WASHINGTON -- Have alien lifeforms meddled with the United States' nuclear weapons systems?
Organizers of week-long public hearings on UFOs and extraterrestrials say this is the case, and will present witnesses to back up their claims.
Tuesday marks the second day of these hearings, and former Air Force personnel are expected to testify that extraterrestrials interfered with nuclear weapons systems on several occasions, organizers say.
The next round of testimony will also touch upon the infamous "Bentwaters UFO incident" of 1980, which has become the United Kingdom's best-known close encounter.
Six former members of Congress are being paid $20,000 each to preside over the event -- which runs through Friday -- hearing testimony by folks hoping to prove that aliens try to contact Earth, and that the government tries to keep it a secret.
"This is a pseudo-congressional hearing," cautioned former Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich, making clear the event at the National Press Club doesn't exactly have the blessing of Congress.
But it looked a lot like a congressional hearing Monday with veterans of Capitol Hill seated at the dais, faced by earnest-looking witnesses leaning into the table-top microphones.
"I have, seven times, heard of cases in which pilots were scrambled to chase UFOs," said Stanton Friedman, a Canadian UFO researcher.
"My estimate is a rough one, but it's not less than 10,000 reports are written by people, per year," added another UFO researcher, Richard Dolan.
The witnesses said they believed the remains of extraterrestrials are piling up in secret government laboratories.
"We have been retrieving craft and bodies from at least 1941 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri," explained Linda Moulton-Howe, a self-described journalist and researcher.
Roswell, N.M., Area 51 and Wright Patterson Air Force Base are just a few of the places witnesses said they feel UFO and ET evidence is hidden.
Even residents of the White House were identified as UFO observers.
"There's a lot of rumored stories about various presidents who have seen UFOs," says Grant Cameron, another witness identified as a Canadian UFO researcher.
Unshackled from the constraints of party leaders and committee chairmen, the former members of Congress were free to press their case.
Former Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., has had a long-time interest in UFOs and was a natural to sit on the panel.
"As our technology has developed, the sightings have become more frequent. But there have been sightings way back in history, am I correct?" Bartlett asked the witnesses.
"Correct," the witnesses assured the former lawmaker. "That is absolutely correct."
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the panel heard repeated charges of a government cover-up.
"Something is very wrong in the underbelly of this country that I think is related directly to a policy of denial," charged Linda Moulton Howe.
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