For years, the United States government has always tried to maintain a safe and somewhat skeptical position when it concerns the possibility of alien life and likelihood that extraterrestrial beings may try to visit our planet or have already succeeded in doing so. Whenever footage or information on unexpected sightings of unidentified flying objects or UFOs are released and made known to the public, government institutions are quick to refute the possibility that the origins of these aerial objects are not of this world. Instead, they offer explanations that they deem more plausible, completely veering the public’s attention and curiosity from topics they feel are best left undiscussed. Perhaps this is to prevent the public from descending into chaos because of their misguided fears. Or, perhaps it is to spare the rest of us from having to deal with difficult truths while those in the government covertly act with our best interests supposedly always in mind.
Usually, it’s the former. Most of the time, our excessively creative imaginations and our tendency to get ahead of ourselves are our own worst enemies. Rarely do we get to learn some of the things our government has been secretly doing on our behalf to deal with difficult truths, including exploring anomalous phenomena like UFOs. But every now and then, earth-shaking revelations are made by top-ranking officials of the government about the secrets the institutions they serve are keeping from the tax-paying public. And among such revelations is the recent acknowledgment by the Pentagon that it formed and funded a top-secret and long-running UFO investigation program.
ADVANCED AEROSPACE THREAT IDENTIFICATION PROGRAM
On Saturday, December 16th, the New York Times and Politico published articles which revealed that the U.S. government – more specifically, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency – had been funding a secret investigatory program that studied unexplained aerial phenomena or UAPs. It supposedly operated from the year 2007 until 2012 and taxpayers supposedly shelled out around $22 million during its entire five-year run.
Called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, this clandestine effort to study UAPs was initiated by former U.S. Senator and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, who at the time was the Senate majority leader. Reid’s proposed UFO investigation program was backed by the late Senators Ted Stevens of Alaska and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. Most of the budget allotted for the program went to an aerospace research company run by Nevada businessman and governmental contractor Robert Bigelow. Not only is he allegedly a close friend of Reid, he is also a passionate believer in the existence of aliens and is said to be the one who sparked the senator’s interest in UFOs and all things extraterrestrial in the first place. Reports also noted that Bigelow provided financial support to Reid’s campaign for Senate reelection in 2004 as well as in 2010.
The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was led by a U.S. military intelligence official named Luis Elizondo. As for what members of the program actually accomplished during its five-year existence, it was revealed that the secret UFO program mainly investigated the accounts of military and commercial pilots who claimed to have witnessed or encountered unexplained aircraft phenomena. Their reported sightings qualified as such if the aircraft they saw appeared to show no obvious or typical signs of propulsion or its flight pattern seemingly defied the fundamental laws of physics. This was not just to find proof of extraterrestrial presence on Earth but also to ascertain if some of the mysterious flying objects were actually secretly deployed by other powerful countries like Russia or China.
The officials in the program also interviewed and evaluated individuals who claimed to have felt or experienced some physical effects from their UFO encounters. But aside from interviewing people, the program supposedly recovered metal alloys and other physical evidence from discovered UAPs and stored them somewhere in Las Vegas.
Out of the program’s efforts, they managed to write a 490-page report about alleged UFO sightings all over the world for the past several decades. This report has yet to be disclosed to the public, and though the program did not manage to yield irrefutable proof of aliens visiting Earth, those who are part of the program, particularly Elizondo, believe that their findings warranted serious attention.
TERMINATION OF FUNDING OF THE UFO PROGRAM & ALLEGATIONS OF ITS CONTINUED COVERT OPERATIONS
Funding of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was terminated by the United States Department of Defense back in 2012. As for why it had to end, Politico’s article mentioned a former congressional staffer who revealed that while the effort was a worthy endeavor in the beginning, the program failed to find anything of substance. And because they could no longer justify spending taxpayer money to investigate UFO sightings, the program was given a slow death.
However, some of those who supported the program believe that Pentagon is still allowing it to operate in some form and that officials even today are still investigating UAP or UFO sightings reported by service members while also attending to their other duties in the Defense Department.
Luis Elizondo, in particular, resigned from his position last October 2017, and he expressed his frustration regarding Pentagon’s indifference over the merits of the UFO investigatory program and the government organization’s refusal to fund its operations further. Elizondo also decried the government’s excessive secrecy over the subject matter and the internal opposition the program constantly faced. He also revealed that after his resignation, a new official had already been appointed to continue the covert UFO investigations of the U.S. government.
PENTAGON’S RESPONSE REGARDING THE UFO PROGRAM
As for what Pentagon has to say about these revelations, the Defense Department, in response to an inquiry by Reuters, confirmed the existence and subsequent termination of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. According to the Pentagon’s spokeswoman Laura Ochoa, the UFO investigatory program ended in 2012 because the department found that there were more pressing, high-priority issues that deserved the funding the UFO program received. As such, the Department of Defense thought it was in the government and the public’s interest to make a change by terminating the program.
But on whether the Pentagon really ceased investigating UFO and UAP sightings, the U.S. defense department’s response is pretty much a non-answer. The organization neither confirmed nor denied that some of its officials are still handling UFO-related issues. Instead, it stressed that it takes “all threats and potential threats” very seriously and that the department promises to take action when they find “credible information” about such threats.
This is not the first time that it was revealed to the public that their government has been secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes. In fact, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program is not the only UFO-related project initiated by the U.S. government. Some of this program’s known predecessors include Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book, and they all shared similar objectives of gathering data about UFOs and determining whether they posed potential threats to national security and public safety.
Needless to say, this recently revealed UFO investigatory program is not the first of its kind and we can surely expect it won’t be the last. But of course, one can’t help but wonder what other shocking things the government is secretly doing without our knowledge.