Marco Rubio claims US needs to tackle ‘stigma’ and take UFOs seriously

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<p>Senator Marco Rubio appears on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday</p> (CBS 60 Minutes)

Senator Marco Rubio appears on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday

(CBS 60 Minutes)

Marco Rubio is calling for the United States to take the issue of UFO sightings seriously, ahead of an unclassified report to Congress.

The US senator and top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee told CBS’s 60 Minutes of concerns about UFO “stigma” in Congress, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

It follows calls from the committee for a report on UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), to be released by the US director of national intelligence and the secretary of defence in December.

“There’s a stigma on Capitol Hill,” Mr Rubio told 60 Minutes. “Some of my colleagues are very interested in this topic and some kind of giggle when you bring it up, but I don't think we can allow the stigma to keep us from having an answer to a very fundamental question.”

Mr Rubio called for an unclassified report to Congress following briefings from defence department officials, and reports of the defence departments' continued investigation of UFO sightings.

The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), the former investigation unit for UFOs, was thought to be closed in 2012, but was found operating as a part of the naval intelligence office, as The New York Times first reported.

"I want us to take it seriously and have a process to take it seriously,” Mr Rubio said of UFOs. "I want us to have a process to analyse the data every time it comes in”.

"That there be a place where this is catalogued and constantly analysed, until we get some answers. Maybe it has a very simple answer. Maybe it doesn't."

The former director of AATIP, Loue Elizondo, told 60 Minutes that although there were often "simple explanations" for supposed UFO sightings, at other times there were not.

“You're still left with the fact that this is in our airspace and it's real,” added Mr Elzondo, of non-US forces, “[and] that's when it becomes compelling, and that's when it becomes problematic." 

“The government has already stated for the record that they're real. I'm not telling you that. The United States government is telling you that,” the former ATTIP director told 60 Minutes.

The Independent has approached the Pentagon for comment.

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