PEOPLE EXPLAINS: All About the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program
The truth is finally out there -- thanks to a New York Times report that uncovered a secret UFO investigation program run by the Pentagon
The truth is finally out there — thanks to a New York Times report that uncovered a secret UFO investigation program run by the Pentagon.
After the Times report dropped on Saturday, the Pentagon officially confirmed the existence of a $22 million government program exploring “anomalous aerospace threats” — also known as unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.
According to the Times, the initial funding for the formerly classified project, called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, came largely at the request of former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who is known for his fascination with the subject.
The program was launched in 2007 after Reid’s longtime friend, Robert Bigelow, the billionaire founder of an aerospace company, told the then-senator that he believed in aliens and that UFOs have visited the United States.
The Times said the program has studied reports of UFOs, videos of encounters between military pilots and unknown objects, and interviews with people who said they had “experienced physical effects” from encounters with the objects.
RELATED VIDEO: Nick Jonas Talks About Spotting UFOs — Again!
The Pentagon this weekend told multiple outlets, including Reuters and CNN, that the program was shut down in 2012.
“The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe,” Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson told CNN. “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change.”
But the Times also reported that, according to backers, the program still exists and officials are continuing to investigate UFO encounters reported by service members.
The former director of the program told the Times that he worked with Navy and CIA officials from his Pentagon office until October, when he resigned in protest over “excessive secrecy and internal opposition.” He also said a successor had been hired, but declined to name that person.
Reid told the Times in a recent interview that he was proud of his involvement with the program. “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going,” he said. “I think it’s one of the good things I did in my congressional service. I’ve done something that no one has done before.”
The former Senate Democratic leader tweeted a link to the Times story on Saturday, writing: “The truth is out there. Seriously.”