The Senate Just Passed Its Massive Defense Bill: Here’s What That Means for UAP Disclosure

UAP Disclosure
(Credit: Senate Democrats/CC 2.0)

Welcome to this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief… following a recent clash on Capitol Hill over legislation that would work to release U.S. government records on unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), the verdict is in. In our analysis, we’ll be looking at 1) the current state of the NDAA, and the UAP Disclosure Act of 2023, 2) what the two U.S. Senators who put forward the amendment recently said on the Senate floor, and 3) why they are disappointed in the current version of the bill that passed, but also 4) why the efforts for what the original bill sought to accomplish are far from being over.

Quote of the Week  

“This is a major win for government transparency on UAPs. And it gives us a strong foundation for more action in the future.”

– Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)

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With that all behind us, it’s now time to look at the latest developments involving the embattled UAP Disclosure Act, and what elected officials are saying in the aftermath of a historic showdown related to U.S. government transparency.

The UAP Disclosure Act: Drama on Capitol Hill

Earlier this year, a 64-page proposal to bring about the disclosure of information on what the U.S. government calls unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD). Appropriately named the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Disclosure Act of 2023 (UAPDA), the proposal was based on an earlier law from 1992, which outlined the disclosure of records related to the JFK assassination in 1963.

Among the key components included in the legislation, introduced as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has been a provision concerning eminent domain, whereby the U.S. government could effectively confiscate and appropriate any UAP technologies that are revealed to exist, as well as the creation of a presidential records review board similar to the one outlined in the 1992 law.

UAP Disclosure bill

The Senate version of the bill was approved in an 86-11 vote over the summer, following a House vote that approved its version by a 219-210 vote. After each version of the bill was passed, the two chambers entered a formal conference process to negotiate between the two versions of the bill.

Unfortunately, efforts to eliminate or significantly change the wording in the UAP Disclosure Act arose amidst negotiations during the NDAA conference, which were apparently successful. The bill, albeit somewhat weakened, nonetheless made its way into the final version of the NDAA, which the Senate voted to pass on Wednesday, thereby authorizing $886 billion in national defense funding.

So where does that leave the UAP Disclosure Act? Here’s a blow-by-blow of what its co-sponsors had to say about the matter to their Senate colleagues earlier this week.

The Senators Speak

During a session earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his co-sponsor Mike Rounds took to the floor to address the bill they introduced, as well as changes that were made to it.

Schumer, speaking on Wednesday, said that UAP “are of immense interest and curiosity to the American people,” adding that “with that curiosity comes the risk for confusion, disinformation and mistrust, especially if the government is independent isn’t prepared to be transparent.”

“The United States government has gathered a great deal of information about UAPs over many decades but has refused to share it with the American people. That is wrong. And additionally, it breeds mistrust.”

Sen. Schumer speaks before the Senate on Wednesday during a colloquy on the UAP Disclosure Act.

Referencing testimony provided from what he characterized as “multiple credible sources that information on UAPs has also been withheld from Congress,” Schumer went on to emphasize that the UAP Disclosure Act “offered a commonsense solution” modeled after the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.

It brings together I think, a notable parallel in the withholding of information that the that about items that are in the government’s possession, regarding in this particular case, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” Rounds added.

“That same approach by government, in terms of the possible withholding of information brings more questions and more attention to the issue of the assassination. We wanted to take that same approach with regard to how we could dispel myths misinformation, about UAPs,” Rounds said.

“Beyond Disappointing”

“It’s beyond disappointing that the House has refused to work with us on all the important elements of the UAP Disclosure Act during the NDAA conference,” Schumer said. “But nevertheless, we did make important progress. For the first for the first time the national archives will gather records from across the federal government on UAPs and have a legal mandate to release those records to the public if appropriate.”

“This is a major major win for government transparency on UAPs. And it gives us a strong foundation for more action in the future,” Schumer added.

Rounds also emphasized the elements that he identified as “shortcomings of the conference committee agreement,” which include “the rejection, first of all, of a government wide review board composed of experts citizens, presidentially appointed and Senate confirmed to control the process of reviewing the records and recommending to the President, what records should be released immediately or postponed, and a requirement as a transparency measure for the government to obtain any recovered UAP material or biological remains that may have been provided to private entities in the past, and thereby hidden from Congress and the American people.”

“We are lacking oversight opportunities,” Rounds said of the exclusion of these provisions in the version of the bill that passed, “and we are not fulfilling our responsibilities.”

Speaking again after Rounds, Schumer added that “We keep working on our proposal to create an independent, presidentially appointed review board that can oversee UAP classified records, and create a system for releasing them more appropriate to the public,” adding that current provisions in the bill “will be largely up to the same entities that have blocked up this gate of their disclosure for decades.”

More Work to Be Done for UAP Disclosure

“We will keep working,” Schumer said, “I want to assure the American people [that] Senator Rounds and I will keep working to change the status quo.”

UAP Disclosure
Sen. Rounds speaking alongside Sen. Schumer earlier this week.

“To those who think that the citizen review board that would have been created in our UAP Disclosure Act—that it would be unprecedented and somehow would go too far—we note that the proposed review board was very closely modeled on the review board established in the JFK assassination Records Act of 1992,” Rounds added, “which has successfully guided the release of records to the American public on another very sensitive matter of high interest to the American people.”

“We encourage our colleagues to join us in the further investigation of this issue,” Schumer said in conclusion, “and in advancing legislation that will complete what we have accomplished in this NDAA.”

That concludes this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief. You can read past editions of The Intelligence Brief at our website, or if you found this installment online, don’t forget to subscribe and get future email editions from us here. Also, if you have a tip or other information you’d like to send along directly to me, you can email me at micah [@] thedebrief [dot] org, or Tweet at me @MicahHanks.

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