(NewsNation) — The Senate has passed an amendment that would force government agencies to hand over any records on UFOs within 300 days and would mandate the disclosure of those records to the public unless there is a compelling reason to keep them classified.
What is the UAP Disclosure Act?
The UAP Disclosure Act of 2023 was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2024, and it sets up a timeline and process to deal with reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), more commonly referred to as UFOs. The act sets up a process for disclosing information on UFOs as well as ensuring any recovered technology would belong to the government.
The amendment was passed the same month a hearing in the House was held after whistleblower David Grusch came forward with allegations that the Pentagon has a UFO retrieval program that has been kept secret from both the public and Congress.
What information is the government required to turn over?
The act gives government agencies 300 days to turn over any information on UFOs, including records along with any samples or technology that may have been recovered.
Can any records be kept secret?
The president is allowed to postpone disclosure of certain records if disclosure poses a national security risk. The legislation requires postponed records to be reviewed periodically to see if it is safe to declassify them.
Postponed records will also need to have an unclassified written reason for the postponement that is publicly available. For example, stating a record contains the names of those working in intelligence who may be harmed if their identities were to become known.
What if a government agency refuses to turn over records?
It’s unclear how the legislation would compel a government agency to disclose records that have been deliberately kept from Congress.
What is the UAP Records Review Board?
While agencies have 300 days to gather and turn over information, President Joe Biden has 90 days from when the act goes into effect to form an independent review board.
The nine-member board cannot include anyone connected to existing UAP research or programs and has to include at least one national security officer, foreign service official, scientist or engineer, economist, professional historian and sociologist.
Once agencies have turned all their information over, the review board has 180 days to investigate and must publish its findings within 14 days after the investigation concludes.
What is eminent domain and how does it apply to UAPs?
The act also establishes eminent domain over any technology of unknown origin or biological remains from nonhuman intelligence. Eminent domain allows the government to take over private property for the public good.
In other words, if aliens land in your backyard, you don’t get to keep them or their flying saucer.
Who sponsored the legislation?
The bipartisan act was sponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., in an effort to bring more transparency to a subject that has captured public attention but often drawn scorn and ridicule.
The bill is modeled after efforts to declassify records regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Who’s paying for this?
The legislation is included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and provides for $20,000,000 for fiscal year 2024. In the meantime, the president is directed to use discretionary funds to cover any costs.
What else is the government doing about UFOs?
As Congress pushes for more disclosure on UFOs, NASA also announced a new role in the agency, director of UAP research, which was created to investigate unexplained phenomena in hopes of moving the subject from stigma to science. The Pentagon has also launched a new website to collect civilian reports of UFOs.