Harry Reid
© AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz.,FileHarry Reid
Has the U.S. government secretly retrieved exotic craft of "non-human" origin? Newly declassified documents, along with extraordinary legislation, illustrate how two successive Democratic Senate majority leaders appear to have believed so.

Notably, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) were not alone in their focus on UFOs. The Democratic heavyweights received critical support and encouragement from a bipartisan group of high-profile senators over the years, including former fighter pilot and famed astronaut John Glenn (D-Ohio); Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who observed a UFO as a World War II pilot; Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Senate Intelligence Vice ChairmanMarco Rubio (R-Fla.); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

In late 2011, for example, the top scientist at the Department of Homeland Security met with Lieberman, then chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Reid to discuss the establishment of an ultra-secret UFO program.

As outlined in remarkable detail in newly released documents, the intent of the proposed program was to "gain access to and inventory" UFOs secretly under "investigation in National Laboratories, government organizations and/or contractors."

From there, the program would engage in "laboratory experimentation" and "scientific investigation" to foster "technology exploitation" of the recovered materials.

In short, Reid and Lieberman were advocating, "with some sense of urgency," for the establishment of a formal UFO reverse-engineering program.

Startling as it may be, the notion that shadowy elements of the U.S. government or defense contractors secretly possess retrieved UFOs is treated as fact in the documents.

Notably, the Reid- and Lieberman-backed proposal included an "Oral History Initiative" to interview a pre-identified "list of retired, previously highly placed government, armed services, contractor, and intelligence community individuals" with knowledge of the "location of advanced aerospace technology and biological samples."

Even though the Department of Homeland Security's top scientist was advocating for the establishment of the UFO program and the "very serious science involved with" it, department leadership ultimately quashed the proposal in late 2011.

More recently, Schumer and a bipartisan group of five other senators introduced extraordinary legislation alleging the existence of surreptitious "legacy programs" that retrieve and seek to reverse-engineer UFOs of "non-human" origin.

In eyebrow-raising comments on the Senate floor, Schumer said the government "has gathered a great deal of information about [UFOs] over many decades but has refused to share it with the American people."

Critically, according to Schumer, "multiple credible sources" have alleged that elements of the U.S. government have withheld UFO-related information from Congress illegally.

Although a key House lawmaker successfully stripped the most extraordinary elements of the Schumer-led legislation, Schumer and the legislation's principal cosponsor, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), vowed to "keep working to change the status quo."

The core elements of Schumer and Rounds's stunning legislation match the allegations of Air Force veteran and former intelligence official David Grusch, who testified under oath to the existence of UFO retrieval and reverse engineering efforts not subject to congressional oversight.

Separate legislation, sponsored by Rubio and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committee member Gillibrand, cuts off funding for illicit UFO programs. Language accompanying the legislation outlines, in remarkable detail, the various elements that such a program would entail, including UFO retrieval procedures, scientific analysis, reverse-engineering and security and counterintelligence efforts. President Biden signed Gillibrand and Rubio's legislation into law in December.

In January, Sean Kirkpatrick, the former director of the Pentagon's UFO analysis office, embarked on an unusual media tour to pour cold water on the swirling allegations of secret, unreported UFO programs. But Kirkpatrick's public commentary appears to have had little effect on Capitol Hill. In March, Rounds indicated twice that the extraordinary Schumer-led legislation alleging the existence of unreported UFO programs would be reintroduced this year.

Asked on May 2 whether a 63-page Pentagon report categorically denying the existence of illicit UFO efforts is "case closed," Gillibrand stated, "Oh, it's definitely not case closed."

Gillibrand noted that two knowledgeable individuals with whom she has met "refused to meet with" Kirkpatrick or his office. These whistleblowers' hesitations may be well founded. In recent months, the Pentagon's UFO office has lost much of its credibility following a series of flawed and deeply misleading reports.

Crucially, another set of newly released documents indicates that high-level current and former officials with apparent knowledge of illicit UFO programs refused to meet with Kirkpatrick.

In a June 2023 interview with NewsNation, Rubio made a series of startling UFO-related comments. According to Rubio, "smart, educated people with high clearances and very important positions in our government" have informed Congress of the existence of secret UFO programs.

As the documents reveal, Kirkpatrick was taken by surprise by Rubio's comments. A Senate Intelligence Committee staffer subsequently informed Kirkpatrick that the senior officials described by Rubio were among those who refused to speak to his office.

As Christopher Mellon, the Department of Defense's former top civilian intelligence official, notes, many UFO whistleblowers do not trust the Pentagon process, preferring to speak to Congress and the intelligence community's internal watchdog instead.

This puts the Pentagon in a particularly awkward position. If the director of the UFO office was aware that high-level officials alleging the existence of unreported UFO programs refused to speak with him, how can he and his office credibly issue sweeping denials that such programs exist?

Moreover, in response to the "government's blanket denials regarding the possession of off-world technology," Mellon recently posted a 2020 exchange describing how a "senior government official" uncovered the "management structure and security control systems" of a UFO retrieval program. The official also claimed to have identified the "gatekeeper" controlling access to the Air Force's secret UFO efforts.

In another fascinating twist, Kirkpatrick told Mellon that the Department of Justice is in possession of Grusch's whistleblower complaint alleging the existence of illegal UFO programs "since it's part of a criminal investigation."

Agency watchdogs like the one that received Grusch's complaint typically involve the Justice Department when allegations of criminal activity are substantiated. Does this imply that UFO-related criminal charges could at some point be on offer?
Marik von Rennenkampff served as an analyst with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, as well as an Obama administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Defense.