For those who think the U.S. government has no interest in reports of flying saucers and UFOs, think again; a secret Defense Department program created in 2007 and supposedly closed in 2012 investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, even reporting footage from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet showing an aircraft surrounded by some kind of glowing aura traveling at high speed and rotating as it moved.
As The New York Times reports, $22 million was spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was supervised by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, from the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring.
Although the program was officially ended in 2012, the Times reports that backers of the program insist that officials are still investigating incidents reported to them by service members.
The program was pushed by then-Senate Majority leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). The Times states that the bulk of the money was paid to Robert Bigelow, a longtime friend of Reid’s who runs an aerospace research company; his company is joined with NASA in an effort to create expandable craft for humans to use in space. Bigelow appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” last May, insisting aliens exist and that UFOs have visited Earth.
The Times adds that the program produced documents reporting aircraft seemingly racing with no visible signs of propulsion, or hovering with no identifiable means of lift. More: “Officials with the program have also studied videos of encounters between unknown objects and American military aircraft — including one released in August of a whitish oval object, about the size of a commercial plane, chased by two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Nimitz off the coast of San Diego in 2004.”
Reid wasn’t alone in fighting for the program; he was joined by Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI).
Although a Pentagon spokesman, Thomas Crosson, told the Times that the program had been closed, Elizondo said the program had continued after 2012, albeit without any government funding. He said he worked with officials from the Navy and the CIA until this past October, when he resigned, protesting the secrecy and internal opposition that he felt plagued his efforts. He wrote Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, “Why aren’t we spending more time and effort on this issue?”
Reid said he met with Bigelow in 2007, adding that he had discussed investigating UFOs with Sen. John Glenn (D-OH), who was the country’s most famous astronaut, years before. Reid said Glenn felt that government should make a serious effort to investigate UFOs, querying military service members, especially pilots who had seen objects they could not explain.
But neither Reid, Stevens, or Inouye wanted there to be public knowledge of the program; Reid said, “This was so-called black money. Stevens knows about it, Inouye knows about it. But that was it, and that’s how we wanted it.”
The Times reports:
The program collected video and audio recordings of reported U.F.O. incidents, including footage from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet showing an aircraft surrounded by some kind of glowing aura traveling at high speed and rotating as it moves. The Navy pilots can be heard trying to understand what they are seeing. “There’s a whole fleet of them,” one exclaims.
Elizondo told Politico of numerous unexplained sightings by Navy pilots and other observers of aircraft with capabilities that are currently considered aerodynamically impossible. He said the sightings were often reported near nuclear facilities, either ships at sea or power plants, adding, "We had never seen anything like it."
Reid sought increased security for the program in 2009, but despite a 2009 Pentagon briefing summary of the program arguing that “what was considered science fiction is now science fact,” and that the United States could not defend itself against some of the technologies discovered, Reid’s request for special designation was denied.