Heinrich calls for transparency, funding related to unidentified objects - Albuquerque Journal

Heinrich calls for transparency, funding related to unidentified objects

Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray points to a video display of a UAP during a hearing of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hearing on “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As strange objects take to the skies above the United States, New Mexico’s senior senator is calling for more transparency and funding to try to better understand the phenomena.

U.S. senators on Thursday received a classified briefing on the unidentified flying objects shot down recently in American and Canadian airspace. Afterward, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling for the office tasked with investigating UFOs to be fully funded.

The senators wrote a letter to the deputy secretary of defense and the principal deputy director of National Intelligence seeking to fully fund the office that investigates unidentified anomalous phenomena. Unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs, is another term for UFOs used by government officials.

From giving interviews to TMZ about UFOs on the streets of Washington, D.C., to pushing for the creation of an office to investigate the phenomena and report and brief Congress on the matter, Heinrich, a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, has found himself in the thick of the UFO topic in the nation’s capital.

He said in a statement that Americans deserve transparency.

The 2022 UAP report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found more than 360 new detections and about half of them remain unexplained, he said.

Of the cases in the latest report, 163 were characterized as balloon or balloon-like entities.

“Americans don’t want speculation on UAPs, they want answers,” Heinrich said in a statement. “Whether it’s a blip on the radar or, yes, a balloon in our skies, the Defense and Intelligence communities need to deliver, in a timely fashion, solid analysis and public-facing reports about any health or national security implications that may be presented.”

Once a taboo subject for politicians, formal investigation of the objects, reporting and public awareness has ramped up in recent years. And events of recent days — American fighter jets shooting down a balloon apparently from China and other unknown objects in American and Canadian airspace — have only further aroused interest.

President Biden addressed the country about the objects Thursday. He said the first balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina was a high-altitude surveillance balloon affiliated with the Chinese military. He said it’s not clear what the other three flying objects were, but that there was no evidence they were nefarious.

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M., on Friday joins students, teachers, administrators and board members of the ToHajiilee Community School to celebrate $90.4 million secured in the Fiscal 2023 budget to replace the school.

RELIEF FOR SCHOOL: Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M., visited To’Hajiilee Community School on Friday to celebrate tens of millions of dollars headed the school’s way for construction.

The school was built on a floodplain and experiences regular flooding, sections of the facility have been found to be unsafe and at times classes are canceled as students and facility seek higher ground.

There was $90.4 million to build a new school included in the 2023 Omnibus bill.

“Funding to replace this school of will enable To’Hajiilee to build a state-of-the-art facility to serve the community and students for generations to come,” Stansbury said after her visit.

To’Hajiilee Community School Board Vice President Paulene Abeyta, in a shared statement, said she was “excited and relieved” the students would have a school to grow in going forward.

“Support for this was not overnight,” Abeyta said. “We invited anyone and everyone willing to listen and visit our campus so that we could show them the rapidly deteriorating foundation, the excessive damage from multiple floodings, and the shifting wall.”

Ryan Boetel: rboetel@abqjournal.com

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