The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense now have just under six months to deliver an unclassified report on “unidentified aerial phenomena” to the intelligence and armed services committees of Congress.
It’s a stipulation that was included in the “committee comments” section of the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021, which was included in the massive spending bill.
It must also describe in detail “an inter-institutional process to ensure timely data collection and centralized analysis of all reports of unidentified aerial phenomena to the Federal Government” and designate an official responsible for that process.
Finally, the report must identify any potential national security threats posed by UFOs and assess whether any of the nation’s adversaries could be behind such activity, the committee said.
The submitted report should not be classified, the committee said, although it may contain a classified annex.
A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed the news to the fact-checking website Snopes.
Congress has long been interested in UFOs
The Pentagon released three short videos in April last year showing “unidentified aerial phenomena,” clips that the United States Navy had previously confirmed to be real.
The videos, one from 2004 and the other two from 2015, show what appear to be unidentified flying objects moving rapidly while being recorded by infrared cameras. Two of the videos show service members reacting in amazement at how fast the objects are moving. A voice speculates that it could be a drone.
It is not yet clear what the objects are and there is no consensus on their origin. Some believe they may be drones potentially operated by earthly adversaries looking to gather intelligence, rather than the aliens we normally identify with UFOs.
In August, the Pentagon announced that it was forming a task force to investigate.
Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long been concerned about the appearance of unidentified aircraft that flew over US military bases. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted last June for the Pentagon and the intelligence community to provide a public analysis of the encounters.
But this is not the first time the Pentagon has investigated aerial encounters with unknown objects. The Pentagon previously studied recordings of such incidents as part of a classified program that has since been closed and launched at the urging of former Senator Harry Reid.
That program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon, because they assessed that there were higher priorities that needed funding.
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Former program chief Luis Elizondo told CNN in 2017 that he personally believes that “there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”