Congress Orders U.F.O. Records Released but Drops Bid for Broader Disclosure

Congress has passed a legislation that requires the government to eventually disclose some information about U.F.O.s to the public. However, the measure falls short of the more aggressive steps that lawmakers had hoped for in order to ensure greater transparency regarding unidentified phenomena and extraterrestrial activity. The legislation, which was included in the annual defense policy bill, directs the National Archives to collect government documents related to “unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and nonhuman intelligence.” President Biden is expected to sign the provision into law, which states that any undisclosed records must be made public within 25 years, unless the president decides to keep them classified for national security reasons. Lawmakers from both parties have been pushing for increased government transparency on U.F.O.s and extraterrestrial matters, citing concerns that the executive branch has been concealing information that should be made public. Despite this progress, the legislation is not as strong as what some lawmakers had originally sought. Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, acknowledges that while this is a win for government transparency, it is still a weaker measure compared to what was initially proposed. The legislation excludes a presidential commission that would have had the power to declassify government records on U.F.O.s. Another proposal by Representative Tim Burchett, which aimed to order the Defense Department to declassify records on publicly known sightings, was also dropped during negotiations. The final legislation allows government agencies to keep records classified if their release poses a national security threat or invades personal privacy. Critics argue that this approach leaves the declassification process largely in the hands of entities that have historically obstructed disclosure. The Pentagon, under pressure from Congress, has started providing more explanations for videos and reports of unidentified phenomena, but some mysteries remain unresolved.
Congress passed legislation on Thursday that requires the government to disclose information about U.F.O.s (unidentified flying objects) to the public. However, the measure falls short of the more aggressive steps that lawmakers had sought to force greater transparency around unidentified phenomena and extraterrestrial activity. The legislation directs the National Archives to collect government documents related to unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and nonhuman intelligence. Any records not already disclosed must be made public within 25 years, unless the president determines they need to remain classified for national security reasons. Lawmakers believe that the executive branch has concealed information about U.F.O.s that should be made public. Senator Chuck Schumer called it a major win for government transparency, but the measure is weaker than what lawmakers had initially proposed. Negotiators dropped a proposal for a presidential commission to declassify U.F.O. records and another proposal to declassify records relating to publicly known sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena. The legislation grants government agencies the authority to keep records classified if their release poses a national security threat or invades personal privacy. Critics argue that the legislation leaves the declassification of U.F.O. records largely up to the same entities that have blocked their disclosure for decades. The Pentagon has recently increased its explanations for videos showing unidentified phenomena, indicating that pressure from Congress for greater transparency has had some early results.

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