|Extra-terrestrial Exposure Law|
In 1982 a law was passed by the U.S. Congress which included a section which made (or could be interpreted to make) contact with ETs illegal. More exactly, the law authorized the detention and quarantine of any person who has been "extra-terrestrially exposed", which is defined as a condition of having either (a) entered the atmosphere of, or landed upon, some non-terrestrial celestial body, or (b) "touched directly or been in close proximity to (or been exposed indirectly to) any person, property, animal or other form of life or matter who or which has been extra-terrestrially exposed by virtue of" (a). Quarantine could be as long as NASA wished it to be, and was to be enforced by armed guards. The decision as to whether or not a person was "extra-terrestrially exposed" rested with the NASA Administrator (or his agents) and could me made without the need to observe the usual niceties of the legal process, such as arrest and trial.
What to make of this? Perhaps at the time it was enacted NASA intended only to do what it claimed to be doing, namely, enacting regulations to deal with the possibility of astronauts returning to Earth with extra-terrestrial viruses. But the law is worded vaguely, and can be interpreted in ways perhaps initially not intended. As R. Solomon wrote, any UFO contactee, "Even without [being] involved in a UFO close encounter would become eligible for indefinite quarantine under armed guard according to the above. By including indirect exposure, the NASA administrator is empowered to make the definition mean just about anything he wants it to."
This concern was raised in UFO circles, and finally someone looked into the matter. It seems that the law was repealed by NASA in 1991. The full story, including the original message of R. Solomon, which quotes the entire law, is at Federal ET Law. NASA's official reason for repealing the law is that it "has served its purpose and is no longer in keeping with current policy." Yet NASA still has manned missions to other planets (in particular, Mars) planned, so what has changed? And was this law originally drafted (ambiguously) to keep us safe from alleged ET viruses or, as R. Solomon suggested, "to silence witnesses. If enforced, the law would prevent publication of contactee reports except under cover of anonymity, and unleash a modern inquisition in the Land of the Free."
Fortunately this law is now off the books, and it seems the government is adopting a different strategy: using Hollywood to prepare the population of an invasion of Earth by ETs (with the U.S. military of course coming to the rescue, at the small price of imposing permanent martial law upon the country).
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