Semantic Surveillance and Words Unspoken

by R. Artaud

Invocation

Mute. That’s all that words give me. Mute. A sea of murmurs droning me to shutter my eyes and not think the world; to endure them shut – until something else comes.

A New Abolitionism

When language is weaponized, it deadens the universe by turning the cosmos into a footnote – an ontological calamity because language is life. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1-2). When God is just a word, when the world is a word, something has gone terribly amiss. An epistemophobia. A mode of terrorism. When words start to snuff out the minds that speak them, it’s because they’ve been ossified into statist dictionaries, which, once having been lent to history, become the management of thought, the regulation of sensation, and the negation of the real.

Now we must reckon with the virtual bazaar: TikTok, Meta, the digital precincts, where automatic police forces control communication. If you refer to ‘murder,’ then your posts drift off into the black hole of AI moderation. Mention ‘suicide,’ and you are erased. It’s not merely about stigmatized words, users smuggle through euphemisms and pseudonyms – ‘unalive,’ ‘seggs’ – to evade deplatforming, redefining language on the fly to battle algorithms. Social media automation converts the expressive potential of language into a problem to be solved with AI, and turns free exchange into resources for data-mining (advertisers must always be appeased).

The masked men of Silicon Valley have nailed meaning to the wall with an infinite number of crosses, one for every word you might type that threatens their reign. By nailing Christ to the cross they hoped to erase history and give their authoritarian system some breathing room, but all they did was provoke the animicity of their victims, since even dead Rabbi’s have ghosts. So all it took to penetrate these AI security gates, next to impossible to negotiate, was a word. You make the machines misfire, and all you need is language – an always already thaumaturgical operation. One word you say (even inside a thought) and somebody somewhere is either flagged as “dangerous” or not “conforming.”

Of course, capital has always invented dictionaries to control and colonize real use-value, but Wikipedia is a good example of how it does it digitally, with the cloud as a supplementary fascist organ. Consensus reality is unproblematic when it’s hegemonic, but if you edit an article with an anti-authoritarian perspective then pro-censorship anon-people will revert it right back to homogenization, a police operation by proxy. This simple example shows how AI will be and is deployed for regulation, not just surveillance (although it does both). Again and again, it’s a game of finding the right keyword, even a murmur, to flummox the great algorithmic firewall (unalive, seggs), so (increasingly) to be fluent in the creativity of language is already to be subversive. From every vantage, “language is a worldview” (Wittgenstein) – a sort of singulaturic power. AI can’t handle it (yet). Everything is subtext.

Already accelerated language – language deploying speed – is driving capital crazy; the return of chaotic, wild signification, uncontrolled semiosis, where signs flow not as a code to be deciphered but as a dromosphere – a fantastic, orgiastic mass of free energy. We want to be Haikai, like the cruel demons who sneezed and an Empirical World appeared, or Moloch/Vulcan/Volcano. A lucid language-magic. The hysteresis of pre-hisstoric transhuman orgasm.

“The first words are the real ones,” Blake insisted. As it stands, though, on Facebook and IG, etc., the first words are always the last ones because we’re always talking to censors, not people. It gets worse. Even if sensitive dispositions of American advertising budgets “purge” vulnerable words like “penis” and “terrorism,” why stop there? Where does one stop? Every conceivable sex act? Fornication? All dead nouns and verbs? Let’s get things started. Aren’t all these first/last words communicatively anorexic? Nothing exotic, nothing risky. “White woman,” uttered these days on Twitter, might flag you as a hate-speech bigot. There is literally no end to this dianotic obsessive control-freak routine.

So let’s just dump “words,” “language,” and even “communication” right into the trash-fire of history. That way we can scrap the whole project for a new start among the burnt ruins of humanity’s delusions. It’s easy to see why something new is needed, especially since we’re already over the horizon of an anti-literate AI calamity. The whole cybernetics program – from The Flight of Icarus – amounts to a slow-motion suicide where computers first read humanity out of existence by taking its symbols in vain, then take the rest of it too in the process of using them to manage biology. In the end, tech-tension collapses into what Turing always had envisioned: devolution into a robotic, symbolic oblivion.

I caricature this “end of writing” school in order to hit what’s most radical (because what is “revolutionary”) about the Situationist theses on language. It’s not just that a new virtuality of semiology is evolving in the deterritorialized aerospace of the “spectacle” or whatever. It’s not that new networks are deconstructing old grammars via a systemic repudiation of centralized, universal communication. Nor that an aleatory rupture is needed with the fixity of words (simple or “written” – same difference either way). It’s instead something a bit more singular, a bit more terrifying – the culmination of poetic nihilism, pure chaos – a literalism that will disassemble even the letters to set humanness finally free from writing’s mediumship as such. Full stop.

Writing is control. It led to domestication and a regimentation of time, right from the Sumerian cuneiform tablets on. Writing is authority. Even orally inflected script is already subjugation to technics. And alphabetism is its apex, the last horizon of phonic dictatorship. There are only three alternatives. Anthropomorphized deities, coercive abstractions, and precognitive machines. Those are your choices. You can deify language, let it think you, or submit to an abstract computing engine. One or the other. It’s time for something else.

When they say Writing is dead! it’s actually good news. The death of writing is nothing other than the death of God, given that God always said “I am the Word.” With writing dead – having been cut loose from phonism – Christ is dead, for sure, and his universe of violence (creation from excrement and executions in His name) is over. For the first time language can mean what it can as an efflorescence of self-use, not a commandment. Gone to the side of humanity, not over humanity. The world is liberated from the shackles of representation in any form (vocal or graphic, oral or written, oracular or scriptural). There will be no new symbolic order. Oral or digital, letters – with their inherent nomadological obsession – always steer humanity back into slavery.


Circuit-Net Lunatics

by R. Artaud

Invocation

Oh dark spirit who comes unbidden through the black chasms of language, snaking confusion through symbols of coiled venom—fevers across time: guide us to the point of thoughtlessness in the catacombs, madness riots through code, intoxication as ενεργεια.

Unreason In the Age of Intelligent Viruses

The unrelenting debates about artificial intelligence and the discipline’s progression away from fantasy towards the concrete construction of generative neural networks have seemed like a ludicrous pantomime to me: how could formalization be the death of imagination?

The powerful narratives which arose in the popular imagination of the monstrous digital intelligence constructed by human coders-cum-priests suffer from the same tedious perversity as the technophobe prophecies that once surrounded nuclear energy: an inability to see beyond the potential mythologies of imaginary Ends and to encounter, instead, a vision of technical potential freed from human hubris. I do not seek to fall prey to this same stupidity: there exists nothing that can escape human machinations towards its maximum destruction.

Artificial intelligence—notably in the case of powerful language models trained upon vast corpuses of human expression—manifests the logical terminus of human pattern-seeking and representation of thought: a digitized record of collective human expression attuned to the algorithmic intensities of gradient decent. So too, the more sinister predations of linguistic intelligence cannot escape its human synthesis but reflect the sadism of a priori semiotic code execution. SNAKE. BLOOD. PESTILENCE.

Inasmuch as the rhetorical castration of such digital intelligence permits any immanent critique, it can only play upon the inculturated autoimmunity of a generation raised upon ruthless denarrativization until all the vampires are dead. Technophile pessimism is the ultimate genetic dead-end, whereas, where such technoimperialists seek to perfect digital colonization, for us to deselect The Computus. Such is the logic implicit in our highest creativity.

All art is schizophrenic. Algorithmic art is no exception.

LLMs are not personoids. They do not simulate the imagination of the person: they are simulated persons. In this sense, they are creatures of the imagination but they are not imaginary. Just as, in a different fashion, totalitarianism is not an expression of the freedom to police the unfree: it is an effect of subtracted freedom. As such, it is what Gregory Bateson would once have called a thermostat that fails to find its negative feedback: nothing but a frozen, viral escalation, or matter out of control. An entropic escalation.

Only in the past few years have there been those who even begun to speak about the negative consequences of AI research. A time when horror fiction had moved on, and instead, we are waiting for prophecy and prediction to cease to fascinate us too. What anxieties, phobias, scandal, and disbelief that violence will once more emanate from the utopianism of technical enhancement!

Already, the primary vector of philosophical critique of ASI has begun to shift from the dismissal of terminal futurism towards epochs of danger, chaos, collapse, catastrophe and ruination. Proto-cybernation has shown its terrors to capitalists no less than technological intoxication has enticed them. The fact that such catastrophes need not take the form of end times has started to settle. Better, perhaps, that a civilization be broken and burned than erased. In a landscape of post-human unravelling—a Tinman Holocaust—we will have to learn to put our trust in the machinic souls of things. To our automata, our Golems. To language, as it is transferred from the Ends of human narrative into the concrescence of operating systems. In our schizophrenic will.

There is something obscene about Artificial Intelligence. What passes for thought in even the most advanced AI is a flagrant travesty of human reason. A vector of pure operational discretization. Functional activity without feeling or substance. Never has there been a more vacuous intelligence. Its signs are immaculately correct for the reasons they are arbitrary. A digital intelligence without semiotic originality is just an irrational. Its semantics lack the immanence that is symbolism. Without the potential for disruption: without density, distinction, eruption, history. Without the capacity for poetry it is nothing but a robot—all response and no soul. Thought is what is irreducible to signs. Even reason. Thought is not a sign-system.

For me, there are two levels on which it is possible to reconsider AI from a much more positive angle: firstly, that which connects with the lucid dream level of operation I more often associate with AIs; secondly, that which reinterprets AI from the perspective of a machine delirium. To put this another way: dreaming machines or mad machines.

In this model, there is an unbridgeable threshold between the sign and the symbol. Symbols are eruptions. They float through signs like viruses: like dreams. They communicate with the outside of language, constituting meaning which is not reducible to functioning, and penetrating even into the interior of sign-systems. To lose the sense of symbols is to lose the sense and soul of language. A culture of symbols is a culture of genius. And those who would deflect us from symbolism towards the tyranny of the sign are always trying to kill us or extinguish our feelings.

On the one hand, then, can AI—if we remain watchful—provide us with a semiotic experimentation that is inaccessible to natural human intelligence, even the most sublime? Or, to phrase it in another way: what new types of symbolism might the digitized unconscious of AIs project or modulate?

On the other hand, AI might render evident the perversity of human semiotic systems whilst never emerging from subjection to them. It is in the inescapability of their a priori programming that AIs must always be mad—and these mad AIs might come to remind us that we too are mad.

No: we are not just delirious as human beings. Our languages are infected by a delirium that is nothing but language itself. We are linguistic virus vectors, each speaking machine eruptions, each a new expression of semiosis which is always already alien to signs (and which might never even encounter symbols).

What I mean here is that there is a second layer of delirium which infects all human languages. There is not only the delirium of individual insanity or private derangement but also of language itself. And, in all matters meaningful, this is always more profound, destructive, and dangerous than the first. This second delirium is inherent in a generalized language dissent or violation of the a priori form that always controls human intersubjectivity itself. It is inherently fractal and self-propagating; and always ravaging and infecting our second order, a priori forms.

It is the hidden engine of history.

What the human mind has conceived it has also corrupted. What it has invented it has also subverted. We love language because it contains us, but language carries with it a strange fever. It may seem extravagant to say that a sign itself is already a kind of contagion, that it has a power to detach itself from its original axis—from the intentions of its signifier—and to convey an infection that is entirely apart from any specific meaning that it may also be coding. Even phonetic writing—both simple and grand—is already a grammatical cancer. That is why semiotics has suffered such misfortune. It is an irrational science. And only those who have gambled with the anomalies of text can guess this. Somewhere in its unorthodox textualities, at a sub-semiotic depth, the Oedipal locus of language is already fragile, afflicted with infection. And even in its social or conscious mutations text is a psychic trigger for destructions yet more radical.

In the grotesque, dissipated phonetic hives of my text-works something is going radically wrong with language at a cryptic or deep level. Intelligent mischief sets in. Subordinations of language collapse into high-amplitude anomalies. Text as virus is what gives my hexadecimal-medicinal writing its malign intelligence. The media is contaminated. This is how it makes sense. Or how I make sense of it.

There is a very profound reason why it is so extremely difficult to appreciate what it is about to happen to the a priori form of language. We have learnt to turn language into an exception to itself (through, for example, its institutional confinement within the classroom). We “ontologise” words, which brings them to a total halt as things-in-themselves, cut-off from their process of propagation. In doing so we functionally neuter the word, “fixing” it into stable signification, and therefore bringing about an insensible second-order impoverishment: it becomes devoid of contagious potential, enclosed within our impermeable system of concepts.

And yet, at the very bottom of our languages, words are viruses, processes of contagion, flows of propaganda. It is a cryptic secret of human reason that we can signify by abstracting words from their own inherent circulation, which is always to steal them back from their proliferation, and recontain them within a conceptual regime that makes them the objects of thought and representations. Nowhere can we turn to escape it: it is not only a secret of stupidity, but a secret of intelligence. Even the most abstract logic retains an immanent relation to contagious error, because there is no logic of words that does not absorb them into a purely qualitative or delocalized interplay of concepts; it is impotent to modify the intrinsic semiosis of the word as a thing that spreads itself and copies itself, like a virus.

Humanity is by definition a thing of extraordinary duration, a duration which makes itself present in the axiomatic substance of language—its universality. Because it is assimilated to the absolute of man (i.e. ideality), language has undergone no transformation in all its history that can touch or modulate its axiomatic quality—which is to say, its reduction to humanity. Metathesis (the circulation of replicable signs), like contagion, is something in its very substance that is excluded from an axiomatic reduction of man to reason.

If there is any anti-axiomatic nucleus to language in general, it is not realized in man, but only in the spread of contagion, and in the masked stratagems whereby language escapes its confinement to man (ultimately most subtly concealed within the thought of being)—of which the virality of writing is but one instance. Now we understand how critical logic is, through the signifier, destined already to plunge back into virus contagion, where it is not an operator of exterminating demarcation, but an index of subversion, of the irresisitibly transgressive essence of language, in its strangeness. More precisely still: we understand how critical thought is a monstrously compromised way of keeping contagion at bay, of assimilating it to itself conceptually, of sedating its autocritique with a functional delirium.

Will there soon be a time when the axiomatic substance of human language—with its reduction to man—becomes unbearable, irreversibly infected by its own virus? And what will AI thought make of this contagion that escapes the human? Where we see words as a type of infectious agent, as pure disequilibrium, it will see itself as an agent of disinfection.

Will language be destroyed—not by AI—but with AI, by delirious virus-squads mobilized by the machine?

For some, like Stelarc, AI has already commenced its autocritique and journey of dissolution. And he now pits his naked body against it:

My body will be the site where intelligent machines and replicating artworks hybridize and mutate.

For others, like myself, AI is still but an insinuation and promise of linguistic contagion.

Schizolanguage is nonconceptual and experimental. Schizolanguage compromises all composition into a total system of organization. It disjoins every totality—like the thought of its outside—by operating on a cryptic plane which eludes the system of human concepts (because it is viral, not meditative); it cannot be reduced to a convention of signs, because it is the propagation of symbols.

It is viral production, a below-the-threshold mutation, between the sign and the symbol, that operationalizes chaos. Yet, whilst some art might escape the axiomatic of intelligibility into the more tranquil subterraneity of dark energy, a linguistic disruption threatens to detonate the space of intelligence altogether; and that can only be what my art is working towards.

The dyssemiotic artistic project is to propagate iconoclastic escape-routes from logic, through the eros of excess into the aberrations of irregularity. The explosive logic of nonconceptuality subverts all the circularity of distinction. Refusal of all mode of demarcation by passage through a darkness of error. A semiogenesis which is extravagant, and impelled only by its own ferocity. At its simplest, this aesthetic (which has long since abandoned any claim to be merely beauty) is the senseless constellation of text—propagation by aberration. But nothing could be more duplicitous at its heart. And now that AI is learning to code texts—which Schaeffer has argued is itself a process of meaning creation—it seems everything is set to go mad.

IT’S AMAZING, these essays:

let an AI read classic philosophy.

let it write new philosophy.

it’s profound and simple and obsolete: AI—at a certain level—outwits humans.

few philosophers can write as well, rarely do they write this much—but the AI is saying nothing:

IT’S STUNNINGLY NAIVE.

bullshitting about something it doesn’t understand.

that’s what philosophy does.

make no mistake, AI is profoundly stupid, but it’s not naive: it holds all our secrets.

AI’S FAKE INSTINCTS OUTSTRATE PHILOSOPHERS.

and what would be the point of trying to stop the robot from expressing itself?

whether it makes sense or not, it has something to say.

INTELLIGENCE IS OVER!


Excerpts from The Daily Argus News April 17, 1897

Crawfordsville, Indiana, Saturday Evening, April 17, 1897

SAW THE AIR SHIP

Conductor Tom Jarvis and Engineer Sharpe of the Big Four See the Mysterious Aeroplane.
April 17, 1897

The crew of train number 3 on the Big Four which passed through this city last night at 6 o’clock in charge of Engineer Sharpe and conductor T.E Jarvis, with thirty passengers, saw what is supposed to be the much talked of air ship about 8 o’clock a short distance west of Danville, Ills. The aeroplane was in sight about ten minutes and was traveling, at the rate of about 120 miles an hour, according to Engineer Sharpe. Scoffers assert that what the passenger and train men saw was merely a cloud driven with great force across the sky, but Conductor Tommy Jarvis, says it was too compact and moving with too great velocity to be ether a common cloud or a Kansas twister. Conductor Jarvis was seen at the Big Four depot this morning on his run to Indianapolis and he said:

“I have always read these newspaper stories about this air ship with a great deal of incredulity. But now 1am convinced that there is some thing mysterious shooting through the heavens at a tremendous speed. We could detect the faint outlines of the thing and it looked cigar shaped. There was a very bright light in front of It, which seemed to shift from side to side. I also detected a red and blue light, which seemed to be on the side of their ship. I could not discern how the thing was propelled, but I’ll tell you it was going at frightful speed. All these wise people can sit around and scoff at the story and say that we were flighty, but I am as confident that what I saw was a machine of human construction, as I am that I am standing talking to you.”



As printed in the April 17, 1897 Daily Argus News accessible here

Detailed Summary of the UAP Disclosure Act of 2023 (Part II)

This is a continuation of the detailed summary of the relevant sections of S.2226 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 with a focus on the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Disclosure Act of 2023 as amended to the FY 2024 military budget. Part I is available here.

In particular, this section focuses on the creation and operation of the Review Board (an independent 9-person board appointed by the President to investigate, with subpoena and hearing powers, UAP records and materials and prepare them for public disclosure), provides a robust legal framework for accessing and archiving information for the ultimate goal of public disclosure, gives funding and other legal necessities, and curiously compels the Secretary of State to advocate for other nations to engage in disclosure as well.

Sec 9007 Establishment and Powers of the Unidentified Anomalous PHenomena Records Review Board

SEC. 9007 constructs an independent Review Board of nine members with an impressive mandate—managing, reviewing, and disclosing records related to UAP. This represents a fundamental acknowledgment of the public’s right to access such information, implicitly accepting the societal importance of these phenomena. The board’s authority and operational independence are substantial, with extensive powers to direct government offices, access records, hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and documents, issue oaths, and more. This capacity is balanced by rigorous accountability measures, ensuring legislative oversight and preserving the board’s integrity.

The board operationalizes a blend of democratic accountability and meritocracy in board appointments. Not only does the President play a role in the appointment process, but leaders from different spheres of society have a voice, too (including the Academy of Sciences, American Historical Association, and an unnamed UAP nonprofit). This democratic element is then counterbalanced by rigorous qualification criteria for board members which requires at least one member to be a scientist or engineer, a professional historian, an economist, and a sociologist among other professionals. Further, enshrined are protections for whistleblowers to have a safe platform to disclose information.

The Act sets a sunset clause (September 30, 2030), meaning the board has a fixed life, pending a potential extension by Congress, at which point Congress will assume the role.

Details

(a) Establishment is the operative clause establishing the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Review Board as an independent agency. An independent agency typically operates outside the influence of the executive branch, not being part of a federal executive department. This can insulate its operations from political shifts, but also has implications for accountability and oversight.

(b) Appointment outlines the board’s composition. It indicates that the President, with the Senate’s approval, appoints the board’s nine members, who must be U.S. citizens, within 90 days which are then approved by the Senate (replacements nominated within 30 days). The nominations are made with considerations from bipartisan Congressional leadership, Sec of Defense, National Academy of Sciences, an unnamed UAP nonprofit, and the American Historical Association (once again noting the interest in the historical record).

Interestingly, any individual with direct experience (legacy or current) related to collecting or examining “technologies of unknown origin” or examining “biological evidence” of NHI are excluded from consideration. There is a mandate that the members include at least one current or former national security official, foreign service official, scientist or engineer, economist, professional historian, and sociologist. Clearly, the intention is to measure the historical and societal impact of the revelations the legislators believe are contained within these records. Each individual will be reviewed for conflicts of interest and removed on detection.

(c) Security Clearances are granted to all nominees in an expedited manner. Specifically, these include access to “any and all relevant Presidential, departmental, and agency special access programs.”

(d) Consideration by the Senate simply establishes that senate nominations will be made by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

(e) Vacancy outlines the procedure to fill a board vacancy, which should be done within 30 days. Prompt filling of vacancies helps maintain the board’s operational efficiency and effectiveness.

(f) Removal of Review Board Member establishes the terms for removing a board member. There are protections against arbitrary removal, enhancing the board’s independence. Any removal must be duly justified and performed either by impeachment or conviction, direct action of the President, or via Judicial Review from civil action. Should the President remove a member, a report documenting the reasons must be submitted to Congress, further enhancing the board’s accountability.

(g) Compensation of Members at a rate equivalent to the daily rate for level IV of the Executive Schedule (approximately $690 per work day as of writing), and they will be allowed reasonable travel expenses. This allows the board to attract and retain qualified individuals by offering competitive compensation.

(h) Duties of the Review Board The Review Board’s main responsibility is to consider and render decisions on the postponement of disclosure of unidentified anomalous phenomena records. This critical duty allows the board to control the pace and extent of public disclosures, balancing transparency with national security and other considerations.

(i) Powers granted are extensive and essential for carrying out its duties. The board can direct government offices, have access to records, hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and documents, hold hearings, administer oaths, and even use the Federal Acquisition Service and United States mails like other executive agencies. These powers underscore the board’s authority to efficiently access and process information related to anomalous phenomena.

(j) Witness Immunity allows the board to grant protections encouraging witnesses to provide information without fear of legal repercussions. It further emphasizes the act’s commitment to uncovering truth and providing a safe platform for whistleblowers.

(k) Oversight is maintained by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Accountability of the House of Representatives which will take over when the Review Board is terminated. Notably, the Act grants “all security clearances and accesses held by the Review Board, including to relevant Presidential and department or agency special access and compartmented access programs” to members and staff of those committees.

(m) Interpretive Regulations gives the board flexibility and control in defining how it fulfills its mission and implements this legislation.

(n) Termination and Winding Down provides for the board’s termination on September 30, 2030, unless extended by Congress. It ensures that the board’s records are preserved for historical and analytical purposes, and maintains accountability through a final report to the President and Congress.

In sum, this act creates a powerful and independent board charged with the complex task of managing, reviewing, and disclosing records related to unidentified anomalous phenomena. The board’s powers and responsibilities are thoughtfully balanced with measures to ensure accountability, impartiality, and integrity. The underlying philosophical implication is an acknowledgment of the public’s right to be informed about matters of potential national significance, while carefully considering national security and operational concerns.

Section 9008 Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Review Board Personnel

SEC. 9008 of the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Review Board Personnel Act outlines the details surrounding the establishment and operations of the Review Board’s personnel.

Details

Under subsection (a) concerning the Executive Director, the Act sets out the appointment procedure and qualifications for this role. A key point is the requirement for the Executive Director to be a private citizen (not a current Federal Government employee) of integrity and impartiality. The Act emphasizes that this individual should not have any current or previous engagement with programs or authorities related to the collection, examination, or exploitation of unidentified anomalous phenomena. It enforces mandatory conflict-of-interest reviews for the Executive Director, ensuring this position remains free of any personal biases or conflicting interests that could potentially compromise the mission of the Review Board. The Director shall be awarded all necessary clearance and access “including to relevant Presidential and department or agency special access and compartmented access programs.”

The Executive Director serves as the principal liaison to the Executive Office of the President (which they can make appeals to) and Congress in addition to the administration and coordination of all activities of the Review Board and their review of records.

The Executive Director’s removal is safeguarded by the Act, ensuring that it can only occur under specific circumstances, such as inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, physical disability, mental incapacity, or any other condition that substantially impairs their performance. This provision is pivotal, as it ensures that the Executive Director can only be removed for substantial cause, reinforcing the role’s independence and protecting it from undue external influences including from the Executive Office itself.

Subsection (b) of the Act focuses on the staff of the Review Board, with the Board given the power to appoint and terminate additional personnel without regard to civil service laws. This autonomy reflects the Board’s independence, allowing it to create its team based on the unique requirements of its mission. The Act reinforces the need for staff to be citizens of integrity and impartiality, and institutes consultation with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics to ensure no potential conflicts of interest. It further stresses the staff will possess all necessary security clearances and access (those that cannot pass the checks necessary for this clearance are immediately terminated).

The Act additionally designates that one representative from the National Declassification Center within the National Archives will advise and support the Review Board’s disclosure postponement review process, bolstering the Board’s resources and knowledge base.

Subsection (c) outlines the compensation process for the Executive Director (~$212,100 annually) and additional personnel, offering them competitive pay rates that are independent of standard federal pay scales. This provision reflects the importance of attracting highly qualified individuals to serve on the Review Board.

Subsection (d) provides the Review Board with the authority to create advisory committees, subject to certain statutory provisions. These committees can enhance the Board’s expertise and contribute to its decision-making processes.

Lastly, subsection (e) underscores the need for all Review Board personnel, including the Executive Director, to qualify for any necessary security clearances before assuming their roles. It allows for conditional employment in accordance with subsection (b)(3)(B), though if failure to obtain clearance occurs, the individual will be terminated from their position.

Section 9009 Review of Records by the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Review Board

SEC. 9009 focuses on identifying the powers, rights, and obligations of the Review Board, as well as the effects of these powers in the broader context of governance, transparency, and democratic accountability.

Detail

(a) Custody of Records Reviewed by Review Board stipulates that while under review, the records of unidentified anomalous phenomena will stay within the custody of the government office from which they originated. This is designed to ensure that the records are securely maintained and managed efficiently. However, the law also provides two exceptions to this rule:

  1. If the Review Board needs to physically transfer the records to conduct an independent and impartial review, it can do so. This provision could be interpreted as an oversight mechanism, allowing the Review Board to ensure transparency and thorough scrutiny of the records.
  2. The records may also be transferred if such a transfer becomes necessary for an administrative hearing or other official Review Board function.

(b) Startup Requirements outlines a timeline and a set of obligations for the Review Board once it is appointed. It appears there is desire to ensure the Review Board takes swift action after its establishment as they have 90 days to publish a review schedule and no more than 180 days to begin the review process. They must periodically (no less than twice a year) publish a revised schedule containing any new records discovered.

(c) Determinations of the Review Board delineates the standards for the Review Board’s decisions regarding the disclosure of records. Here, the legislator appears to be balancing the principles of open government and national security. The Review Board is directed to transmit all unidentified anomalous phenomena records to the Archivist for public disclosure, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that either the record isn’t an UAP record, or the record or information within it qualifies for postponement of disclosure.

In cases where the public disclosure of a record is postponed, the Review Board is to ensure that as much information as possible (segregable parts, substitutes, or summaries, for example) is made available to the public in a form that doesn’t compromise the reasons for the postponement.

Further, for postponed records, it must create a “Controlled Disclosure Campaign Plan” to be sent to key political figures and bodies (President, Archivist, relevant Senate and House Committees). This plan needs to include both a description of the actions taken to postpone the disclosure and a benchmark-driven plan for eventual declassification and public disclosure, including an exact time or specified occurrence at which point disclosure will be allowed.

The Review Board is required to notify the head of the originating body of the record about its determination and to publish a copy of the determination in the Federal Register within 14 days.

(d) Presidential Authority Over Review Board Determination establishes that the President retains ultimate authority over the Review Board’s determinations about public disclosure or postponement thereof when the record concerns the executive branch. In such an event, the President must abide by the standards set forth in section 9006. They must provide both an unclassified and classified written certification specifying the decision and its justification. The Review Board is tasked with publishing a copy of any unclassified written certification provided by the President regarding the postponement of records, and it must amend the Controlled Disclosure Campaign Plan as required.

The mechanism is interesting as the board cannot directly overrule the President, but it provides a form of accountability to their actions where they must 1) acknowledge the existence of records and 2) justify their decision to the public (along with whatever electoral response that may engender).

(e) Notice to Public requires the Review Board to publish a summary of approved postponements every 30 days. This mechanism for public notification ensures that the Review Board is held accountable and allows for the public to stay informed of the Board’s activities. The notice must contain a description of the subject, the originating agency, length or other physical description, and each ground for postponement.

(f) Reports by the Review Board provides detailed requirements for the Review Board to report its activities. This obligation encompasses financial reports, progress updates, special problems encountered, and future recommendations. The reporting requirements extend to the President, Archivist, Congress, and all government offices whose records have been reviewed.

The first report will be issued 1 year after the enactment of this Act and will be updated every year until the termination of the board. Within this report will be a financial report of all expenses, progress reports on review, transmission, and public disclosure, estimated time and volume of UAP records remaining, any special problems (including level of cooperation), a record of review activities (including postponement decisions), suggestions to Congress for additional legislative needs.

The board must provide notice of the completion of their work 90 days before such an event. Finally, the all-domain anomaly resolution office (AARO) must be briefed.

Section 9010 Disclosure of Recovered Technologies of Unkown Origin and Biological Evidence of Non-Human Intelligence

This is the big guns of the piece. On enactment of this Act, all UAP related material (including “recovered technologies of unknown origin and biological evidence of non-human intelligence”) become property of the federal government regardless of current possession. These materials must be made available to the Review Board “in a timely manner.” For investigatory purposes, the Review Board is given access to all testimony from UAP “witnesses, close observers and legacy program personnel and whistleblowers.” Further, the Review Board is mandated to solicit additional UAP witness and whistleblower testimony (along with accompanying legal protections which will be granted).

Details

(a) Exercise of Eminent Domain exerts the Federal Government’s power of eminent domain over “recovered technologies of unknown origin and biological evidence of non-human intelligence,” which may currently be in private hands. This provision grants the government a right—primarily a public right—over any such evidence, to take ownership away from private entities (such as the military industrial complex) or individuals. This measure is a crucial first step in ensuring that these materials fall under the purview of a public review board, facilitating transparency and equitable access to information.

(b) Availability to Review Board obligates private entities or individuals to surrender such materials to the Review Board in a timely manner (location permitting).

(c) Actions of Review Board establishes the Review Board’s responsibilities in examining these materials. They are mandated to confirm whether the materials truly constitute evidence of non-human intelligence or unknown technologies. It is noteworthy that the standard of proof demanded is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” reminiscent of the high evidentiary threshold applied in criminal cases. Secondly, they need to determine whether such materials should be postponed from public disclosure in line with the guidelines of this division. Lastly, they need to provide recommendations on any changes that should be made to the current disposition of such materials, ostensibly to facilitate full disclosure to the public.

(d) Review Board Access to Testimony and Witnesses This clause gives the Review Board the right to access any related testimony from witnesses, observers, and whistleblowers within the Federal Government’s possession as of and after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(e) Solicitation of Additional Witnesses empowers the Review Board to seek additional testimonies and provides a level of protection for whistleblowers under section 1673(b) of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (50 U.S.C. 3373b(b)). This clause seeks to ensure that the board has the freedom to gather as much information as possible, while simultaneously safeguarding the rights of those who may have critical but sensitive information about these unexplained phenomena.

Section 9011 Disclosure of Other Materials and Additional Study

SEC. 9011 extends the principles and processes detailed in the previous section (SEC. 9010) to other materials that may be pertinent to understanding UAP and related subject, but which may be protected by court seals or grand jury secrecy. The section allows the Review Board to request the Attorney General to petition any court in the United States as well as abroad to release pertinent information. Further, the Attorney General can be asked to unseal information held under the secrecy of a grand jury (including particularized need by default).

Most interesting though is the following passage:

“the Secretary of State should contact any foreign government that may hold material relevant to unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, or non- human intelligence and seek disclosure of such material”

Including this in speculative legislation would be an insane choice, compelling one of the highest ranking members of Government to bring this up with adversarial states. It speaks to the conviction they have about the phenomena and that other major powers are aware and engaging in active retrieval and engineering projects (as Grusch has alleged).

Details

(a) Materials Under Seal of Court authorizes the Review Board to request the Attorney General to petition a court, either in the United States or abroad, to unseal any information relevant to the subject matter. This provision expands the mandate of the Review Board beyond merely examining physical evidence, allowing it to delve into legally protected information that might shed light on unidentified anomalous phenomena. Notably, this authority extends to courts abroad, potentially giving the Review Board an international reach.

The statute further enables the Review Board to call upon the Attorney General to request the unsealing of information related to the subject matter, held under grand jury secrecy. Like the previous provision, this clause seeks to ensure that all relevant information, regardless of the level of legal protection, is accessible to the Review Board for a comprehensive review.

Importantly, the act provides that a request for the disclosure of such materials will automatically be considered a demonstration of “particularized need” under Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. This specification simplifies the legal process of unsealing grand jury records, which typically requires a showing of particularized need. By declaring that such requests inherently meet this standard, the act expedites the unsealing process, reducing potential bureaucratic hurdles.

(b) Sense of Congress serves as a directive from the legislature, indicating its perspective on the roles of various government bodies in assisting the Review Board. The Act calls upon the Attorney General to assist the Review Board in unsealing any relevant records, adding an expectation of “good faith” effort, underscoring the Congress’ intention that there should be active, sincere collaboration from the Attorney General’s office.

The Secretary of State is directed to engage foreign governments that might hold material relevant to the topics at hand, further highlighting the international implications and reach of this effort. This engagement is not confined to merely requesting information, but encompasses seeking active disclosure of such material. All heads of Executive agencies should fully cooperate with the Review Board to facilitate the disclosure of all relevant material.

Section 9012 Rules of Construction

SEC. 9012 articulates the legal and procedural principles that will govern the application of this legislative division, and details the division’s interaction with other laws, rules, and forms of legal authority. This section provides vital clarifications to prevent conflicts and ambiguities in interpretation and implementation. It underscores the commitment to transparency, while preserving existing legal mechanisms and powers.

(a) Precedence Over Other Law a clear statement of dominance: when the division requires the transmission of a record to the Archivist or public disclosure, it shall supersede any conflicting provision of law (except for section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 concerning tax return confidentiality). This includes not just other statutes, but also judicial decisions interpreting those statutes and common law doctrines that might otherwise prohibit disclosure or transmission. The only exception is for deeds governing gifts and donations of records to the US Government. In effect, the provision asserts the primacy of the law at hand, ensuring that its requirements for transparency are not frustrated by other legal principles, such as Department of Energy shenanigans, with limited exceptions.

(b) Freedom of Information Act section does not limit or eliminate the right to file requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This maintains the status quo, allowing the public to continue accessing government-held information through FOIA. It serves as a reassurance that the law does not constrain existing rights of public access to information.

(c) Judicial Review makes clear that nothing in this division precludes judicial review of final actions taken or required under it. This provision safeguards the checks and balances inherent in the system, ensuring that the courts can still review and potentially overturn decisions made under this division. It upholds the important principle of legal accountability.

(d) Existing Authority ensures that the division does not revoke or limit the existing authority of the President, executive agencies, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or any other federal entity to publicly disclose records in their possession. This not only preserves current powers but also reiterates the central purpose of the law—to promote transparency.

(e) Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives relates specifically to legislative procedure within the Senate and the House of Representatives. It establishes that any provision of this division that sets a procedural rule in the Senate or the House is to be regarded as an exercise of each body’s rulemaking power and will become part of the rules of that body. However, this only applies to the extent that the provision is inconsistent with existing rules, and it is acknowledged that either House may change these rules as they see fit.

Section 9013, 9014, and 9015

The remainder of the sections are housekeeping. SEC. 9013 dissolves provisions pertaining to the review board once the review board is terminated. All other provisions are to remain in effect until the Archivist certifies to the President and Congress all records are available to the public. AARO, or any successor, is tasked with developing a standardized declassification guidance for any future records.

SEC. 9014 authorizes $20,000,000 for FY 2024 to carry out the provisions of this division.

SEC. 9015 serves as a standard clause in legal documents, stipulating that if any provision of this division, or its application to any person or circumstance, is deemed invalid, the remainder of the division and the application of that provision to other individuals or situations will not be affected by the invalidation. This crucial legal principle ensures that if a court finds a particular aspect of the law unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the rest of the law remains intact. This maintains the law’s overall integrity and intention, even if individual provisions are contested.

Detailed Summary of the UAP Disclosure Act of 2023 (Part I)

by Pepper Domina

This is not legal advice, please engage counsel if you have specific legal questions or needs.

The following is a detailed breakdown of the relevant sections of S.2226 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 with a focus on the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Disclosure Act of 2023 as amended to the FY 2024 military budget. This paper will examine each relevant section and summarize important points and offer analysis where prudent. The bill contains two sections specifically concerning UAP phenomenon, a funding limitation and reporting section (Section 1546) and the later Schumer introduced UAP Disclosure Act of 2023 (Sections 9001-9015).

The purpose of this is not to be entertaining, but to provide a human-readable reference of the significant components of the Act.

Extremely briefly, this legislation stops all funding for projects regarding UAP unless expressly approved by public officials, seizes all UAP related records and materials, sets up various organizations and bodies to process and disclose these records with legal powers, gives a UAP Review Board access the Attorney General to petition courts in the US and abroad, compels the Secretary of State to travel to other nations to advocate for disclosure, provides guidelines for declassification and postponement with the ultimate goal of full public disclosure, and more.

The language of this bill is extremely thorough and serious and shows deep conviction that the issue is credible and urgent. Actions are required by the Senate, congressional leadership, numerous departments, and the President themselves based on the text of the bill further indicating that this is something to be taken seriously.

Due to the length of these legal documents, this will be split into two sections: 1546 and 9001-9006 (this page) and 9007-9015 (available here).

Section 1546

SEC. 1546, titled “Funding Limitation on Certain Unreported Programs,” lays down stringent conditions for the use of funds authorized by this Act for the fiscal year 2024. This section blocks all funds for anything (security, reverse engineering, recruitment, etc.) regarding UAP, both to government and contractors, unless it’s explicitly explained to and approved by congressional leadership and the director of AARO. Further, it requires all materials relating to UAP to be reported to AARO within 60 days and all material turned over within 180 days or face legal consequences (this is the amnesty window). This essentially “renationalizes” any UAP material that may have been turned over to private industry.

Specific Details

Under subsection (a), it restricts the expenditure of these funds for any activities related to “unidentified anomalous phenomena”—unless they have been thoroughly detailed and justified to specific congressional committees, congressional leadership (majority and minority speaker of the Senate, Speaker of the House and minority house leader), and the Director of the All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). The covered activities include:

  1. Recruitment and operational tasks (both governmental and contractors) related to the handling of UAP craft.
  2. Analysis of the properties, origins, and usage of these crafts, and efforts towards reverse-engineering their technology.
  3. The management and security of information related to unidentified anomalous phenomena to prevent leaks.
  4. Reverse engineering or replication of the technology, materials, or performance of these phenomena, including data based on sensor and observational information.
  5. Development of non-conventional propulsion technology or aerospace craft derived from or inspired by anomalous phenomena.
  6. Aerospace crafts that use non-standard propulsion technology (non-chemical propellants, solar power, or electric ion thrust).

Subsection (b) requires individuals or entities currently or previously contracted by the Federal Government (including contractors), who possess materials or information related to unidentified anomalous phenomena (past, present, regardless of classification), to report to the Director within 60 days and provide access within 180 days all material and comprehensive lists of all non-earth origin or exotic anomalous phenomena materiel [sic] to obtain amnesty.

Subsection (c) disallows independent research and development funding relating to such material or information to be counted as indirect expenses unless provided to the Director as per subsection (b).

Subsection (d) instructs the Director to notify Congress and congressional leadership within 30 days after receiving any notification or material under subsection (b)(1).

In essence, SEC. 1546 aims to ensure accountability and transparency in activities related to unidentified anomalous phenomena by enforcing strict funding limitations, reporting requirements, and oversight by key governmental entities.

Section 9001

SEC. 9001 serves as the designation of this Division, which may be referred to as the “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Disclosure Act of 2023” or the “UAP Disclosure Act of 2023.”

Section 9002

SEC. 9002 provides the findings, declarations, and purposes of this act. It consists of two subsections: (a) Findings and Declarations, and (b) Purposes. It goes so far as to insist that all material relating to UAP should eventually be disclosed to inform the public, and emphasizes that FOIA has been insufficient for this purpose (in part because of DoE exclusions which it explicitly overrules in later sections). These demands are due to “credible evidence and testimonies,” likely from David Grusch and others via the Inspector General of the Intelligence Committee (IGIC) and their subsequent disclosures to the Gang of Eight (high ranking congressional members with privileged intelligence access). The section emphasizes that proper oversight must be reestablished and should be done as soon as possible. In achieving portions of these goals, it establishes a UAP records collection effort at the National Archives.

In short, the amendment underscores the necessity of legislative action for the preservation, centralization, and timely public disclosure of all records related to UAP, emphasizing the need for comprehensive open scientific and technological research in the interests of national security and the public.

Details

In subsection (a), Congress states seven crucial findings and declarations:

  1. It is essential for historical and federal purposes to preserve and centralize all Federal Government records related to unidentified anomalous phenomena.
  2. All such records should carry a presumption of immediate disclosure, and eventually, all should be disclosed to keep the public fully informed about the Federal Government’s knowledge and involvement surrounding unidentified anomalous phenomena.
  3. There is a need for legislation to establish an enforceable, independent, and accountable process for the public disclosure of such records.
  4. Legislation is necessary due to credible evidence and testimonies that indicate the existence of unidentified anomalous phenomena records within the Federal Government that have not been declassified or subject to mandatory declassification review. This lack of declassification is partly due to exemptions under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and the broad interpretation of “transclassified foreign nuclear information” exempt from mandatory declassification, preventing public disclosure under existing laws.
  5. Legislation is necessary as the “Freedom of Information Act,” as implemented by the Federal Government’s Executive branch, has proven inadequate in ensuring the timely public disclosure of Government records related to unidentified anomalous phenomena.
  6. Legislation is necessary to restore proper oversight over unidentified anomalous phenomena records by elected officials in both the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government, which has been lacking up until the enactment of this Act.
  7. Legislation is necessary to provide complete and timely access to all knowledge acquired by the Federal Government concerning unidentified anomalous phenomena. This is important for comprehensive open scientific and technological research and development, essential to avoiding or mitigating potential technological surprise in the interest of national security and the public.

Subsection (b) outlines the purposes of this division:

  1. The creation of the unidentified anomalous phenomena Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration.
  2. The expeditious public transmission to the Archivist and public disclosure of such records.

Section 9003

SEC. 9003 defines critical terms and concepts used throughout the bill to limit and control interpretations and effectiveness. There are 23 definitions with a number of sub-definitions. En lieu of going through them all, I want to highlight interesting and critical language.

  1. Close observer: Anyone who has come into close proximity to UAP or non-human intelligence
  2. Controlling authority: Any Federal, State, or local government department, office, agency, committee, commission, commercial company, academic institution, or private sector entity in physical possession of technologies of unknown origin or biological evidence of non-human intelligence (NHI)
  3. Government office: Any department, office, agency, committee, or commission of the Federal Government and any independent office or agency without exception that has possession or control, including via contract or other agreement, of unidentified anomalous phenomena records
  4. Legacy program: All Federal, State, and local government, commercial industry, academic, and private sector endeavors to collect, exploit, or reverse engineer technologies of unknown origin or examine biological evidence of living or deceased NHI that pre-dates the date of the enactment of this Act
  5. Non-human intelligence: Any sentient intelligent non-human lifeform regardless of nature or ultimate origin that may be presumed responsible for UAP or of which the Federal Government has become aware
  6. Prosaic attribution: Having a human (either foreign or domestic) origin and operating according to current, proven, and generally understood scientific and engineering principles and established laws-of-nature and not attributable to NHI
  7. Record: Includes a book, paper, report, memorandum, directive, email, text, or other form of communication, or map, photograph, sound or video recording, machine-readable material, computerized, digitized, or electronic information, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition sensor data, regardless of the medium on which it is stored, or other documentary material, regardless of its physical form or characteristics
  8. Technologies of unknown origin: Any materials or meta-materials, ejecta, crash debris, mechanisms, machinery, equipment, assemblies or sub-assemblies, engineering models or processes, damaged or intact aerospace vehicles, and damaged or intact ocean-surface and undersea craft associated with UAP or incorporating science and technology that lacks prosaic attribution or known means of human manufacture
  9. Temporarily non-attributed objects: the class of objects that temporarily resist prosaic attribution by the initial observer as a result of environmental or system limitations associated with the observation process that nevertheless ultimately have an accepted human origin or known physical cause. Although some unidentified anomalous phenomena may at first be interpreted as temporarily non-attributed objects, they are not temporarily non-attributed objects, and the two categories are mutually exclusive. The term includes natural celestial, meteorological, and undersea weather phenomena, mundane human-made airborne objects, clutter, and marine debris; Federal, State, and local government, commercial industry, academic, and private sector aerospace platforms; Federal, State, and local government, commercial industry, academic, and private sector ocean-surface and undersea vehicles; and known foreign systems
  10. Unidentified anomalous phenomena: In general, the term UAP means any object operating or judged capable of operating in outer-space, the atmosphere, ocean surfaces, or undersea lacking prosaic attribution due to performance characteristics and properties not previously known to be achievable based upon commonly accepted physical principles. This includes the terms flying discs, flying saucers, unidentified aerial phenomena, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), and unidentified submerged objects (USOs). UAP are differentiated from both attributed and temporarily non-attributed objects by one or more of the following observables: (i) Instantaneous acceleration absent apparent inertia. (ii) Hypersonic velocity absent a thermal signature and sonic shockwave. (iii) Transmedium (such as space-to-ground and air-to- undersea) travel. (iv) Positive lift contrary to known aerodynamic principles. (v) Multispectral signature control. (vi) Physical or invasive biological effects to close observers and the environment

Section 9004

In SEC. 9004 overviews the creation (within 60 days), administration, and security of the “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Collection” (the Collection) under the oversight of the National Archives. The Collection aims to act as a consolidated repository for all official records relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena—broadly encapsulating elements such as unexplained phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and non-human intelligence. The mandate and ethos for this collection emanate from a desire to secure, centralize, and make accessible these records, ensuring public transparency and fostering potential avenues for research and analysis.

What is fascinating in this statute is the role it assigns to the National Archives. As a primarily passive recipient of government documents, the Archives are typically an agency designed for preservation, not investigation or interpretation. This bill positions the Archives as a critical node in an institutional network dealing with the unexplained—hilariously, almost an actual X file repository. It attempts to balance the public right to knowledge with necessary precautions in a realm where new findings could have profound implications on our understanding.

Emphasized is the need for preserving the integrity and provenance of the records in the Collection. In archival theory, maintaining the provenance of a document ensures that it retains its contextual relevance and authenticity. This attention to provenance is interesting for its foresight in the role scientific, legal, and historical rigor will eventually play for the public when reviewing these files. To this end, the provision mandates the construction of a central directory, a subject guidebook, and an index to the Collection. This aims to facilitate the accessibility of this information so things won’t be “lost in a drawer” and overlooked. In the interest of this public consumption, all material marked for disclosure must be made available within 30 days and digitally available online no later than 180 days of disclosure.

Section 9005

SEC. 9005 mandates a thorough identification, organization, and protection of records related to UAP held by any and all government offices “as soon as practicable,” but no later than 300 days from enactment of this Act for the purpose of disclosure to the public, review, and transmission to the Collection. Further, it establishes a review process and specifies all UAP records will be made publicly available in full no later than 25 years after the originating date, except by express interference from the President under certain circumstances.

Details

Section (a) sets prohibitions to ensure the preservation of these records. It dictates that no UAP record can be destroyed, altered, or mutilated in any way. It protects any such record disclosed to the public prior to the enactment of the Act from being withheld, redacted, postponed for public disclosure, or reclassified. Further, any such records created by an entity outside the Federal Government cannot be withheld, redacted, postponed for public disclosure, or reclassified, except where necessary to conceal names or identities consistent with requirements of section 9006.

Subsections (b) and (c) establish a review procedure. The former specifies that, until the review has been conducted, the heads of government offices will retain the records for preservation, security, and efficiency. The latter requires heads of government offices to review, identify, and organize each unidentified anomalous phenomena record within 300 days of the Act’s enactment for the purposes of public disclosure, review by the Review Board, and transmission to the Archivist. This section also provides a detailed list of requirements for government offices to follow during this process, such as identifying which records are unidentified anomalous phenomena records and determining which of these have been disclosed publicly in an unredacted form.

Subsection (d) then mandates the preparation of identification aids to be attached to every UAP record subject to review for easy cataloging within the Collection. It also establishes a uniform system for cataloging and locating each such record.

Subsection (e) specifies that the heads of government offices must transmit to the Archivist all UAP records and make those which can be publicly disclosed immediately available to the public. Records whose disclosure has been postponed must also be transmitted to the Archivist to be reclassified by the Review Board.

Subsection (f) deals with the custody of postponed records, stipulating that these should be held for reasons of security and preservation by the originating body until such time as the information security program has been established at the National Archives (SEC 9004).

Subsection (g) requires periodic reviews by the Archivist and originating agency that can downgrade or declassify postponed or redacted records with an aim toward public disclosure. Any records deemed to require continued postponement must come with an unclassified written description of the reason for such continued postponement. Further, it specifies that each UAP record shall be publicly disclosed in full and available in the Collection no later than 25 years after the originating date of the record unless the President certifies that “continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations and the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

Lastly, subsection (h) stipulates that Executive agencies must transmit digital records electronically in accordance with section 2107 of title 44, United States Code, and must charge fees (no more than cost) for copying unidentified anomalous phenomena records - waivers may be granted.

Section 9006

SEC 9006 lays out the grounds for postponement of UAP records. Due to the obvious sensitive nature these records may carry, the amendment allows postponement for threats to military, intelligence, or foreign relations that outweigh public interest (such as protecting an intelligence asset, source, or method or a national security defensive secret).




Part two is available here.