(WASHINGTON) -- The powerful House Oversight Committee is in the "early stages" of preparing a hearing on UFOs in the wake of unconfirmed claims from a former intelligence official that the U.S. has allegedly found crashed alien spacecraft -- an account the Pentagon says is unsubstantiated.
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., was first asked about these claims by a NewsNation reporter on Tuesday and said, "I've heard about it, I don't know anything about it. ... We plan on having a hearing."
In a subsequent statement to ABC News on Wednesday, Oversight Committee spokesman Austin Hacker said: "In addition to recent claims by a whistleblower, reports continue to surface regarding unidentified anomalous phenomena. The House Oversight Committee is following these UAP reports and is in the early stages of planning a hearing."
Republican Reps. Anna Paulina Luna and Tim Burchett confirmed on Twitter that they will lead the committee's investigation into UFOs, officially referred to as unidentified anomalous phenomena or UAPs.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon said that the Department of Defense's UAP task force, reorganized since 2022 as the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), "has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate" the claims about crashed alien craft.
"To date, AARO has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently," Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough told ABC News on Monday night.
The former intelligence official, David Grusch, had alleged on Monday that the U.S. government has a covert program focused on recovering debris from crashed, non-human origin spacecraft and is attempting to reverse-engineer the technology, the online tech outlet The Debrief reported.
There has been no public confirmation of Grusch's account, and a leading House Republican, intelligence chairman Mike Turner, also expressed skepticism about the idea that the U.S. government has recovered alien spacecraft.
Grusch has said he gave evidence of such a program to Congress and the Office of the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, according to The Debrief.
Grusch said that for a little more than six months, until July 2022, he was assigned to a UAP task force that was a predecessor of AARO. He acknowledged to The Debrief that his task force did not have access to the alleged program related to crashed spacecraft but said he became aware of it through his work.
"Every decade there's been individuals who've said the United States has such pieces of unidentified flying objects that are from outer space," Rep. Turner of Ohio said when asked on Fox News about Grusch's claims. "There's no evidence of this and certainly it would be quite a conspiracy for this to be maintained, especially at this level."
In an April hearing, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of AARO, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that his agency was reviewing 650 incidents dating back decades but "found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics."
Last week, Kirkpatrick said that the total number of incidents had grown to "well over 800 cases."
"The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrate mundane characteristics of balloons, unmanned aerial systems, clutter, natural phenomena, or other readily explainable sources," Kirkpatrick told lawmakers in April.
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