The Pentagon’s multi-million dollar search for UFOs: Department of Defense set up massive investigation a decade ago and looked into encounters with military and flying aircraft they had never seen before
- The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ran from 2007 to 2012
- Its mission, which had a $22 million annual budget, was to investigate sightings and military encounters with unidentified flying objects, also known as UFOS
- Founded amid fears they could be advanced weaponry or technology from foreign states such as Russia or China which could threaten the US
- The program was created by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
The Pentagon set up a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate UFO sightings.
The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ran from 2007 to 2012, with a $22 million annual budget, with the mission of looking into reports of military encounters with unidentified flying objects.
The Defense Department finally acknowledged the existence of its long-secret UFO investigation program on Saturday, when officials shifted attention and funding to other priorities.
The Pentagon had a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate UFO sightings
Its initial funding came largely at the request of former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat long known for his enthusiasm for space phenomena, the newspaper said.
The program was created by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), with the support of the late Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Republican Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
Their fears were that the unexplained phenomena could be advanced weaponry or technology from foreign states such as Russia or China which could threaten the US.
‘Was this China or Russia trying to do something or has some propulsion system we are not familiar with?’ a former staffer told Politico.
While former career intelligence officer Luis Elizondo, who ran the initiative, stressed he wanted to take the ‘voodoo’ out of a ‘voodoo science,’ the program investigated some issues that sound like they’re straight out of a science fiction movie.
They included ‘wormholes’ and ‘warp drives’ as well as interviewing pilots and military personnel who reported experiences with UFOs.
Elizondo said that many of the Navy pilots described aircraft moving and acting in a way that seemed to be beyond human beings’ current capabilities.
The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ran from 2007 to 2012, with a $22 million annual budget
‘We had never seen anything like it,’ he said.
The former staffer said that Reid believed there could be a valid national security issue and so agreed to fund the program.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A CONSPIRACY THEORIST
Over the course of three online-based studies, researchers at the University of Kent showed strong links between the belief in conspiracy theories and these psychological traits.
The results showed that those people who rated highly on the narcissism scale and who had low self-esteem were more likely to be conspiracy believers.
However, while low self-esteem, narcissism and belief in conspiracies are strongly linked, it is not clear that one – or a combination – causes the other.
But it hints at an interesting new angle to the world of conspiracy and those who reinforce belief.
But after a few years, and very little to show for it, Reid decided it wasn’t worth continuing.
‘After a while the consensus was we really couldn’t find anything of substance,’ he recalled. ‘They produced reams of paperwork. After all of that there was really nothing there that we could find. It all pretty much dissolved from that reason alone—and the interest level was losing steam. We only did it a couple years.’
‘There was really nothing there that we could justify using taxpayer money,’ he added. ‘We let it die a slow death. It was well spent money in the beginning.’
According to the the Pentagon, the program ‘ended in the 2012 timeframe.’
Yet according to its backers, the program remains in existence and officials continue to investigate UFO episodes brought to their attention by service members, the newspaper said.
The Pentagon openly acknowledged the fate of the program in response to a Reuters query.
‘The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe,’ Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Ochoa said in an email.
‘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,’ she said.
The program was created by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured)
But the Pentagon was less clear about whether the UFO program continues to hover somewhere in the vast universe of the U.S. defense establishment.
‘The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed,’ Ochoa said.
What is less in doubt is former senator Reid’s enthusiasm for UFOs and his likely role in launching the Pentagon initiative to identify advanced aviation threats.
‘If you’ve talked to Harry Reid for 60 seconds then it’s the least surprising thing ever that he loves UFOs and got an earmark to study them,’ former Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said in a message on Twitter.
Or as Reid himself said in a tweet that linked to the Times’ story: ‘The truth is out there. Seriously.’
Elizondo has since joined former Blink 182 vocalist Tom DeLonge’s company To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences – described as a ‘public benefit corporation’ that has ‘mobilized a team of the most experienced, connected and passionately curious minds from the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, Department of Defense, who have been operating under the shadows of top-secrecy for decades.’
CIA RELEASES ITS OWN ‘X-FILES’
Last year, the CIA released a glimpse into its own set of ‘X-Files,’ a small compilation of documents pulled from its expansive UFO collection, dating back to the 1940s.
The agency said that these documents appeal to both skeptics and believers – the Scullys and Mulders of the world – who seek to prove scientific explanations, or confirm the existence of extraterrestrial activity.
A reported UFO sighting over Minnville, Oregon, is pictured above
One of the documents among the CIA’s ‘X-Files’ is from East Germany in 1952, where agents were called to investigate what witnesses described as a ‘huge flying pan’.
The object was said to have a diameter of about 15 meters, according to the document.
Similar flying saucers were also spotted in North Africa and Spain, the report said.
‘The picture [of the object] shows a diagonal stripe of diminishing width and lighter in shade than the sky over the dark bulk of a building cornice,’ it was noted.
Included with some of the documents were three pictures of the alleged extraterrestrials.
One of the photos – taken by British student Alex Birch in 1962 – claimed to show a group of flying saucers flying over the city of Sheffield in the UK.
Also contained in the files is the case in Socorro, New Mexico in 1964, when police officer Lonnie Zamora spotted a large flame rise from the ground and pierce the sky above a remote patch of desert.
Upon investigation, he found a shiny object the size of a sedan perched on the hilltop, which was oval in shape and aluminium in color.
The object then began to rise into the air and then sped away from him over the mountains and disappeared.
An explanation for this case has never been determined.