With government interest in unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) skyrocketing, NASA has announced its first-ever "UFO czar" after initially declining to do so out of concerns for his safety.

In a press release last week, NASA named its new director of UAP research, longtime civil servant Mark McInerney, in response to calls for the agency to "play a more prominent role in understanding" the phenomena — and, it seems, because people started threatening the agency and people associated with it.

Last week, the agency held a press conference pegged to the release of an independent report about UAPs and announced that it was appointing a head of UAP research. However, NASA refused to name that person at the time because members of the study panel had been subjected to jeers and threats, as Politico and other outlets reported.

"That’s in part why we are not splashing the name of our new director out there, because science needs to be free," Dan Evans, NASA's assistant deputy associate administrator, told reporters at the time. "Some of [the incidents] rose to actual threats."

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