‘A glowing red orb’: Wild UFO theories pass from obscurity in Congress
Gallagher was quickly dubbed a hero on #UFOtwitter for having the courage to finally hold those responsible for national security accountable. Others expressed surprise that a sitting congressman was willing to go, given the lack of corroborating evidence in the public domain and pop culture’s saturation of the general topic with sci-fi fantasy. rather than facts.
But the retired Marine Corps officer who also sits on the House Armed Services Committee says it’s time to put some of those outlandish theories to rest.
“The sooner the DoD can overturn certain assumptions that it should be able to easily overturn, the better we can focus our time and energy on more plausible assumptions,” he told POLITICO on Wednesday.
During the hearing, Gallagher asked Ronald Moultrie, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, and Scott Bray, the deputy director of naval intelligence, if they were aware of a unverified 2002 document known as the “Wilson-Davis Memo”.
The document, which emerged publicly in 2019, claims to reveal a secret meeting with the then-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency describing a maze of secret government programs hidden from senior officials and congressional oversight committees over crashed UFO materials. and efforts to revamp technology. .
The claims have been hotly debated among ufologists but never substantiated. The Director of the DIA at the time, Vice Admiral Thomas Wilson, would have denied everything. Many national security experts and researchers have also dismissed it as a hoax.
But one of the other main people named in the document, astrophysicist Eric Davis, did not speak about it directly in public, only fueling suspicions that there might be something there.
And Davis hinted at the possibility of some of the claims in the purported memo as recently as last year in an interview with the New York Times.
Davis, who is now a senior project engineer at the government-funded The Aerospace Corporation, declined several interview requests from POLITICO.
“There is nothing we can offer or assist at your request,” a spokesperson for the federal think tank said Wednesday.
As for Moultrie and Bray, they told Gallagher that they were not familiar with the Wilson-Davis document.
But in a separate line of questions by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), witnesses denied any knowledge of government-held UFO material.
“Do we have organic or inorganic materials that we don’t know exist? Himes asked.
“As far as the hardware we have, we don’t have hardware,” Bray replied.
The fact that the document was even discussed – and then placed on the official court record – shocked those who have followed the saga.
“In my work in museums, provenance is paramount,” said Taras Matla, a research fellow with the Galileo Project at Harvard University and associate director of the University of Maryland Art Gallery, where he specializes in art. art and UFOs. “There are indications that the Wilson memo was, indeed, authored by Dr. Davis. However, there is no supporting evidence that the content is true or that they even met in Las Vegas that day. Admiral Wilson denies that the meeting took place.
Nonetheless, he said he believed it contained information “that warrants further investigation” and said Davis should come forward.
“Now that it’s on the record,” Matla said, “I think Dr. Davis has a responsibility to explain himself to Congress and the public.”
John Greenewald, founder of The dark vaultwho obtained declassified national security documents, including on “unmanned aerial phenomena,” also described Gallagher referring to the document as a “palm moment.”
“I think these types of fringe stories are detrimental to the overall conversation,” he said in an email. “The UAP topic contains some amazing, officially verifiable information that deserves closer examination more than this ‘memo’.”
But he also maintained that if Gallagher or others feel differently, “I fully support putting people who come forward in these types of stories under oath and taking their side.”
Gallagher also raised his eyebrows when asking about a far-reaching report of a “brilliant red orb” which would have been observed over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1967, “in which 10 of our nuclear ICBMs were rendered inoperative”.
Government documents made public in the years that followed also suggest that a technical malfunction, however rare, could be responsible.
“I’ve heard stories, I haven’t seen official data on this,” Bray replied.
“I would like you to look into that,” Gallagher said.
“We’ll go back and take a look,” Bray agreed.
“I was happy to hear Congressman Gallagher address this,” said Robert Salas, an Air Force missile officer at the base at the time who has spoken publicly since 1996 about the pair of incidents. reports that took place eight days apart.
“Hopefully they’ll call me so I can brief them,” he said on Wednesday. “Even at my own expense, I would come to Washington with supporting documents and even bring a few witnesses with me.”
The past recently National Defense Authorization Actwhich demanded that the Pentagon establish a more permanent and comprehensive effort to collect and analyze UFO reports, identified UAP incidents “associated with military nuclear assets, including strategic nuclear weapons and ships and submarines nuclear-powered.
But Greenewald is unsure how reopening a case from more than 50 years ago will help solve the much more modern UAP mystery.
“People like me would like the DoD to turn into instant know-it-all ufologists since the 1940s. That’s just not what it’s about and that’s not what they are,” said he declared.