(CNN) — When President Donald Trump signed the $ 2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill in December, the 180-day countdown began for U.S. intelligence agencies to report back to Congress. what they know about unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.
The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense now have just under six months to deliver an unclassified report on “unidentified aerial phenomena” to the intelligence and armed services commissions of Congress.
It’s a stipulation that was included in the “commission comments” section of the Intelligence Clearance Act for fiscal year 2021, which was included in the huge spending bill.
What the report should contain
That report should contain detailed analysis of data and intelligence information on UFOs collected by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the FBI, according to the directive of the Senate intelligence committee.
It must also describe in detail “an inter-agency process to ensure timely data collection and centralized analysis of all reports of unidentified aerial phenomena to the Federal Government” and designate an official responsible for that process.
Finally, the report must identify any potential threats to national security posed by UFOs and assess whether any of the nation’s adversaries could be behind such activity, the commission said.
The submitted report must be unclassified, the committee said, although it may contain a classified annex.
A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed the news to the fact-checking website Snopes.
Congressional interest in UFOs
The Pentagon released three short videos in April last year showing “unidentified aerial phenomena” – clips that the US Navy had previously confirmed to be real.
The videos, one from 2004 and the other two from 2015, show what appear to be unidentified flying objects moving rapidly while being recorded by infrared cameras. In two of the videos, members of the military react in amazement at how quickly the objects are moving. A voice speculates that it could be a drone.
It is not yet clear what the objects are and there is no consensus on their origin. Some believe that they may be drones potentially operated by adversaries on Earth seeking to gather intelligence, rather than the aliens we normally identify with UFOs.
Pentagon Task Force
In August, the Pentagon announced that it was forming a task force to investigate the matter.
Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long been concerned about the appearance of unidentified aircraft that have flown over US military bases. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted last June for the Pentagon and the intelligence community to provide a public analysis of the encounters.
But it is not the first time that the Pentagon has investigated aerial encounters with UFOs. The Pentagon previously studied the recordings of such incidents as part of a classified program that was launched at the behest of former Senator Harry Reid and has since been closed.
That program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon, because they assessed that there were higher priorities that needed funding.
The show’s former director, Luis Elizondo, told CNN in 2017 that he personally believes that “there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”
CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism