Fact Check

Did Rep. Tim Burchett Accuse US Government of Covering up UFOs 'Since 1947'?

Prior to his appearance on Fox News, Burchett had suggested that alien technology behind UFO sightings "could turn us into a charcoal briquette."

Published July 13, 2023

 (Fox News)
Image courtesy of Fox News
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett said that the U.S. government has covered up evidence of UFOs since 1947.

On July 10, 2023, Fox News Host Jesse Waters asked U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., if he knew of evidence "that the government has this crazy alien stuff and is keeping it from us?" 

His question, at least in part, stemmed from Burchett's appearance on the podcast Event Horizon, where Burchett discussed his work on the U.S. House Oversight Committee and its efforts to declassify what the Department of Defense (DOD) describes as unexplained anomalous phenomena (UAP) but what are popularly termed Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs. 

In June 2023, that committee announced that it would hold a hearing into the claims of David Grusch, a former DOD staffer who led that department's analysis of UAP and who claimed that the government had been collecting non-human-made aircrafts/spacecrafts for decades. Burchett was one of two congressmen preparing for that hearing. 

On the Event Horizon podcast Burchett said that, in theory, such technology could turn humans into "into a charcoal briquette." This comment inspired the chyron Fox News used for the Waters interview segment:

In response to Waters' question about "crazy alien stuff," Burchett described the activity of some UAP observed by military personnel, videos of which were released by the DOD in 2021, highlighting the impossibility of the purported technology shown in the videos if human made. 

In his response, Burchett reiterated Grusch's claim that the government has recovered alien technology and suggested that the U.S. has been covering this up since 1947 — the year of the notorious Roswell, New Mexico, incident — if not earlier: 

Some of these craft that you're watching right there, they have no heat trail. They defy every bit of physics that we know about. They can fly underwater or swim underwater, [...] And they basically have no friction and there is no heat trail. [...] We don't have any idea what's propelling them. [...]

If Putin had a U F O, he'd land the thing on the White House lawn, probably get out, ride a unicorn bare-chested over to the president and punch him in the mouth and then ride back to Mother Russia. If the Chinese had it, they'd own us. [...]

So you're left with one other conclusion. These things are coming from somewhere else, and this has been covered up since 1947 or sooner. [... ] We've been dealing with this at least since 1947, probably since about 1893, I believe, was the Aurora, Texas [UFO sighting incident].

The Aurora, Texas, event Burchett referenced occurred allegedly in 1897. The legend was spawned by a newspaper item submitted to The Dallas Morning News for publication April 19, 1897, in which the author, S. E. Haydon, asserted that an airship of alien origin had crashed into a local judge's windmill, and that an officer with the United States signal service believed its origin to have been Mars:

The pilot of the ship is supposed to be the only one on board, and while his remains are badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world. 

Mr. T. J. Weems, the United States signal service officer at this place and an authority on astronomy, gives it as his opinion that he was a native of the planet Mars. Papers found on his person — evidently the record of his travels — are written in some unknown hieroglyphics, and can not be deciphered. 

Later reporting revealed that "officer" T. J. Weems was, in reality, a local blacksmith and not part of the U.S. government. The Aurora event is now largely considered to have been a hoax. 

However, because Burchett did allege — and has on many other occasions — that the U.S. government has been hiding evidence of its collection of alien spacecraft since at least 1947, we rate the claim about his comment as "Correctly Attributed." 


 "Aurora, Texas, UFO Incident." Wikipedia, 2 July 2023. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Aurora,_Texas,_UFO_incident&oldid=1162994455.

Can Aliens Turn Us into Charcoal? www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COPF_OgWq8Q. Accessed 13 July 2023.

Gabbatt, Adam, and Joan E. Greve. "House of Representatives to Hold Hearing on Whistleblower's UFO Claims." The Guardian, 8 June 2023. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/08/ufo-house-representatives-hearing-investigation.

"How an Alien Autopsy Hoax Captured the World's Imagination for a Decade." Time, 24 June 2016, https://time.com/4376871/alien-autopsy-hoax-history/.

"Texas Town's Spaceman Tale Lives On." Newspapers.Com, 28 Apr. 1983, https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-commercial-appeal-texas-towns-space/128152362/.

"We Are Not Alone" UFO Whistleblowers Kickoff New Hearings in Congress With Rep. Tim Burchett. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHGEMjhuVSY. Accessed 13 July 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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