Jun 20, 2019 - Science

Classified UFO briefing given to senators on Navy encounters: Report

Artwork of a UFO.

Photo: Getty Image artwork

Three senators received a classified Pentagon briefing on Wednesday about several reported U.S. Navy encounters with unidentified aircraft, Politico reports, citing congressional and government officials.

Details: The outlet noted it's part of a growing number of requests from members of key oversight committees into unidentified flying objects (UFOs). A spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to Politico he had received a briefing.

What they're saying: "If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of," Warner's spokeswoman Rachel Cohen, said in a statement to Politico.

Why it matters: The Navy announced in April there had been a rise in reports of UFO sightings. Although the Navy isn't saying aliens are out there, it is concerned about the increasing number of reports alleging highly advanced aircraft flying near sensitive military facilities and in military-controlled ranges.

The big picture: In December 2017, the Pentagon officially confirmed the existence of its $22 million program to investigate UFOs. Then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) requested the program's funding in 2007. Much of it came from Robert Bigelow, the billionaire behind an aerospace program who currently works with NASA.

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