February 29, 2024

On Thursday, Congress passed legislation directing the government to eventually make some information about U.F.O.s public. This measure was inserted into the annual defense policy bill and includes a provision requiring the National Archives to collect government documents on unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and nonhuman intelligence. The president is expected to sign off on the law, which states that any undisclosed records must be made public within 25 years, unless the president deems them a national security risk.

Lawmakers have been pushing for more transparency around U.F.O.s and extraterrestrial matters, believing that the government has hidden information. However, the final measure included in the defense bill was not as aggressive as what some had sought. A bipartisan commission proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer and a more direct order to declassify U.F.O. records submitted in the House were not included in the final bill.

The measure included in the defense bill grants government agencies the authority to keep records classified, allowing them to decide whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the national security threat of release. Many lawmakers expressed disappointment in the final measure, arguing that the lack of oversight opportunities means that declassification of U.F.O. records will be largely up to the same entities that have historically blocked their disclosure.

Despite the disappointment, the Pentagon has started to provide more explanations for recent videos and reports showing unidentified phenomena, potentially as a result of pressure from Congress for greater transparency.

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