'I Uncover Hidden UFO Files. Congress is Finally Listening'

I first heard about the U.S. Congress hearing on UFOs the day the news of it broke in early May 2022. The first hearing of its kind in 50 years, on May 17 the House Intelligence Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation will discuss unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), or UFOs to the rest of us. I knew there were rumors that it may one day happen, but I had thought we were another year out from that, given current world events and the political climate. But it sure was exciting to finally see such an important issue wind up on the calendar of U.S. Congress.

I first became interested in the topic of UFOs back when I was a teenager. After seeing all sorts of stories in the news, I thought I would seek out government and military documents. I was 15, and thought perhaps I could get some answers, even though I knew there would be some level of obfuscation.

As I fought for previously classified records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), my hope was to find some truth about what, if anything, the government knew about UFOS. But at the same time, I realized I wanted to build something online that people could use to see the same information themselves, and at no charge.

The result is a website I created called The Black Vault, which holds more than 3 million pages of information; my work has stretched over nearly 26 years. Yet The Black Vault would not exist as it does today were it not for a four-page UFO document colloquially called the "1976 Iran Incident" that I first accessed on August 22, 1996. This was not a document I claim to be the first to discover, but when I read about it, I couldn't believe something like it could be true. It detailed multiple aircraft getting essentially turned off by an unidentified flying object.

It outlined how numerous objects were seen coming out of a larger object all of which were emitting bright lights and remain unidentified to this day. It explained how one of those objects even may have landed on Earth after being engaged by the Imperial Iranian Air Force. However, they failed to catch it. In honesty, when I first read about the incident, I was convinced it was fake.

UFOs Are Being Discussed in Congress
The first hearing of its kind in 50 years, on May 17 the House Intelligence Committee's subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation will discuss unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs). Getty

Then I learned of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) would send the now declassified documents to me. My reaction at the time was: "No way!" But sure enough, it arrived in my mailbox directly from the DIA. I've become hooked on applying for once classified government documents and now, thousands upon thousands of pages of my website pertain to UFOs alone. I have expanded to other topics just to see what I could access.

Despite the overwhelming documented evidence about these UFO phenomena within the archives of the U.S. government, there has always been a "stigma" that surrounds UFOs and interest in them. This sometimes creates obstacles when trying to do valid research. And, although some feel the stigma has lessened over the past few years, hence the present-day conversation; I feel it still lingers.

I am a firm believer that if people would set that stigma aside and take the time to look past over-embellished headlines and wild claims, they will see that these phenomena are not only very real, but have a lot of supporting evidence.

This doesn't rely solely on government documents. There have been some amazing, and powerful, people that have come out and spoken about UFOs. Their voices only reinforce the importance, intrigue and mystery behind these phenomena. Former U.S. President Barack Obama; former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe; current DNI Avril Haines; and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey have all openly discussed UFOs and that there may be more to them than we currently know or understand.

In fact, Woolsey told me directly during an interview I did with him that aired on my YouTube Channel that he knew a pilot that had a UFO encounter, and this encounter made his plane "stop at 40,000 feet or so and not continue operating as a normal aircraft". These types of stories are what keep me interested in piercing the secrecy that has shrouded this issue for decades.

I have been excited about the hearing, but also realistic. So, did we hear stories like the one I heard from Woolsey? True stories that defy logic, and display technology that far surpasses what the average person is aware of? Or, was it more generic comments surrounding the threat potential behind unknown craft showing up within military training ranges?

In truth, it was a bit of both. Despite skeptical responses and an array of logical explanations for what UAP may represent; the fact remains the government is unable to identify most of which they investigate. Blaming insufficient data seems to me to be an easy out. The reality is the U.S. military has some of the best men and women utilizing some of the best technology on the planet.

I had hoped that the hearing would bring forward more data that the public can digest, and as I had hoped, we did get a glimpse. There were a few visuals including a video the military believes they can now explain as drones, and another short clip that of an object very hard to decipher, which remains an unknown.

But, the public deserves more. There was one comment made that more than 400 cases have been collected by the military during this research effort and put into a database. So, more data is there. We just need to see it.

UFOs Are Being Discussed in Congress
John Greenwald Jr. founded The Black Vault, a website where he shares declassified government documents. The site started as a result of Greenwald Jr's interest in UFOs. John Greenwald Jr.

We do know for a fact there were 144 cases of UAPs from 2004 to 2021 that the government could share if they wanted to. How do we know that? That was the exact number revealed in the June 2021 public UAP report released last year. And it should be noted that out of the 144 cases, only one UAP was identified.

It seems likely these phenomena are creating a hefty workload for investigators within the military, particularly since nearly all of them lack any explanation whatsoever. That fact alone should give us all pause.

But the reality is that those who want to maintain the secrecy that plagues this topic will do everything in their power to remain as vague and as general as possible, ensuring people like me cannot pick up a detail they can file a FOIA case for and go after. And sadly in this hearing, despite some additional details surfacing, it seems clear to me that they want to do just that.

One of the two people testifying was Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence who also serves as the Director of Naval Intelligence Activity. Mr. Bray was the one who "approved" what is called the "Security Classification Guide" or SCG for UAP. This is essentially a document ensuring that anything about the topic is pretty much immediately and automatically classified SECRET or TOP SECRET—both high levels of security to ensure the public can't easily get their hands on UAP data once it is collected.

In my opinion, someone who authorizes something like that, does not have transparency in the forefront of their mind.

This secrecy, the stories I have heard, and the once secret documents I have uncovered serve as my biggest motivators. My aim above all else, is to maintain that free resource for people to download millions of pages without charge. Then, they can make up their own mind about what it means to them, and hopefully they find their way to their own conclusion. I've always felt that my opinions or conclusions shouldn't outweigh the actual evidence I try to give everyone access to.

Will we one day conclusively prove this is connected to aliens? Will we conclusively prove it's nothing of the sort, but instead just classified technology? I am not sure, but I believe it may be all of the above, and things we may have not even thought of yet. I refer to the UAP issue as "these phenomena" vs. "this phenomenon" because I believe there are likely multiple explanations.

My belief is that there is already too much information coming from the government alone for these UAPs to be as easily explained as some wish. There certainly does not appear to be one answer that explains it all and puts this topic to rest.

It is the most intriguing and thought-provoking topic I've ever investigated. When it comes to UFOs, it seems to me that the U.S. government doesn't want us to know the truth, or anything near it. I have seen more than enough documentation to say without feeling any doubt. I want us to continue to try and solve the mystery of UFOs and UAPs, and to push for answers. This discussion is far from over.

John Greenewald Jr. is the founder of blackvault.com. You can follow him on Twitter @blackvaultcom or on YouTube channel TheBlackVaultOriginals.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

This article was updated with details of the hearing on 5/17/2022.