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Congress will hold the 1st public hearing on UFOs in 50 years

Lawmakers will discuss the "unidentified aerial phenomena" that have been caught on military video and whether they pose a threat to U.S. security.

What are the mysterious flying objects that have been caught on military video in recent years and do they pose a threat to America?

Those are the questions that will be discussed on Tuesday in the first congressional hearing about UFOs in 50 years when the U.S. House Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation gathers in Washington.

The mysterious flying objects known as UAPs, or "unidentified aerial phenomena," will be the main topic almost a year after intelligence officials said they couldn't explain a series of leaked military videos showing strange sights.

The leaked military readings released in May 2021 depicted U.S. Navy sailors reacting to a radar screen tracking nine different objects flying around their ship off the coast of San Diego and then disappearing in July 2019.

Those readings followed previous videos from Navy warships appearing to show unidentified objects flying around. The Pentagon confirmed all of the video clips were investigated by a UAP task force.

An intelligence report released in June 2021 listed 140 classified incidents that have baffled the Department of Defense.

While UFOs conjure scenes from "Independence Day" in pop culture, in the context of the military it simply means they cannot be identified as any type of aircraft. Questions have been raised over whether they could be drones from Russia and China, which have invested heavily in advanced drone technology.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and Rep. Andre Carson, of Indiana, are the leading Democrats holding Tuesday's hearing, which will discuss if the UAPs are any type of security threat to the U.S.

“The way they move can’t be explained," Schiff told NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz on TODAY Tuesday. "And we don’t know why that is but they move in ways that that aren’t consistent with what we understand about physics.”

"But the focus isn’t on extraterrestrials, it’s on UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena that may pose a national security risk," Carson told Schwartz.

The Pentagon said it hopes the hearing will establish a process for identifying the phenomena and alleviating any potential safety issues.