Why it matters: The New York Times published a bombshell story in late 2017 detailing the existence of a program within the US government that investigated reports of unidentified flying objects. Many viewed it as a watershed moment that led to some pretty incredible revelations, and we're now on the cusp of another that – if true – would be the biggest story in human history.

According to a former high-ranking intelligence official, the US government, its allies, and defense contractors have retrieved partially and fully intact exotic vehicles that have either landed or crashed. The craft are described as non-human in origin.

David Charles Grusch is the 36-year-old Air Force veteran that came forward with the stunning claim this week. The admission came as part of an exclusive report from The Debrief that was penned by Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, two of the three journalists that wrote the landmark NY Times story more than five years ago.

The intelligence officer turned whistleblower has provided Congress and the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) with a considerable amount of classified data on the subject of covert programs. Grusch also filed a complaint with the ICIG alleging months of retaliation and reprisals relating to disclosing information. In July 2022, the ICIG found the complaint to be "credible and urgent."

From 2019 – 2021, Grusch served as the National Reconnaissance Office's (NRO) representative to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, which was formally created in the summer of 2020 by the Department of Defense to "improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs."

In a sit-down interview with investigative journalist Ross Coulthart, Grusch claimed the UAP Task Force was refused access to a broad crash retrieval program. A small snippet of the interview recently aired on NewsNation, but according to Coulthart, he spoke with Grusch for over seven hours and will have the full rights to share the entire interview later this week.

Grusch left the government on April 7 of this year to "advance government accountability through public awareness." Interestingly enough, Grusch also submitted the information he shared with The Debrief to the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review at the Department of Defense and was given the green light to speak publicly.

In an effort to cover its bases, The Debrief has published an extensive fact-checking Q&A with co-founder and investigator Tim McMillan covering the many steps it took to verify as much information about Grusch as possible (background checking, speaking with colleagues, that sort of thing).

The Debrief also spoke with several other former and current intelligence officials that vouched for Grusch.

Karl E. Nell, a now-retired Army Colonel that served as the Army's liaison for the UAP Task Force from 2021-2022 and worked alongside Grusch, said, "His assertion concerning the existence of a terrestrial arms race occurring sub-rosa over the past eighty years focused on reverse engineering technologies of unknown origin is fundamentally correct, as is the indisputable realization that at least some of these technologies of unknown origin derive from non-human intelligence."

What has been shared thus far barely scratches the surface. Grusch alleges multiple government agencies have been nesting "legacy programs" within existing special and controlled access programs to avoid detection from oversight authorities. If true, it'd open a whole can of worms involving illegal dealings with contractors at the very least.

Grusch also asserts that, "When you recover something that's either landed or crashed, sometimes you encounter dead pilots. Believe it or not, as fantastical as that sounds, it's true."