A group of 21 former military and government officials told a packed house at the National Press Club stories worthy of a whole episode of the The X Files Wednesday.
These men in suits spoke of high-speed saucers, crashed ships, alien bodies and conspiracies of silence. The eyewitnesses came forward at the behest of the Disclosure Project, a non-profit research group dedicated, as head Steven Greer says, to "working to fully disclose the facts about UFO's, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems."
Since December, Greer has deposed more than 100 witnesses and logged over 120 hours of tape in his search for proof that aliens are, or have been, among us. He brought with him four hours of video tape and a parade of former Air Force, Army, and Navy officers and air traffic controllers who swore up and down they had seen things.
Prepared for the public humiliation often cast upon people who claim to have seen aliens, they related stories of lights on the horizon and objects in the sky that would sit idly for a few minutes before taking off at speeds unattainable by human aircraft.
"We went down from 30,000 feet to 1,000 feet where the UFO was hovering and went into a steep dive and actually exceeded the red line of the aircraft, so it's kind of dangerous chasing UFOs," said retired Air Force intelligence officer George Filer. "Any case, I was able to get the UFO on the aircraft radar at about 40 miles, and you could see a light out in the distance. And as we closed, we kept on picking up this radar return."
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Clifford Stone said, "We've told the American people that there's no such thing as UFOs...I've been involved where we have recovered these objects. We know them to be of extra-terrestrials.
"I was involved in situations where we actually did recoveries of crashed saucers, for a lack of a better term, and debris thereof," Stone said. "There were bodies that were involved with some of these crashes, also some were alive. While we were doing all this, we were telling the American public there was nothing to it."
Nearly all of the men's experiences happened while they were working for the military during the 1960's and '70's. They told of standing orders they uniformly received -- report their experiences to NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, never write anything down, and pretend it hadn't happened.
Greer said the group wants Congress to hold hearings on the prevalence of UFOs.
"We can prove through the testimony and documents that we will be presenting that this subject has been hidden from members of Congress and at least two administrations that we are aware of, two presidential administrations," he said.
But Air Force spokeswoman Gloria Cales said the stories Greer is trotting out are not true. In Operation Blue Book, the Air Force studied 12,618 reported UFO sightings between 1947-1969 and found plausible explanations for all but 701 of them. And of those 701, she insists, there is no evidence that they were extra-terrestrial in nature.
Greer said that since the aliens aren't hostile, there's no harm in recognizing the evidence, unless, of course, it means scrapping plans "to weaponize space," something aliens apparently oppose.
Greer said there's another reason to be up front about the phenomenon.
"Technologies connected to UFOs and extra-terrestrial vehicles, if declassified and used for peaceful energy generation and propulsion, would solve the looming energy crisis definitively, would end global warming, would correct the environmental challenges that the earth is facing," he said.