Heinrich is intrigued by newest UFO movies » Albuquerque Journal

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Heinrich is intrigued by latest UFO videos » Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich this week joined a growing group of lawmakers who are saying it’s time to retire the tinfoil hat jokes and get to the bottom of what could be real-world evidence of out-of-this-world flying objects.

A videographer for TMZ, the tabloid news outlet, approached New Mexico’s senior senator while he was walking alone on a Capitol Hill sidewalk Wednesday and asked Heinrich his thoughts on recent news about UFOs.

“I think we need to get to the bottom of it. It’s pretty intriguing,” Heinrich said in response.

On Sunday, a 60 Minutes report on UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena — UAPs — featured government videos and interviews with retired Navy pilots who recalled encountering what they thought were strange, possibly otherworldly aircraft. During their remarks, the pilots said, during training flights, they saw aircraft that had no wings or exhaust and moved in ways that defied known technology.

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“I don’t know what it is, but anytime you have legitimate pilots describing something that doesn’t seem to conform to the laws of physics that govern aviation, and is in U.S. air space, I think it’s something we need to get to the bottom of,” Heinrich told TMZ.

The 60 Minutes report was just the latest of several reports in recent years by news outlets on the phenomena. And Heinrich is just the latest government official trying to find out if we earthlings have ever had a close encounter.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, also appeared in the recent 60 Minutes report, in which he said it’s time to end the UFO stigma on Capitol Hill, and for the government to create a process for analyzing the sightings. Former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was a champion for UFO research. In August, the Department of Defense created a UAP Task Force, with the goal to try to understand the nature and origins of UAPs.

TMZ also asked Heinrich what would be more concerning: if the apparent aircraft belonged to a foreign government, or to aliens?

“Oh, option B. Much bigger thing to worry about,” Heinrich said.

“If there is a foreign government that had these kinds of capabilities, I think we would see other indications of advanced technology,” he continued. “I cannot imagine that what has been described or shown in some of the videos belongs to any government I’m aware of.”

Heinrich had actually been a supporter of shining a light on what the government knows about UFOs before he gave the interview this week.

A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Heinrich supported a provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that calls on the UAP Task Force and the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize the collection and reporting on UAP data.

The provision also calls on the publication of an unclassified report on the topic, which may have a classified index.

That report is expected to be released next month.

PUMPING GAS: Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., is seeking to cut nearly two dimes from the cost of gas until the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

Herrell this week introduced the Pausing Unrelenting Markups on Petroleum (PUMP) Act of 2021. The act would suspend the collection of an 18.4 cent federal excise tax on gasoline until all emergency health orders in place because of the pandemic are lifted, or for six months after the bill is enacted, whichever is longer.

Herrell said gas prices are at their highest national average since September 2014.

“Inflation is rising and American pocketbooks are stretched,” said Herrell. “The PUMP Act would immediately reduce gas prices and allow consumers to spend money in other ways, which will help our economic recovery get back on track.”

Ryan Boetel: rboetel@abqjournal.com