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Correct, the government cannot do this but there is nothing stopping them from contracting it out.
Only if you have something to hide
If something cannot be tested then it's not true even if it appears highly plausible. The existence of exoplanets was also hotly debated in the same manner right up until the first one was found. What is so far fetched about the idea behind panspermia? All of the material we see around us here on Earth originally formed inside previous generations of stars and much of it may have been incorporated into previous generations of planets. Bacteria can be found inside rocks here on Earth so why can't some very big very old rocks containing bacterial "spores" from long since vanished planets not have ended up on Earth or anywhere else within or outside of our galaxy? The universe is very very very old so life surely has had more than enough time to flourish die and spread inside rocks of any size.