Congress passed legislation on Thursday that directs the government to eventually tell the public at least some of what it knows about U.F.O.s but stops short of more aggressive steps lawmakers sought to force greater transparency around unidentified phenomena and extraterrestrial activity.

The measure, which was tucked into the annual defense policy bill that won final approval with a bipartisan vote, directs the National Archives to collect government documents about “unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin and nonhuman intelligence.”

Under the provision, which President Biden is expected to sign into law, any records not already officially disclosed must be made public within 25 years of their creation, unless the president determines that they must remain classified for national security reasons.

Too little, too late.

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