(CNN)– When President Donald Trump signed the $2.3 trillion Government Support and Funding Act in December, the US intelligence community began the 180-day countdown to report to Congress what it has found on unidentified flying objects or UFOs.
Franco’s director of intelligence and secretary of defense now have just under six months to submit an unclassified message about “unidentified aerial phenomena” to congressional intelligence and armed services committees.
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It’s a provision that was included in the “Comments of the Committee” section of the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021, which was included in the gigantic spending.
What should the message contain?
This message is to include a detailed dissection of UFO data and information collected by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, and the FBI, as directed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
It must also detail “an interagency process to ensure timely data collection and centralized dissection of all reports of unidentified aerial phenomena for the federal government” and designate an official responsible for this process.
Ultimately, the message should identify any potential homeland security threats posed by UFOs and assess whether any of the nation’s naysayers might be behind such activities, the commission said.
The submitted message does not have to be classified, the committee said, although it may include a classified supplement.
A spokesperson for Franco’s director of intelligence office confirmed the statement to the Snopes investigative site.
Congressional interest in UFOs
The Pentagon released three short videos last April showing “unidentified aerial phenomena”, clips which the US Navy had previously confirmed to be authentic.
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The videos, one from 2004 and two from 2015, appear to show unidentified flying objects moving fast while being captured by infrared cameras. In two of the videos, members of the armed forces are amazed at how lightly the objects move. A voice speculates that it could be a drone.
It is not yet known what these objects are and there is no consensus as to their provenance. Some believe they may be drones, possibly operated by adversaries on Earth to digest information, about extraterrestrials we normally identify with UFOs.
Pentagon Workers League
In August, the Pentagon announced it would form a task force to investigate the matter.
Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long worried about unidentified planes flying over US military bases. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted last June to allow the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to provide a high-profile dissection of the encounters.
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But this isn’t the first time the Pentagon has investigated aerial encounters with UFOs. The Pentagon has previously reviewed records of such incidents under secret software launched at the request of former Senator Harry Reid, which has since been discontinued.
This software started in 2007 and ended in 2012, the Pentagon said, because it felt there were higher priorities that needed funding.
Former software director Luis Elizondo told CNN in 2017 that he personally believes “there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”
CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this post.