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University of Chicago expert: no evidence to claims U.S. recovered "nonhuman" remains from UFOs

Live on The Stream: UFO hearing recap
Live on The Stream: UFO hearing recap 07:03

CHICAGO (CBS) -- "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"; that's the advice from one space historian after a former military intelligence officer-turned-whistleblower told House lawmakers that Congress is being kept in the dark about unidentified anomalous phenomena, known as UAPs or UFOs.

David Grusch, who served for 14 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, appeared before the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee alongside two former fighter pilots who had firsthand experience with UAPs.

Grusch claimed that executive branch agencies have withheld information about the mysterious objects for years.

He also claimed the federal government is in possession of UFOs along with "nonhuman" remains.

Grusch served as a representative on two Pentagon task forces investigating UAPs until earlier this year. He told lawmakers that he was informed of "a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program" during the course of his work examining classified programs. He said he was denied access to those programs when he requested it, and accused the military of misappropriating funds to shield these operations from congressional oversight. He later said he had interviewed officials who had direct knowledge of aircraft with "nonhuman" origins, and that so-called "biologics" were recovered from some craft, though he acknowledged he hadn't seen any such bodies himself.

While the idea of extraterrestrial life being here on Earth might be frightening, or maybe exciting, to some people, an expert said it's important to keep some perspective.

"History tells us that we have to start from the stance of default, robust skepticism. We need not just extraordinary evidence, but just any evidence, sufficient evidence, to believe these claims; and that has not been provided yet," said space historian Jordan Bimm, a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Chicago's Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.

You can watch the full CBS Chicago interview with Bimm in the video player above.

At Wednesday's hearing, Members of both parties questioned how Congress should go about investigating the remarkable allegations, a reflection of the increasing willingness by lawmakers to demand the executive branch be more forthcoming about the phenomena.

"We're going to uncover the cover-up, and I hope this is just the beginning of many more hearings and many more people coming forward about this," said Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican from Tennessee.

Congress hears from whistleblower about UFO sightings 01:56

The UAP issue has gained widespread attention from Congress and the public in recent years with the release of several video recordings of the encounters, which typically show seemingly nondescript objects moving through the air at very high speeds with no apparent method of propulsion.

The Pentagon's All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, which Congress established to investigate the incidents, has investigated roughly 800 reports of UAPs as of May. While military officials have said most cases have innocuous origins, many others remain unexplained. Lawmakers said the military knows more about the objects than it has disclosed to Congress.

Sue Gough, a spokeswoman for AARO, said in a statement that the office "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." She also said the department is "committed to timely and thorough reporting to Congress."

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