UFO theorists claim that there are US laws preventing people from investigating or contacting aliens.

From "Alien Contact Laws- $5,000 Fine And Imprisonment" at http://www.unexplainable.net/artman/publish/article_223.shtml

Already Passed by Congress On October 5, 1982, Dr. Brain T. Clifford of the Pentagon announced at a press conference ("The Star", New York, Oct. 5, 1982) that contact between U.S. citizens and extra-terrestrials or their vehicles is strictly illegal. According to a law already on the books (Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations, adopted on July 16, 1969, before the Apollo moon shots), anyone guilty of such contact automatically becomes a wanted criminal to be jailed for one year and fined $5,000.

From "UFO theorists gain support abroad, but repression at home" at http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc598.htm we have this claim of censorship regulations:

If the US military is concerned about UFOs, it is not saying so publicly. Indeed, the French report chastises the United States for what it calls an ''impressive repressive arsenal'' on the subject, including a policy of disinformation and military regulations prohibiting public disclosure of UFO sightings.

Air Force Regulation 200-2, ''Unidentified Flying Objects Reporting,'' for example, prohibits the release to the public and the media of any data about ''those objects which are not explainable.'' An even more restrictive procedure is outlined in the Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146, which threatens to prosecute anyone under its jurisdiction - including pilots, civilian agencies, merchant marine captains, and even some fishing vessels - for disclosing reports of sightings relevant to US security.

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Is there evidence that these, or similar laws or regulations exist?
Is it specifically illegal to investigate a crashed spaceship yourself, chat with the occupants, or discuss such a "genuine" event with others?

  • Hi Paul, your question is off topic because it does not relate to skepticism. What are you being skeptical about? Please correct and improve and the community or moderators will reopen. Thank you :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 2:02
  • Sounds like I need to cite others' beliefs that there exists a body of law dealing with extraterrestrial contact.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 2:04
  • 2
    it is to be noted that Unidentified Flying Object is not necessarily of extraterrestrial origin (or saucer-shaped for that matter); an Unidentified Flying Object is just an object which the observer cannot identify.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 4:58
  • After my edits to shorten and clean up this question, if someone wants to take an additional crack at editing it, be my guest.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 4:58
  • 2
    @Lie Yes, most everything you see in the sky is a UFO. "Unidentified" does not mean spaceship. If you see one, or the other, is it illegal to discuss it? Some people believe it is. Thats the question.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


According to these references:

  1. Snopes research: http://www.snopes.com/legal/et.asp
  2. CFR Title 14, Section 1211 text and removal: http://www.textfiles.com/ufo/etxpos.txt

    (Alternate at http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/ufo/cfr.1211 and others, could not be found on any .gov sites)

  3. Current Code of Federal Regulations Title 14: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_01/14cfrv5_01.html

The law did exist, but did not make contact illegal. Specifically, it made quarantine by the US government of an exposed person (exposed to any celestial body, such as the moon by the Apollo 11 crew) legal, in the event that any danger (think Andromeda Strain) was present (1211.104.a.3):

Determine that a particular person, property, animal, or other form of life or matter whatever is extraterrestrially exposed and quarantine such person, property, animal, or other form of life or matter whatever. The quarantine may be based only on a determination, with or without the benefit of a hearing, that there is probable cause to believe that such person, property, animal or other form of life or matter whatever is extraterrestrially exposed.

It has, apparently, been removed from the the books. The official .gov site for Title 14 simply says "Reserved" (3rd link), but the second link above contains supposed text of a 1991 removal of the quarantine section of the code:

Summary: NASA is removing 14 CFR part 1211 since it has served its purpose and is no longer in keeping with current policy.
Effective Date: April 26, 1991.

  • 2
    Needs more blockquotes. :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 22:53
  • @Sklivvz - Fair enough, does that suffice?
    – Nicole
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 22:59
  • lolz @sklivvz and Renesis :D
    – cregox
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 23:04
  • It certainly suffices for my upvote! +1
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 23:04
  • 2
    So in short, no conspiracy - just common sense. We have no idea what's out there, and if someone comes back with something bad the person in charge on the ground needs the authority to make the call to quarantine him right then and there without having to go through channels first. Plenty of time for the shouting and the committees and the hearings once everyone's sure the possible danger is contained. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 9:52

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