"We got ripped off."

Slow Your Roll

Congress has passed legislation demanding that the National Archives release its records about unidentified flying objects (UFOs) — though on a strikingly leisurely schedule.

As the New York Times reports, the UFO declassification measure was tacked onto the annual defense spending bill and passed with bipartisan support as members of both parties call on the US government to start telling us what they know about, well, UFOs.

The legislation, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law, will require the Archives to disclose anything that hasn't yet been released to the public within 25 years of its creation — a time limit that's long since passed for, say, "Project Blue Book," the US military's notorious and misunderstood investigation into alleged UFO incidents that took place between 1947 and 1969.

Though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the measure a "major, major win for government transparency" that provides the general populace with "a strong foundation for more action in the future," others aren't so thrilled about the bill's slow-rolling disclosure process.

Deny Everything

There's one significant caveat. The version of the bill that passed the House, which according to the NYT is far less broad than what its proponents in both parties wanted, allows government agencies to decide whether any information contained in the to-be-disclosed records violates national security interests.

In other words, any information can remain hidden if it's determined to be a matter of national interest, and thus far, there doesn't seem to be any oversight process as to how that criteria is decided or who gets to say so.

According to an unnamed insider source, the Defense Department pushed back significantly on broader language, and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), one of the biggest proponents of the disclosure effort, claimed the "intelligence community rallied" to put the kibosh on more sweeping transparency.

Burchett's proposal, which was scrapped in the bipartisan negotiation process, would have skipped any review process (which Democrats like Schumer favored) and instead forced the Department of Defense to declassify all its records on what the military calls "unidentified aerial phenomena" or UAPs.

"We got ripped off," Burchett declared. "We got completely hosed. They stripped out every part."

Even Schumer, whose preferred proposal included a review process similar to the one that saw the government investigation into the JFK assassination declassified, seemed pretty peeved at the version of the bill that passed.

"It means that declassification of UAP records will be largely up to the same entities that have blocked and obfuscated their disclosure for decades," the Senate Majority Leader said.

So much for UFO transparency, then.

More on UFOs: That UFO Whistleblower Apparently Refused Pentagon Interviews

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