Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, accused the U.S. government of covering up a "huge" number of "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAPs), also known as UFOs.
"The number of these is apparently huge, huge. And that is something that the government has, the best I can say about it, downplayed, if not kept from the public, for a long, long time," Hawley said during an interview with NewsNation on Wednesday.
The GOP senator's remarks come after 36-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, David Grusch, told NewsNation earlier this month that a top-secret military program found fully intact UFOs. Grusch, who previously worked as the National Reconnaissance Office's representative to the UAP Task Force, also claimed that the government found proof of several "non-human" crafts and remains, and concealed it.
"I don't have any basis to evaluate them [Grusch's claims], but do some of the details that he's alleging, do they sound plausible? Yeah, sure. They sound plausible, based on what I've seen this government do in other instances," Hawley said, referring to the Biden administration's response to the Chinese spy balloon that was spotted flying over American airspace earlier this year.
He continued: "What we learned from the Chinese spy balloon incident is that one part of the government actively concealed it from other parts of the government...because that's what they do all the time."
There were a total of 510 UAP sightings, according to a 2022 unclassified report by the Office for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released in January, with the overall reported sightings increasing by 366 compared to the year prior. The vast majority of new sightings were categorized as "balloon-like entities," with others dismissed as clutter, such as plastic bags or drones.
Of the 171 remaining reported sightings, some "appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis," according to the report. Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee wants to hold hearings to investigate UFOs claims.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military declassified several videos of UAPs during an April Senate meeting where the Pentagon's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) said that it's looking into 650 potential UFO cases. However, AARO Director Sean M. Kirkpatrick said there is no proof of aliens or their crafts, stating: "AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics."
Meanwhile, Hawley made similar remarks earlier this month, saying that he wasn't surprised about Grusch's claims.
While discussing the Chinese spy balloon and other recent flying objects, he said some of his Senate colleagues pointed out that UFO and UAP sightings have been going on for years.
"The takeaway from that is, they had thousands of sightings of these things over the years, which was news to me," Hawley told Wired this month. "So I'm not surprised, necessarily, by these latest allegations, because it sounds pretty close to what they kind of grudgingly admitted to us in the briefing."
Newsweek reached out by email to Hawley for additional comment.
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