Congress Orders Deadline For Classified UFO Records’ Public Release
Congress on Thursday passed a defense bill that requires the federal government to publicly release its records on UFOs, or what it calls “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” within 25 years so long as there’s no objection by the then-president.
The bill, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law, would see the records collected by the National Archives and Records Administration until their release, which would likely be around 2049.
That could be postponed by a future president if it’s determined that there would be an identifiable harm to the nation’s military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations. This harm must outweigh the public interest in disclosure, according to the legislation.
Examples include an intelligence agent who is identified in the records requiring identity protection, or the release interfering with the conduct of intelligence activities, the bill said. The same would apply if the release could “demonstrably and substantially impair” national security.
“This is a major, major win for government transparency on UAPs and it gives us a strong foundation for more action in the future,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has pushed for the declassification.
The bill is similar to a law passed by Congress in 1992 that ordered the National Archives to collect and then release classified documents on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination within 25 years.
That deadline arrived in October 2017, but the files’ release was at first repeatedly postponed by then-President Donald Trump and, later, Biden. At this point, roughly 99% of the files have been released, the National Archives has said.
Schumer previously advocated along with multiple other lawmakers for the immediate release of UAP records, unless a review board offered legitimate reasons to keep them classified.
His proposal for the establishment of a presidential commission to be tasked with the review ultimately didn’t make the defense bill’s final cut. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) also failed in his efforts to add a measure to the bill that would eliminate any review before the files’ release, as long as national security and government sources would not be compromised.
“We got ripped off,” said Burchett, according to The New York Times. “We got completely hosed. They stripped out every part.”
Public interest in UAPs has risen in recent years, particularly following the release of video footage that appears to show unidentified aircraft outmaneuvering U.S. military pilots.
“It’s just unbelievable the amount of Gs they can do. And they can’t keep up with them,” Burchett said back in July of one video, while complaining that he’s seen nothing but “cover-up on cover-up” from federal agencies on UAP and extraterrestrial sightings.
“I just want transparency. I just want the truth,” he said at the time.
Since then, the Pentagon has launched a website for declassified information on UAPs.
And in September, NASA released the results of a yearlong study on the mysterious objects, which failed to find any evidence that they are extraterrestrial in origin. Most UAPs are ultimately identified as balloons, aircraft or known natural phenomena, the study found.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that though they all can’t be explained, he doesn’t believe that they are from space, citing the distance that they would have to travel to reach our planet.
“It would have to be a very advanced civilization,” he said at a press conference following the NASA study. “The distances, you know: light years, hundreds of light years, billions of light years. But whatever we find we’re going to tell you.”