In December, Donald Trump signed the coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law. This meant that US intelligence services, from the FBI to the CIA, would later be forced to tell Congress everything they know about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
Ok, those two sentences don't necessarily follow on from each other if you're unfamiliar with US politics, but stay with us. Within the spending bill was the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2021, and hidden in the depths of that was a clause that calls for intelligence chiefs to submit a report "to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as "anomalous aerial vehicles''), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified", within 180 days.
They will also be required to identify "potential aerospace or other threats posed by the unidentified aerial phenomena to national security, and an assessment of whether this unidentified aerial phenomena activity may be attributed to one or more foreign adversaries," which all sounds quite spicy.
In the run up to the release, expected in just a few short weeks, the US has been going through UFO fever. As well as new leaked footage from the US Navy showing a strange blob moving in an unusual pattern, several high-ranking US officials have been a lot more chatty than usual about objects going whoosh in the sky, including President Obama.
In an interview with the Late Late Show, the former president was asked by band leader Reggie Watts if he had any theories about UFOs or unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAPs).
“When it comes to aliens, there are some things I just can’t tell you on air,” he replied. “The truth is that when I came into office, I asked. I was like, ‘Is there a lab somewhere where we’re keeping the alien specimens and space ships?'”
“They did a little bit of research and the answer was no."
“But what is true, and I’m actually being serious here... there's footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are, we can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern.”
“I think people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what [UFOs are], but I have nothing to report to you today.”
Elsewhere, military intelligence officer Luis Elizondo, who spent time working at the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, teased what they had found which will soon be released to congress.
"Imagine a technology that can do 6-to-700 g-forces, that can fly at 13,000 miles an hour, that can evade radar and that can fly through air and water and possibly space," he told CBS, in an interview where he said, for most cases, there are simple explanations.
"And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth's gravity. That's precisely what we're seeing."