WASHINGTON, D.C. - A handful of U.S. senators attended a classified briefing in Washington on Wednesday in regard to alleged sightings and encounters with highly-sophisticated unidentified aircraft reported by Navy pilots and personnel, Politico reported.
The briefing occurred three days after President Donald Trump received a similar classified briefing, and just shy of one month after the New York Times published a detailed report of the Navy sightings that described some of the unexplained aerial phenomena -- what most people would call UFOs -- that have had Navy personnel scratching their heads in recent years.
F/A-18 pilots and other Navy personnel have reported strange sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena in two distinct locations: the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier battle group off the California coast near San Diego in 2004, and the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt off the East Coast of the United States between 2014 and 2015.
One incident involved two Navy airmen flying F/A-18s about 100 miles off the coast of California in November of 2004, when a dispatcher aboard the nearby Navy cruiser, the U.S.S. Princeton, alerted them to the presence of mysterious aircraft. The Princeton had been tracking these aircraft for days, so the two Navy pilots pursued, only to be baffled by the speed and movement patterns of the unidentified aircraft.
"It accelerated like nothing I've ever seen," Commander David Fravor told the New York Times about his encounter that November day. Fravor also recounted telling a fellow pilot in the immediate aftermath of his encounter, "I have no idea what I saw. It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s."
The Navy and government aren't necessarily looking for extraterrestrials, though.
President Trump, who confirmed during an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he had been briefed on the matter, said, "People are saying they're seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly."
Other officials aren't writing off the testimonies so easily and are approaching the phenomena as a possible threat to national security.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was present at the briefing on Wednesday, and his spokesperson, Rachel Cohen, told Politico, "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."
The Navy has been setting up and carrying out the briefing meetings, for which there has been an increasing amount of interest in Washington.
Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Day told Politico that there were already follow-up discussions lined up for other interested staffers on Thursday.
"Navy officials will continue to keep interested congressional members and staff informed," Day said. "Given the classified nature of these discussions, we will not comment on the specific information provided in these Hill briefings."