Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading a new effort that seeks to establish a commission to declassify United States government documents and other materials related to unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP).
The new legislation, currently referenced as the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) Disclosure Act of 2023, will provide “the expeditious disclosure of unidentified anomalous phenomena records,” according to a version that appeared online on Friday. The legislation is expected to be introduced as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
“I am honored to carry on the legacy of my mentor and dear friend Harry Reid and fight for the transparency that the public has long demanded surrounding these unexplained phenomena,” Schumer said in a Tweet on Friday.
Schumer’s amendment will seek to “increase transparency around Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) and further open scientific research,” according to a release that appeared on the Senate Democratic Majority website.
Schumer, who was also quoted in the release, said that Americans have “a right to learn about technologies of unknown origins, non-human intelligence, and unexplainable phenomena.”
“We are not only working to declassify what the government has previously learned about these phenomena but to create a pipeline for future research to be made public,” Schumer added.
The language of the amendment directs that “All Federal Government records related to unidentified anomalous phenomena should be preserved and centralized for historical and Federal Government purposes.”
It adds that all U.S. Federal Government records related to UAP should “carry a presumption of immediate disclosure” with the intent that they “should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history of the Federal Government’s knowledge and involvement surrounding unidentified anomalous phenomena.”
The amendment argues the necessity for new legislation related to UAP disclosure based partly on shortcomings of the current Freedom of Information Act, which “has proven inadequate in achieving the timely public disclosure of Government unidentified anomalous phenomena records that are subject to mandatory declassification review.”
“Legislation is necessary to restore proper oversight over unidentified anomalous phenomena records by elected officials in both the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government that has otherwise been lacking as of the enactment of this Act,” the draft language states.
The Act also provides guidance for the “creation of the unidentified anomalous phenomena Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration,” along with the timely provision of any related UAP documents to the Archivist of the United States and the “public disclosure of such records.”
“The UAP Records Collection would carry the presumption of immediate disclosure,” read a portion of the statement issued on Friday, “which means that a review board would have to provide a reasoning for the documents to stay classified.”
Following the creation of the UAP Records Collection, the legislation further directs the creation of a UAP Records Review Board, an independent agency that would provide oversight regarding whether any records related to UAP may be candidates for postponement of disclosure.
Among the more outstanding components of the new legislation is the inclusion that the U.S. federal government will have “eminent domain over any and all recovered technologies of unknown origin (TUO) and biological evidence of non-human intelligence (NHI) that may be controlled by private persons or entities in the interests of the public good,” according to Friday’s statement.
Leading the amendment with Schumer is Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity for the Armed Services Committee, with support from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Todd Young of Indiana, and Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
Schumer’s amendment, first reported by the New York Times on Thursday, has received bipartisan support and seeks to disclose materials related to UAP without compromising collection methods and other sensitive information.
Based on the new legislation, UAP records that are deemed releasable are to be publicly disclosed in their entirety no later than 25 years after their release following enactment of the new Act, with the stipulation that continued postponement may be determined if the President judges that their release may harm national security.
The amendment is reportedly being modeled after the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which similarly mandated the release of documents pertaining to Kennedy’s Assassination in 1963 no later than 25 years following its enactment.
The new legislation introduced by Schumer was preceded by language approved by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence late last month, which similarly focuses on revealing the existence of any technologies related to UAP currently in government holdings. First reported by Douglas Dean Johnson, the UAP provisions revealed in June are part of the Fiscal Year 2024 Intelligence Authorization Act and were unanimously approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 14.
All the recent instances of UAP-related legislation follow the public revelation of claims involving the existence of craft of non-human origin allegedly in the U.S. government’s possession, first reported by The Debrief on June 5, 2023. At the center of those claims had been David Charles Grusch, a former employee of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) who served as the representative for the NGA to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) from 2019 until 2021.
“After that project became public, Senators, Congressmen, committees, and staff began to pursue this issue and uncovered a vast web of individuals and groups with ideas and stories to share,” Friday’s release on the website of the Senate Democratic Majority stated, adding that any relevant records on UAP have likely been withheld in “good faith” and with the intent of ensuring national security.
“However, hiding that information from both Congress and the public at large is simply unacceptable,” the release added.
In Friday’s release, Senator Rounds said the new bill aims to “assure credibility with regard to any investigation or record keeping of materials associated with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.”
“Relevant documents related to this issue should be preserved,” Rounds added. “Providing a central collection location and reputable review board to maintain the records adds to the credibility of any future investigations.”