Senator Marco Rubio believes the truth is out there and he wants to get past the UFO jokes to make sure the national security of the United States isn’t threatened in any way, he told Newsweek.

“Dozens of men and women we have entrusted with the defense of our country are telling us about encounters with unidentified aircraft with capabilities we do not fully understand,” Rubio said in exclusive comments ahead of a 60 Minutes interview that will air this weekend. “We cannot allow the stigma of UFO’s to keep us from seriously investigating these encounters.”

UFOs, long dismissed and relegated to movies about aliens visiting earth and breathless message board posts, have begun to shed the farce label in recent years after the release of footage of high-profile U.S. military encounters with aircraft of unknown origin.

The 2019 leaked photos and video taken by U.S. Navy personnel of one such encounter, which showed triangle shaped objects flying through the air, were confirmed as authentic by the Defense Department in April of this year. Even the name of the objects — the branding if you will — has been revamped when discussed by the U.S. government, getting away from UFOs, to unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs.

Rubio has in many ways taken the baton from former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who previously led the way in pressuring Congress to try to understand what was going on.

In June 2020, tucked into the 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act, Rubio added language requesting that the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense create a report with “a detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting.” Two months later, the Pentagon followed suit with the new, more serious approach, creating a task force to investigate the encounters by U.S. military aircraft.

A recent story in The New Yorker entitled “How The Pentagon Started Taking UFOs Seriously” traced the history of UFO sightings, focusing on the sightings taken most seriously because they were by trained pilots or military personnel, while also including people who routinely debunk the sightings. One prolific debunker, Mick West, dismissed the interest by members of Congress like Reid before, and Rubio now.

“They’re just UFO fans,” he told The New Yorker. “They’ve been convinced there’s something to it and so are trying to push for disclosure.”

But Rubio sees the topic as a national security issue, telling Fox News in March that while there could be a logical explanation for the unexplained aircraft, “maybe it’s a foreign adversary that has made a technological leap.”

“People think about space aliens,” Rubio told TMZ in March. “For me there’s stuff flying over military installations and no one knows what it is, and it isn’t ours.”

The report from U.S. intelligence and defense has a deadline of June 1, one that Rubio has said he is unsure if will be met. Asked about the release, Rubio’s office told Newsweek June 1 is the expectation and there hasn’t been an update.

But as he echoed to Newsweek, the stigma attached to UFOs is an impediment to reaching a hard conclusion about what the government is dealing with, one that goes back decades to a time when if a Navy pilot reported a sighting, he or she would have been sent to the flight surgeon “to check out your head and make sure you’re not seeing things,” as Rubio told Fox News earlier this year.

But there is perhaps no escaping where questions about UFOs eventually go, as was the case when TMZ spoke to Rubio at the airport. Asked if there would be concern that if the objects were indeed piloted by aliens then they are likely smarter than humans, Rubio answered the question head on.

“Well, if they made it all the way here they probably are, yeah, they’re probably more advanced,” he said. “If they can get here and we can’t get there that tells you they’re probably more advanced.”

In typical TMZ fashion, the entertainment outlet had just one more question for him. Should Biden and the U.S. government be friendly with the unexpected visitors?

Rubio laughed, waving the question away, saying only that it would be, “One heck of a way to top the last year and a half.”

marco rubio ufo

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