Oversight Committee, 26 July 2023, Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.

01 September 2023

This is one of those really difficult posts to write. Not just because I've got a lot of stuff going on (when do I ever not, you're probably asking yourself) but because of the sheer volume of data at hand. Like a lot of folks, I caught wind of the House Oversight Committee hearing on UAPs (anonymized) (archive.is) (Internet Archive) (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) and my curiosity was piqued. Unfortunately because I had to work early that day I didn't get to watch or listen to much of it, but because House Oversight hearings are a matter of public record it was recorded and put online (Youtube, Internet Archive, local mirror). The actual hearing begins at the 18:00 mark of the original recordings.

Okay, look. You know I'm weird. It should come as no surprise to anybody that UFOs, UAPs, and other existential anomalies are of interest to me. I don't talk about it much because, quite frankly, there is so much bullshit out there that I don't feel like being the recipient of it. My position is this: Yes, there are things we can't explain which have been sighted many times over the years. Some percentage of them can, sooner or later be explained. Great, mystery solved, we learned something. Some percentage of them haven't been explained yet. And some percentage I don't think ever will be figured out. "I don't know" means just that: I don't know. I'm not being coquettish or nudge-nudge-wink-wink about it, I mean just that. I don't know. There is not enough data to tell what's going on one way or another. Between Giorgio Tsoukalos claiming that aliens built pretty much everything of note on this planet before the year 1000.ce, a great deal of what I'll refer to as unverified personal gnosis, and an incredible number of people over the years telling shaggy shoggoth stories to people who've refined uncritical acceptance to a fine art over the years... well, you know the score there. To quote Serial Experiments Lain, "Conjecture has become fact, and rumour has become history."

That was a bit more of a rant than I expected I'd have in me.

Anyway, what caught my attention was none of the above. What did was that the House Oversight Committee, the part of the US government that rides herd over the other agencies and programs thereof to ensure that they're doing what they're supposed to do as well as they can. We definitely do not get all of the government we pay for but they seem to make the effort. Additionally, David Grusch, one of the three people who testified that day in July had gotten the attention and backing of the Office of the Inspector General. (local mirror) In short, the job of the OIG is to hunt down, investigate, and remediate fraud, waste, and abuse in government. Their remit is investigatory in nature because fraud, misuse of funds, and other sundry forms of governmental abuse are federal crimes, and if the IG feels a need to roll its sleeves up and get its hands dirty they smell blood in the water. Just as you couldn't get the FBI on your side to handle graffiti, you don't get the IG to act unless it's Something. These circumstances seem to require careful consideration, thought, and digestion.

So, over the course of a couple of days (a few days apart) I listened to the hearing several times, took notes, and sat with it because I wanted to think about the testimony and information presented. I tried to avoid reading or listening to as much coverage of the testimony as possible because, prior to 26 July 2023, there was a flood of people posting videos and giving interviews who had nothing to do with the matter in question that dropped the name "David Grusch" to game search and recommendation algorithms to get more eyes and clicks on their videos. This is some of what I meant about all the bullshit flying around. So I will only be writing about stuff from folks directly involved that day. For our purposes the only "directly involved" folks I'll be referring to are the ones who actually testified that day and I'm sticking to primary sources as much as possible. This includes not only the recording of the public session but the testimonies submitted beforehand by Ryan Graves, Commander David Fravor (ret.), and Major David Grusch. (Internet Archive)

The thing about this thing is that it's hard to tell where to start. The three witnesses that testified that day are not examples the stereotypical slack-jawed yokel in the middle of nowhere. Prior to appearing before the House Oversight Committee in July, David Grusch held the rank of Major while in the US Air Force, where his MoS was intelligence and his role (on both active and reserve duty) was that of Senior Intelligence Officer. Later he worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in the role of Senior Technical Advisor, which, if you're not familiar with it is tasked with collecting, analyzing, and disseminating geospatial intelligence. To put it simply, their schtick is taking intelligence information from satellites, from photographs to intercepted satellite communications, analyzing it, figuring out what it means, and handing it off to other parts of the US government for use.

Grusch's job was basically executive level support duties where he was read into 1 a large number of compartments 2 as part of his normal duties. Executive support, in this context, seems to have consisted of preparing the regular briefings for and answering questions from the White House, the Cabinet, and various federal agencies. Grusch also worked for the DoD's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, established in 2020.ev under the Department of the Navy. He was also co-lead of UAP and trans-medium 3 object analysis at the DoD's All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, which was created in 2022.ev to bridge different parts of the US military and government with regard to UAPs. He also holds a degree in physics and did a couple of tours in Afghanistan.

Let's stop and think about that a minute: The DoD considers unidentified aerial phenomena a serious enough thing that they stood up a task force figure out what's going on. Officially. Not in an X-Files "we're going to do this quietly and make sure nobody notices" kind of way, but in a "we're putting it in the military budget for fiscal 2022.ev" (local mirror) way. Civil servants on the GS, military personnel, and contractors from the private sector are being paid by Uncle Sam to look into UAP stuff. As government stuff goes that's about as "word of god" as it gets. As for David Grusch, he has the kind of military and government service credentials that would make anybody inside the DC Beltway (and govvies outside of the Beltway) stop and listen. He has, as they say, skin in the game.

Next up, Lieutenant Ryan Graves of the US Navy. He was an F/A-18 pilot who flew missions during Operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve as part of Navy Fighter Attack Squadron VFA-11, better known as the Red Rippers. He was also a first-hand witness of UAP phenomena while on duty. I don't have much other reliable information on his bio because I haven't run a go-to on him, but his sworn testimony is more than sufficiently interesting for the purposes of discussion. Rounding out the witnesses that testified that day is Commander David Fravor, US Navy (ret). Fravor is the former commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, better known as the Black Aces. He also had first-hand experience with UAPs while piloting an F/A-18. Two highly trained (US Air Force; US Navy), seasoned, experienced military pilots with multiple years of air combat experience each.

Now the testimony presented during the hearing, starting with Fravor's because I'm going in chronological order. You're probably going to want to get some coffee or something, because there's a lot to process here.

In late 2004.ev former Commander Fravor's squadron was stationed aboard the USS Nimitz off the coast of California as part of Carrier Air Wing 11. In November of 2004 they were scheduled for a 2V2 (two on two) training exercise. The weather was recorded as being as close to perfect as possible for flying - clear skies, light winds, calm seas, no whitecaps or waves. While en route the squadron was informed that their training mission was superceded by real-world tasking effective immediately. They were directed to vector westward over the Pacific Ocean to investigate objects detected by long range sensors. The objects in question were detected at an altitude of 80,000 feet, then recorded abruptly diving to an altitude of 20,000 feet, hovering motionless in mid-air for multiple hours at a time, then abruptly climbing vertically out of sensor range. 80,000 feet up is between the troposphere and the stratosphere, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) straight up. This is significantly higher than passenger jets fly but around the flight ceilings of aircraft like the SR-71 Blackbird, the U2, and the X-15. 4 Suffice it to say that it is not easy for an aircraft to reach an altitude of 80,000 feet. I wasn't able to find anything useful about military helicopters, but civilian helicopters can hover for between 2 and 5 hours at a stretch, fuel reserves permitting.

As the retasked squadron approached the directed coordinates they spotted white water off the starboard side. This means that the ocean below was rough and foamy, which one would expect in shallow water near the coast due to proximity of the seabed to the surface but not far out in the Pacific. It was then that the pilots got visual on a small white object moving erratically and abruptly in the air around an altitude of 12,000 feet. The pilots observed no rotors, no rotor wash, and no visible flight control surfaces. Just a featureless white... thing. The pilots also observed that the long axis of the object was oriented north/south. Fravor and his WSO vectored in for observation while the rest of the squadron flew high cover; this involved descending to 15,000 feet. The object rotated so that the long axis was then oriented toward the jet and began to approach at speed.

About one-half mile out the object accelerated rapidly and disappeared from visual and sensors. The high cover aircraft at 20,000 feet simultaneously lost contact with the object. More interestingly, the white water beneath the object (12,000 feet beneath the object) had subsided. The air controller aboard the USS Princeton then radioed to inform the squadron that the object had reappeared at their original CAP point 60 miles behind them in less than sixty seconds. Strike Fighter Squadron 41 returned to the USS Nimitz and landed for debriefing. The crew outbound from the Nimitz had its own encounter with the white object, and recorded video footage as well as radar data. The second flight crew reported at the end of the sortie that the object was actively jamming their on-board APC-73 radar. The radar tape was never released and its wherabouts are unknown 5; no investigation was conducted until 2009.ev when AATIP looked into the matter.

It later came out that the objects had been observed out there for several weeks running but this was the first time that any fighter craft were directed to investigate.

You might've guessed that this is what came to be called the tic-tac incident (Wikimedia copy) (local mirror) that was published in 2017.ev. That video was recorded by one of the FLIR camera pods during that second sortie. Like a lot of folks who watched it, you're probably saying "Big deal, that's just a blob on a screen." And it is; the radar tapes, the regular video, LIDAR data, and the other sensor data has not been released. It is usual to combine multiple streams of sensor data (mutiple image integration, also referred to as "fly's eyes"). I would like to point out one thing: FLIR is a thermal sensing technology. A thing that was recorded power diving from 80,000 feet, hanging out around 12,000 feet for hours at a time, blowing past a couple of F/A-18's like they were going backward, and then barrelling out of sensor range would need one hell of an engine. A conventional engine would mean that it was pumping out waste heat and lots of it. That FLIR video shows no thermal emissions. Whatever the object was it was also whipping up the ocean from an altitude of 12,000 feet with no visible means of doing so. I don't know how far wake turbulance can reach but I'm pretty sure it's not 12,000 feet. How did the object evade a bunch of F/A-18's flown by combat pilots? I don't know. Aircraft are fast but they take time to maneuver because the laws of physics don't allow airplanes to turn rapidly, but the tic-tac traveled 60 nautical miles in less than a minute, slammed to a stop, and hung out again for a while.

In 2014.ev Lt. Graves and his squadron were operating out of Naval Air Station Oceana near Virginia Beach. Their jets' radar systems had just been upgraded and they were in the process of shaking out the last of the bugs and familiarizing themselves with the new equipment. While on duty they began detecting unknown objects in USian airspace. Understandably, the detects were originally believed to be post-upgrade problems but diagnostics on the upgraded radar systems showed no faults, plus the radar returns were correlated against other on-board sensors (infra-red, passive, and video) that had not been worked on, both on their and on other US Navy aircraft. There were also multiple visual identifications by jet pilots flying out of NAS Oceana: A dark gray or black cube inside of a clear sphere, somewhere between 5-15 feet in diameter. On one occasion the object came within 50 feet of the lead aircraft. That sounds pretty far away but 50 feet in aviation terms is kiss-your-ass-goodbye distance because, at the speeds jet aircraft must maintain to stay in the air there is almost no way that you can dodge in time. The training mission was immediately scrubbed for safety reasons, incident reports were filed per SOP, but there was no official acknowledgement from higher up the food chain. Far from a one-off, these in-flight encounters were so routine that UAP sighting advisories were added to regular mission briefings at NAS Oceana.

This brings us to the testimony of David Grusch. Much is probably being made of his lack of first-hand experience in this matter but very little of the fact that he had the most extensive access and actual investigation. In 2019.ev Grusch was tasked by the director of the UAP task force to identify all special access programs and controlled access programs (local mirror) because Congress is supposed to have some idea of what's going on in the world of highly classified stuff. As part of this official duty he was reporting his findings to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. While conducting this investigation he received reports from multiple active and former military and intelligence community personnel that there were multiple active projects specifically working to stay off the radar (as it were) of Congress. As you might imagine Congress not knowing what's going on upsets them deeply. During the course of this investiation he found hard evidence of wrongdoing as well as receiving classified testimony 6 from folks working on those projects. Some it appears to have been gotten as part of the investigation, and some of it came from folks on those projects who, for whatever reason sought out Grusch to tell him things.

On top of that, when following up on that information Grusch was officially briefed 7 about the existence 8 of a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program that fit those criteria, vis a vis doing everything they could to ensure Congress didn't hear about it. This sort of thing seems to fall pretty solidly into "Congress wants to know about this" so he asked to be read into those compartments but was denied access. Consider what would happen if you were being investigated by the police and when they tried to execute a search warrant you told them to go to hell and slammed the door. It wouldn't go well for you, but that's essentially what they did. So Grush reported this and brought evidence to his superiors as well as multiple inspectors general. This is what he was supposed to do: It's established procedure that goes through all of the proper channels. At some point he started catching blowback for the investigation: Officials began retaliating for his investigation. In theory this is something that should never happen but it's unfortunately quite common. Caught between a rock and hard place Grusch invoked the provisions of Presidential Policy Directive 19 (local mirror) as a whistleblower.

Despite the idea of a whistleblowing being well and truly smeared as itself an act of wrongdoing in the last couple of decades nobody does this lightly. At best, nobody will care and nothing will ever come of it and you'll just feel lame. At worst, blowing the whistle is tantamount to comitting career suicide. Prepare for your life to blow up in your face and gennerally suck for an indeterminant number of years, if not decades. Historically, folks rarely come through unscathed. Forget retirement, pension or benefits, all of that is the first thing to go when you're a whistleblower because nobody likes a nark. Career military officers are not going to wreck their careers for something that is trivial or bullshit. Especially a career intelligence officer who's been through the security clearance process dozens of times and read into who-knows-how-many compartments over the years. I don't know what Grusch has been doing in the interim, I haven't run a go-to but I don't think it likely that he's been working as a contractor or lobbyist now that he's known as a whistleblower, DC AC be damned.

This pretty much catches us up to the actual hearing of 26 July 2023. As I type this story in early August of 2023.ev no transcript of the hearing has been published 15 (at least as far as Beamship and Tripwire can tell). The rest of this article is written from the notes I made from multiple re-listens. I did the best I could to make them accurate but I've undoubtedly made at least a few mistakes. I apologize in advance for being not perfect. The text is only about the folks testifying, the questions they were asked, and the answers given. I've tracked down references and background information (read: hyperlinks) but have injected no speculation or statements from anyone not involved in the hearing proper.

Worth consideration is that the witnesses were sworn in officially before testifying. It seems like such an antequated thing and people make fun of it during a time where "alternative facts" are something that people are weirdly okay with, but from a legal perspective it means that if you knowingly lied, it's your ass. Joke about it if you want but folks have gone to prison for far less. Lying under oath is perjury under USC Title 18 sections 1001 (local copy) and 1621 (local copy), a felony that can net you up to five years in prison. Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned in my attitudes, but folks tend to think very carefully before committing felonies in public and usually don't.

I found it very interesting that much of the hearing was about threats to aviation safety. I also don't find it surprising because safety threats are a tangible thing folks can think about in conjunction with their own lives. To put it another way, it's hard to get any action on pilots reporting strange things but "A plane could slam into something solid enough to show up on radar and crash in a residential area" gets attention. Additionally, a second complaint made is that there are so few ways that pilots can report UAP encounters, let alone get anybody to care is itself a safety hazard. If you can't warn anybody about a hazard and you can't get anybody to take it seriously it's only a matter of time before shit happens and people die horribly. Regulations, it is often said, are written in blood because they are unfortunately enacted as the direct result of somebody doing something that common sense would say you should never do, but because there was no rule that said you couldn't, did it anyway. I can't think of many people who would really want such a thing to happen on their watch (and if you are I don't want to know you).

A thing that I found very striking is how not unusual UAP encounters of the sorts described by Fravor and Graves are. Common enough for them to be mentioned in daily "Before you take off" briefings ("daily" being a load-bearing term). Common enough for briefings being given to student jet pilots and pertinent NOTAMs are issued to minimize the possibility of accidents. Common enough for air traffic controllers to sigh and say "They're back again" (local mirror, fast forward to the 19:34 mark for the interesting bits; note that they're not overly excited, just kind of annoyed because it means paperwork). It was described as a generational issue for naval aviators, i.e., multiple generations of pilots have encountered and reported them. Multiple witnesses and multiple sensor system sightings are pretty much normal. The majority of those witnesses are commercial pilots with the big airlines and many of them are veterans with decades of flight experience. As was stated repeatedly by all three witnesses, the lack of a usable reporting system to collect and assist in the analysis of data is one of the biggest problems. No data, no analysis, no science, no conclusions, no action.

The national security angle is one that a lot of folks tend to brush off, largely because most folks have never worked inside the DC Beltway. The question has often come up, "Why are the reports themselves rarely publicized?" and that usually comes down to the principle of contamination. In a nutshell, if you have classified material it has to be handled and protected in certain ways. The reasons for this are many and varied and have to do with the nature of the material and its implications. One of the things that I mentioned earlier is the specific capabilities of things like sensor systems. If specifics about a piece of military equipment get out, adversaries can plan around them or use that information to develop countermeasures. Using the example of UAP encounters that are documented with sensor systems built into fielded warfighting equipment (like fighter jets) it is possible to figure out some of the parameters of those sensor systems. That a flying tic-tac just juked an F/A-18 isn't nearly as interesting to spies from Wayovertheristan as what it implies about how fast an F/A-18 goes under certain conditions, what kind of sensors it has on board 9, the ranges of those sensors under certain weather conditions, the sorts of materials those sensors seem to pick up well, the sorts of things those sensors don't seem to pick up well... If you think about it from the perspective of "What's in this footage that I can use to cause lots of trouble?" it makes more sense. Because of this the data those sensors collect is itself classified and has to be treated in the same way as design schematics and operational specifications of those sensors. The classified nature of the sensor contaminates the sensor data with its security classification.

There is no wiggle room allowed. That the Nostradamus 9000 has an aircraft aluminum housing is considered just as secret as the fact that the Nostradamus 9000 can pinpoint the location of every last Carolina reaper on the planet to within a fraction of a millimeter. The principle of contamination then makes the precise location of every Carolina reaper a highly classified secret. 10 In other words, security classification assumes something is world-endingly dangerous if it gets out by default, and only if there is need, orders, and careful review and redaction on a detail by detail basis is anything about it declassified and made public. Complain and speculate about it all you want but them's the breaks, and the break-ers don't care.

A mode of discourse that I keep running into around the Net is that the whole thing is jetwash because nobody "actually saw anything." Putting aside for the moment that Graves and Fravor did actually see things, what folks don't seem to understand is that Grusch was an investigator. He was tasked with looking into special access programs that were supposed to be reporting to Congress but weren't. He wasn't told to hunt down aliens or search for a funny blue box or anything, he was instructed to figure out who was ignoring the chain of command and why. It is my guess that he didn't know beforehand what he was going to come across. He asked about BLUE INSPECTOR 11 12, possibly expecting to hear about embezzling of government funds or something and project personnel instead told him "There's this thing, we don't know what it is or how it works, but it came from this black cube inside a transparent sphere and the folks running this program told me to shut the fuck up, so don't tell them I told you."

In other words, folks were expecting something like the John Lear test 13 (local copy), didn't get it, and decided to believe whatever they were going to believe anyway.

Grusch was investigating classified projects and, as explained earlier, learned classified things. He followed proper procedure and security protocols, used proper channels, and held to both the letter and spirit of the law. When he learned of some compartments that had to be investigated he followed established procedures to be read in and briefed but was declined. When that didn't work (and in government, proper channels and the chain of command working against you is not an excuse for failure) he followed other proper channels: Going to the OIG, filing the appropriate paperwork and disclosures as a whistleblower (and being punished for it, because that almost always happens), getting the stuff he was going to say on the record in public vetted and approved by the government, and formally requesting the use of a SCIF for the classified stuff. The reason for this is, regardless of his orders, regardless of his assignment, regardless of his position in the food chain (as a military officer, as a govvie, or as a government contractor) if he did anything differently he would have been violating a large number of laws pertaining to national security, the handling of classified material, and the non-disclosure terms of his security clearances. In other words, his ass would be grass and he'd have been arrested and up on charges even though he was testifying before Congress. National security laws give precisely zero fucks about the context. Even testifying before Congress in open session (as opposed to a closed session in a secure facility) under oath would be at least one felony. 14 In point of fact this explains how and why he was able to retain the legal representation of Compass Rose, just in case somebody found a creative legal means of screwing him (another common hazard of whistleblowing).

I could keep going on and on about this because there was so much material presented during the hearing, but I think I should cut it off at this point. Just getting this far has taken several weeks of transcription, research, note-taking, phone calls, dot dot dot... and quite frankly, I'm mentally exhausted. If I were writing a book that would be fine, but I'm not. I'm just some schmuck with a blog. Original sources are linked and, where appropriate mirrored locally. Links that might give folks pause before clicking have been anonymized through a public proxy service if that's a concern of yours. If you're interested, by all means dig in. I've tried to keep only to things that I know about and can speak to, and while I'd love to talk some of the other, weirder stuff I really need to do something else for a while. All I can say is that if you're interested in UAPs, stick to sources of information that are known, that can be traced back, and that don't seem to have an agenda. There is no shortage of "anonymous UFO whistleblower leaks" that are shaggy shoggoth stories with little to no hard data that can be verified. As Terrence McKenna so famously said, "The real weirdness does not have to be treated with respect or as though it were fragile. True weirdness is true weirdness: You can kick the tires, honk the horn, and drive it around the block." And if you can't do that, maybe you should go wash your hands because its origins are suspect, to say the least.

There is so much data from the hearing that (and this is not something I normally do) I've uploaded the original Markdown file of my notes/rough draft/whatever the hell it is for folks to look at. It's not polished, it's not edited, and it probably doesn't make any sense to anybody but me. I was basically taking dictation from a recording of the Senate hearing over a couple of days, with copious amounts of pausing, jumping back a few seconds to re-listen and re-re-listen, looking up references to things I didn't know about, and stream of consciousness impressions of what was said. There is a great deal of material in there that I didn't touch on in the final writeup, references to documents and sites, notes to myself of things to go back and look for, and the equivalent of muttering to myself under my breath while someone else was speaking. You have been warned, and I apologize in my advance for any harm that it may or may not cause to your mental health.

  1. "read into" - This is when someone has NTK (Need to Know) and NTA (need to Access) something classified. When the appropriate security clearance has been investigated, adjudicated, and assigned personnel are informed of the existence of the classified thing, are given a whole bunch of paperwork to sign that basically says "this is classified stuff, you need to know this to do your job, these are your responsibilities, and here's a reminder of the legal penalties in store for you if you violate your security clearance. Sign on the dotted line and shut up." Then they are briefed on the what and wherefore of the compartment. 

  2. "compartments" - Very sensitive programs are split up into things called compartments, aspects of the program that are sort of logically related but are kept strictly separate from one another. This is a way of divvying up work in classified projects such that nobody actually doing the hands-on work knows more about the program than what they and their immediate teammates are tasked with to minimize the impact of a security breach. Let's say a classified program is a bookcase in a library organized by the Dewey decimal system. Each shelf of that bookcase is a different Dewey class, representing compartments of the program: The topmost shelf is all the comp.sci and general reference books in the library, the second shelf is all the philosophy and psychology books, the third shelf is all the social science books, and the fourth shelf is all the books about languages and linguistics. The individual books on each shelf represent the people working in that compartment, what that compartment is working on, and the things in the compartment being worked on. Each shelf can't see the others but know that there are other shelves in the bookcase, just as each compartment knows there are other compartments but is isolated from them. Only the librarian (the program managers) can look at the whole bookcase, each shelf in the bookcase, and even each book on a shelf. The librarian might not understand every book in the bookcase but they do know how to keep them organized, straighten them up, determine if anything is missing or damaged, and assess the overall state of the bookcase. 

  3. "trans-medium" - Things that go from one medium to another, such as from air to sea, or from space to air. 

  4. Specifics about the performance characteristics of military aircraft, including maximum capabilities are classified. If you tell everyone exactly what your equipment is capable of your enemies can plan around them and keep you at a disadvantage. 

  5. This isn't as mysterious as it sounds. Governments care about security leaks, espionage, sabotage, and deliberate fuckups. As long as a thing is filed according to its security classification they don't much care. To put it another way, as long as personnel are following clean desk protocols by putting stuff away in desk drawers and maybe filing cabinets, and everything having to do with STRIKE BOUNCE (generated by the always helpful NSA-o-matic codename generator) is put back into the appropriate secure container it's fine. Stuff really does get misfiled all the time, and as long as the people who need to use it can find it again nobody seems to care overmuch. 

  6. If you're doing classified work and you have to speak on the record to someone investigating that work, your testimony is classified. Just as what you would say in meetings when giving a status report about that work would be classified. Just as what your boss would tell you when you start working on such a project would be classified. 

  7. Why do I keep saying "officially?" He wasn't a rogue govvie using his pull to dig into stuff he's not supposed to be working on. He was specifically given the orders, access, and resources to conduct this investigation because Congress suspected wrongdoing and needed information to decide what to do next. "Congressional inquiry" is a phrase that makes govvies' blood run cold because they make getting a security clearance seem like a picnic. To put it another way, imagine that somebody accused you of being a gangster of the caliber of Al Capone and you have to defend yourself in court. And they have a gun used in six murders with your fingerprints on it. But you've been in a hospital in a coma for the last ten years. 

  8. It is entirely possible to have the security clearance and NTK/NTA to only know about the existence of a classified program and its codeword, but nothing about what it is, what it does or anything else. To continue with an earlier example, you might be allowed to know that STRIKE BOUNCE is a thing that exists, but that's it. 

  9. To be honest, this video was the first time I'd ever heard of FLIR. 

  10. Yes, even though it's a friggin' chili pepper and not a nuclear warhead. 

  11. Thank you PROJECT: CODENAME

  12. Why do I keep giving disclaimers and linking to the NSA-o-matic and PROJECT: CODENAME and stuff? Because the last thing I need is somebody thinking I'm a government insider violating my security clearance by blabbing on the Internet and initiating a counter-intelligence investigation. This is all random shit I'm making up as contextually appropriate examples. 

  13. My opinion of John Lear, since I mentioned him and the John Lear test? A highly credentialed and accomplished individual who was also, insofar as UAPs and suchlike are concerned a total bullshit artist. 

  14. What about the Congressfolks on that committee? It's safe to say that each has at least one security clearance (SECRET, if I had to guess), possibly TS, and have been read into a few compartments each just because of what they do. It's worth noting that one of the committe members stated that day that several had requested access to some compartments pertaining directly to the hearing and were refused. Think about that for a moment. 

  15. The transcript has been published. (local mirror