentagon and Washington bureaucrats have kept this information hidden for decades, and we're finally going to shed some light on this," Burchett said in a subcommittee statement. "We're bringing in credible witnesses who can provide public testimony because the people deserve the truth. We're done with the coverups."
Before winning election to Congress in 2018, Burchett served two terms as Knox County mayor. Prior to that, he served in the General Assembly, first as a representative and later as a senator.
The congressman told Knoxville television station WVLT in a recent interview he became interested in the issue at a "very young age" after finding books on UFOs and other topics on a table in the local public library.
"There was all this wild stuff," Burchett said, including information about UFOs and the 1947 "Roswell incident" in New Mexico where metallic and rubber debris was recovered from a crash with Roswell Army Air Field personnel initially issuing a news release announcing they had found a "flying disc."
Decades later, the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force concluded in a 1994 report spurred by a General Accounting Office inquiry the debris recovered was from a U.S. Army Air Force balloon-borne research project called MOGUL. The report said "alien bodies" appeared to be Air Force members who died or were injured while on duty.
Burchett told WVLT that "military intelligence is really like congressional ethics. It doesn't exist."
He said several military pilots will be testifying, among them David Rush, a decorated combat officer who served in Afghanistan and has described his experiences serving on a UAP task force. Also expected to testify is David Ver, a former Navy commander that Burchett said shot the "famous Tic Tac" incident with video of a whitish oval object encountered by two Navy fighter jets off the coast of San Diego in 2004.
Burchett said there have been 14 "near-miss incidents" reported by pilots. Pilots are being put at risk, he added.
"You got to ask yourself why would they lie about it? ... All I want is transparency. Let's get to the bottom of it," Burchett told the Knoxville station. "Quit sending us these redacted files."
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said at a recent White House press briefing that the Biden administration was taking the UFO issue seriously, Politico reported.
"The Pentagon has stood up an entire organization to help collate and coordinate the reporting and analysis of sightings of UAP across the military," Kirby said. "Before that, there wasn't really a coordinated, integrated effort to do that."
"They're not telling the truth," Burchett said told Fox News. "The hearings that they've had have been bogus."
While speaking to WVLT, Burchett said, "I'm 100% convinced it is not any of our enemies or allies, which means 'Skunk Works' or extraterrestrial. If it was the Russians, they wouldn't be battling in Ukraine. If it was China, they would control us."
Skunk Works is an official pseudonym for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs.
U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Culleoka, is sponsoring a House resolution to censure U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, after the congresswoman called Israel a "racist state."
The resolution accuses Jayapal, who leads a group of House progressives, of having "promoted antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment through her congressional career."
Jayapal, a critic of both Israel's policies toward Palestinians as well as its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, first sought to clarify her remarks, then apologized for them.
The Republican-led House last week passed a resolution on a 412-9-1 vote to express support for Israel and say it is "not a racist or apartheid state" while also rejecting antisemitism and xenophobia. It declared the U.S. "will always be a staunch supporter" of the Jewish state.
Jayapal voted in favor of the resolution. Nine progressive Democrats voted no.
Ogles later introduced his separate resolution, stating on Twitter, "I hope all of my House colleagues join me in condemning the antisemitism perpetuated by @RepJayapal."
In a text over the weekend to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in response to questions, Ogles called Jayapal's statement "unacceptable."
"Israel is America's greatest ally in the Middle East, and to call it 'racist' is not only disgustingly antisemitic but threatens the strength of the relationship between our nations. Unfortunately, my colleague's remarks don't come as much of a surprise considering her time in Congress has been riddled with anti-Israel sentiments and pro-terrorist comments. Antisemitism is not to be tolerated, which is why I introduced a resolution."
He added he hopes "all my fellow representatives join me in condemning her hateful and problematic speech."
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com.