NASA creates new chief of UFO research

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STORY: NASA has announced that it is creating a new director of research into what the U.S. government calls "unidentified anomalous phenomenon," or UAP, and more commonly known by the public as UFOs.

The U.S. government has made headlines in recent years by releasing videos like this jet fighter footage showing such encounters, after decades of relative silence on the subject.

Thursday's announcement of a new UAP director came on the heels of an independent panel at NASA, which recommended that the agency play a larger role in helping the Pentagon detect the things.

The panel also said NASA should increase efforts to gather data on them in general.

This was NASA administrator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut and senator.

"The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin. But we don't know what these UAP are."

"We will be transparent on this, and we're trying to address the the question of there's so much concern that there's something locked up classified and that the American government is not being open. Well, we are the American government and we are open and we're going to be open about this."

NASA has not publicly named its new UFO chief and asserts that it's partly to avoid online harassment, because members of the panel were targeted with trolling and threats.

The panel only had access to unclassified military reports and says it wants to increase its use of public data, from the likes of airline pilots.

It also says it's trying to remove the stigma attached to the subject and witnesses.