Senator Jeanne Shaheen
One Senator who stood out, to me, on this list of seven, was Senator Jeanne Shaheen. While researching my August 2018 blog post, I came across a newspaper article of relevance. It appeared in The Conway Daily Sun, dated 4 April 2018. On 28 March 2018 during an interview with that newspaper, Shaheen was asked a question about recent media reports re UFOs. In response, Shaheen stated:
"You know, we have not heard anything around UFOs, that I have seen in either the Armed Services Committee or any other committee that I'm on."
|Senator Shaheen - Source: The Conway Daily Sun|
A little aside
In an 18 January 2009 article, Dr Ted Loder, University of New Hampshire, stated that he had been sent, at his own request, to a UFO briefing, by then Governor Jeanne Shaheen. This was the 9 April 1997 briefing, organised by Dr Stephen Greer, CSETI, at which a number of congressional officers attended.
Moving forward to 2019
On 2 July 2019, another relevant article appeared in The Conway Daily Sun In a piece written by Daymond Steer, Shaheen confirmed that she had now been briefed on Unidentified Flying Objects.
"We have been briefed," said Shaheen. "It was a classified briefing so I am not allowed to talk about it. But if you were to ask me personally, do I believe there are UFOs, I think that there are events that have happened that have not been explained adequately."
Other senators briefed - 2019
In a CNN politics article by Veronica Stracqualursi and Zachary Cohen, dated 20 June 2019, it was reported that a group of US Senators had received a classified briefing on 19 June 2019. Included in that group was the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner.
A spokeswoman for Senator Warner, Rachel Cohen, told CNN:
"If pilots at Oceana or elsewhere are reporting flight hazards that interfere with training or put them at risk, then Senator Warner wants answers. It doesn't matter if it's weather balloons, little green men or something else entirely - we can't ask our pilots to put their lives at risk unnecessarily."
The article then quoted Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, as saying:
"Navy officials did indeed meet with interested congressional members and staffers on Wednesday to provide a classified brief on efforts to understand and identify these threats to the safety and security of our aviators."
"Follow up discussions with other interested staffers are scheduled for later today (Thursday 20 June). Navy officials will continue to keep interested congressional members and their staff informed. Given the classified nature of these discussions, we will not comment on the specific information provided in these Hill briefings."
How many Senators were briefed?
An article, dated 19 June 2019, by Politico written by Bryan Bender, says the number was three, including Senator Mark Warner.
|Senator Warner -Source: Politico 19 June 2019|
Politico quoted spokesman Lt Cmdr. Daniel Day, as saying:
"Navy officials did indeed meet with interested congressional members and staffers on Wednesday to provide a classified brief on efforts to understand and identify these threats to the safety and security of our aviators...Navy officials will continue to keep interested congressional members and staff informed. Given the classified nature of these discussions, we will not comment on the specific information provided in these Hill briefings."
Bender went on to note that:
"But several current and former officials with direct knowledge describe the Capitol Hill briefing as the latest for members of Congress and their staff representing the Intelligence, Armed Services and Defense Appropriations panels."
Almost every commentator in the UFO community has focused solely on the current briefings to Senators and their staff. However, as well as doing this, I'd like to pose the question, what comes after these Senate briefings?
Firstly, though, it should be acknowledged that already there is one outcome, in that the US Navy has issued guidelines to the Fleet, requiring the reporting of intrusions into operational spaces, by unidentified aircraft.
What's next ? For some time now, people like former Senator Harry Reid have been calling for Congressional hearings, as opposed to briefings, on this topics. There haven't been Congressional hearings on the subject since 1966 and 1968.
One of the areas of Congress mentioned by Bryan Bender was the Defense Appropriations. The US Senate Appropriations sub-committee is one of 12 sub-committees of the Senate committee on Appropriations. So, if one is seeking money for a US government UAP program, it makes sense to brief the Defense Appropriations area.
The next fiscal year runs from 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020. So June 2019 was the latest time to add something to next year's DoD budget.
Does this mean that we might see a re-funding of the AATIP (or whatever name AATIP has been changed to)? Or, perhaps a US Navy led study? One dormant player in all this, has been the United States Air Force. Navy spokespersons, have in recent times been mentioning that the topic is relevant to both the Navy and the USAF, but we have yet to hear from the USAF on this matter.
Update: 6 July 2019
Researcher Paul Scott Anderson pointed out to me, that an article dated 9 June 2019, written by Jeff Schogol, appeared on the task and purpose website. In this article there were two quotes of interest:
1. Air Force spokesman Maj. Bryan Lewis:
"While there is a proliferation of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology across the world, we are not concerned that China or Russia have developed a long-range capability about which we are not aware."
I checked to see if Maj. Bryan Lewis is, in fact, a recognised spokesman for the USAF. I found his name mentioned as such, in numerous Air Force Times website articles, such as this one.
2. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Poss:
"I'd be very surprised if these were Russian or Chinese aircraft operating from Russia or China."
I found a USAF official biography for Poss, here. The facts about Poss mentioned in the taskandpurpose article agree with what is in the biography.
Update 22 July 2019
A US correspondent drew my attention to a video interview with Senator Warner, where he states:
"I think people are taking this much more seriously...One of the key takeaways I have is the military and others are taking this issue seriousl;y, which I think in previous generations may not have been the case."