A bipartisan bill that would force the U.S. government to publicly divulge documents linked to potential UFO encounters after decades of obstruction is anticipated to be considered by the Senate in the coming days.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Mike Rounds are leading an initiative to compel the release of information about what the government officially refers to as “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” or UAPs. Their 64-page proposal is based on a 1992 American legislation that specifies how records pertaining to President John F. Kennedy’s killing should be handled.
They plan to offer the measure as an amendment to sweeping legislation moving through Congress that would authorize U.S. defense funding for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1.
Schumer’s backing likely will carry sway with many of his fellow Democrats. Rounds is a member of the Senate’s Intelligence and Armed Services committees.
“For decades, many Americans have been fascinated by objects mysterious and unexplained, and it’s long past time they get some answers,” Schumer said in a statement on Friday, adding that the public “has a right to learn about technologies of unknown origins, non-human intelligence and unexplainable phenomena.”
The amendment would require the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration to collect UAP records from all relevant government offices under “a presumption of immediate disclosure,” and a review board would have to provide a rationale for keeping documents classified.
“Our goal is to assure credibility with regard to any investigation or record keeping of materials” associated with UAPs, Rounds said.
Under the measure, records must be publicly disclosed in full no later than 25 years after they were created unless the U.S. president certifies that continued postponement is necessary because of a direct harm to national security.
It also establishes that the federal government would have “eminent domain” over any recovered technologies of unknown origin and any biological evidence of “non-human intelligence” that may be controlled by private individuals or entities.
Schumer is taking up a cause first advanced by the late Democratic Senator Harry Reid, who served as Senate majority leader from 2007 until 2015.
The U.S. government in the past was openly dismissive of UFO sightings that for decades have sparked the popular imagination, but in recent years has been much more open about the subject. It issued a watershed unclassified report in 2021 cataloguing observations – mostly from U.S. Navy personnel – dating back to 2004.
The Pentagon has investigated numerous unexplained sightings reported by military aviators and NASA formed a special panel to look into UAPs. The NASA panel in May said its study is hindered by a lack of high-quality data, as well as the stigma surrounding the whole issue of unidentified objects in the skies, which often end up being balloons and debris or related to atmospheric causes.