Imagine you were just elected President of the United States. During one of your first classified briefings, you learn that the US military has recovered advanced extraterrestrial technology. You are told we’ve made only modest headway in understanding how this technology works, where it is from, or why these intelligently controlled machines are here. What would you do in that circumstance?

As President, your top priority is to keep the American people safe from all threats, both foreign and domestic. Hundreds of millions of people, including tens of millions of children, place their faith in you. Are you going to hold a press conference revealing that aliens are visiting planet Earth, but we don’t know where they’re coming from, why they are here, or whether we can defend ourselves from them?

It is hard for me to imagine any of the politicians I’ve worked for over the years leaping at that opportunity. The sudden, unexpected confirmation of an ET presence on Earth would not only unsettle but inevitably terrify millions—if not billions—of people. And for what purpose? What chance would you have as President of moving forward on other vital issues on your agenda, given the tumult that would result? What reason is there to believe the net effect for society would be positive rather than negative?

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