Congress Intelligence

The Lawfare Podcast: Making Sense of the UFO Hearing with Shane Harris

Scott R. Anderson, Shane Harris, Jen Patja
Monday, July 31, 2023, 9:16 AM
How does recent Congressional testimony fit into the broader universe of reports relating to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UFOs?

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This past week, the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs held a spirited hearing on an unusual topic: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAPs, the more correct term for what are commonly called UFOs, or Unidentified Flying Objects. The witnesses included two military veterans who claimed to have borne eyewitness to UAPs, and an intelligence community whistleblower who claims to have heard secondhand from contacts about a range of government activity relating to extraterrestrials, including the recovery of alien remains and crashed aircraft. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the witnesses’ testimony has triggered an array of strong reactions, from outright scorn and disbelief to an array of boosters eager to tie it into their own worldviews and conspiracy theories. 

To talk through the revelations at this hearing and the debate over UAPs more broadly, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down with veteran Washington Post national security reporter Shane Harris, who has closely followed the debate over UAPs for many years. They talked about how the witnesses’ testimony fits into the broader universe of reports relating to UAPs, what parts reflect serious policy problems and which don't, and how to separate the wheat from the chaff in the broader UAP debate.

Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Shane Harris has written about intelligence, security and foreign policy for more than two decades. He is a staff writer with The Washington Post, covering U.S. intelligence agencies and national security. He was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for stories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the presidential election. In 2019, he was part of the team that was a finalist for the Public Service award for coverage of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Shane has previously been a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, and National Journal. He is the author of two books, "The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" (Penguin Press, 2010) and "@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex" (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He frequently appears on national and international television and radio. He is also a co-host of the weekly podcast "Chatter." Shane graduated from Wake Forest University in 1998. He lives in Washington.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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