During the House of Representatives session, lawmakers introduced legislation that would protect former and current government officials from retaliation if they reveal anything concerning UFOs.
In a vote on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill creating a secure government UFO reporting system and promising to protect current and former officials who reveal what they know about the UFO phenomenon.
By voice vote without debate, the bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act adds to a recent push to exert more oversight over intelligence gathering.
Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) proposed the bill, who are part of a bipartisan coalition pressing the Pentagon and intelligence officials to take the issue seriously.
Using national security as a lens, Gallagher said his “primary interest … is ensuring that our military and intelligence communities possess the best possible information, capital, and scientific resources to defeat our enemies.”
But he also wants “to enhance Congress’ ability to gather and verify facts about whatever seems to be flying in our skies as well as to establish the origin and threat nature of such aircraft.”
“I believe it’s possible that folks may be precluded from being fully transparent with Congress due to their being bound by non-disclosure agreements,” Gallagher added in a statement to POLITICO. “If that’s true, I want to ensure that there’s no technical reason preventing them from speaking to us.”
According to the amendment, an internal reporting system would be established to share information regarding unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP, which were formerly forbidden from being disclosed under non-disclosure written or oral agreements.
The measure targets contractors, government civilians, and current and former military personnel.
As per POLITICO, it covers both “any activity or program related to unidentified aerial phenomena” and “any government or government contractor activity or program.”
A few exceptions are made for data that officials conclude reveal top-secret U.S. programs or events “related to special access programs or compartmented access programs.”
As part of the bill, the Department of Defense inspector general would be required to independently assess the system’s effectiveness one year after final passage.
Recent congressional mandates have prompted the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to investigate UFO sightings, including evidence of highly advanced aircraft defying known aerodynamic laws.
The Pentagon has established the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group to collect and analyze more reports.
Congressional lawmakers expressed frustration that the Pentagon’s UFO efforts are not robust enough at the first public hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years in May.
There have also been complaints that the national security agencies do not share their information with Congress or report it up the chain.
Among the greatest efforts in recent history to foster transparency on this topic has been the Gallagher-Gallego amendment, according to former Pentagon official Luis Elizondo.
“This legislation may open the floodgates,” added Elizondo, who is now a consultant to the U.S. Space Command on UAP.
A defense bill amendment debate will continue in the House this week in a bid to pass it by the end of the week. There will be a reconciliation between the final legislation and the Senate’s version.
A substantial amount of oversight has also been exerted by the Senate over the UFO issue.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s version of the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2023 calls for “enhancing oversight of the reporting and collection of unidentified aeronautical-undersea phenomena by the intelligence community and the defense department.”
According to Elizondo, congressional staffers are also working on the Senate’s UFO “amnesty” legislation.
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