UAP Disclosure Act Passed with Significantly Weakened Language
"We’ve also been notified by multiple credible sources that information on UAPs has been withheld from Congress," Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said.
Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) addressed the passage of the significantly scaled-back UAP Disclosure Act (UAPDA) on Wednesday, a landmark bill attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024. (You can read our coverage of the original amendment here.) Sen. Schumer expressed displeasure with how the Schumer-Rounds amendment was opposed by leadership in the House of Representatives. Opposition to portions of the bill allegedly also came from some at the Department of Defense, according to a report by The New York Times on Thursday.
Despite this apparent setback for UAP transparency advocates, there are indications that some on Capitol Hill may continue to pursue accountability for the defense and intelligence communities.
"Regarding the UAP issue, [the Department of Defense] and the [intelligence community] clearly have a serious trust issue with important members of Congress who are not backing down and [are] likely to escalate,” Christopher Mellon, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and a major proponent of increased transparency on the UAP issue told Space.com. “I've seen this pattern many times. So, although the Executive Branch feels they dodged a bullet on the Schumer language, until they earn Congress' trust, they are going to be fighting a prolonged and likely losing battle."
The ‘dodged bullet’ Mellon likely refers to includes, but is not limited to, the elimination of core provisions in the original UAPDA like an independent records review board with the power to compel any agency from across the federal government to transmit UAP documents to the review board or the National Archivist; and the removal of the eminent domain clause addressing “any recovered technologies of unknown origin and biological evidence of non-human intelligence that may be controlled by private persons.”
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“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,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) on the floor of the Senate last week while addressing the final, watered down version of the amendment co-sponsored with his Republican colleague. “That is wrong, and additionally, it breeds mistrust.”
You can watch the extraordinary Senate exchange below. To learn more about the final version of the UAP Disclosure Act, visit independent researcher D. Dean Johnson’s piece on the matter, and please consider subscribing to Matt Laslo’s ‘Ask a Pol’ Congressional reporting project on UAP and other topics.