The US Department of Defense says the program stopped in 2012, but the “New York Times” says UFO investigations continue.
After years of questioning, the Pentagon has acknowledged the existence of a program called Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) to investigate sightings of unidentified flying objects ( UFO).
The US Department of Defense says the program stopped in 2012, but the New York Times says UFO investigations continue.
The Pentagon has acknowledged a secret program to investigate UFOs. It began in 2007 as a pet project of Harry Reid. https://t.co/iW4cksDxfq
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 16, 2017
Between 2007 and 2012, this program documented in-flight encounters between combat aircraft and flying objects moving at high speed without visible propulsion or in a stationary position with no apparent means of lift, details the American daily.
One of the videos obtained by the New York Times shows two American fighter jets pursuing an airlifter-sized oval object off the coast of California in 2004.
“National security question”
The program with a budget of $22 million – out of $600 billion a year allocated to the army – and only known to a small number of officials, was put in place by the former Democratic senator from Nevada, then Majority Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, who had a special interest in unexplained phenomena.
Most of the money from the program went to an aerospace research company led by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and a longtime friend of Harry Reid, according to The New York Times .
“We do not have the answers, but we have a lot of elements to justify to ask questions” , explained Harry Reid on his account Twitter after the publication of the investigation of the New York Times on Saturday. “It’s a science and national security issue. If America does not answer these questions, others will. ”
What was this program?
Contracts consulted by the New York Times show that these millions of dollars were mainly intended for Bigelow Aerospace, the company of billionaire Robert Bigelow to assess the threat posed by these UFOs. The money helped Bigelow Aerospace expand its buildings in Las Vegas, Nevada to store metals and other materials recovered and attributed to unidentified phenomena. Bigelow researchers also interviewed people who reported feeling physiological changes after encounters with UFOs, as well as soldiers who saw these unknown flying objects.
“Unidentified aerial phenomena reported by pilots and soldiers appeared much more advanced than American or foreign technology , ” according to people involved in the case, quoted by Politico. “In some cases, these machines maneuvered so unusually and so quickly that they seemed to defy the laws of physics,” explain these sources, to justify the existence of the program.
AATIP also collected video and audio recordings, including images of a camera “surrounded by a kind of luminous halo, flying at high speed while turning on itself.” Pilots attempting to understand what they see can be heard in this video published by the Department of Defense, which, however, refuses to specify the date and location of the incident.
Did he identify UFOs?
“What was considered yesterday as science fiction is now a scientific fact,” the New York Times quoted him as saying in a 2009 Pentagon document . And the United States would be “unable to defend itself against the technologies discovered” . Sen. Harry Reid, at the origin of the program, pleaded at the time to strengthen the security of this research, arguing that “great progress” had been made “in the identification of several unconventional and very sensitive discoveries ” .
According to Luis Elizondo, who was at the head of the program, “the phenomena studied did not seem to come from any country” . In addition, “these observations have often been located near nuclear facilities, whether ships at sea or power plants,” he told Politico. But another member of the program wonders about the possibility for China or Russia to have simply developed new technologies much more advanced than the United States, reports Politico.
Neither the New York Times nor Politico got more information on these “very sensitive discoveries” . In the New York Times , many scientists warn: not knowing where an object is coming from does not mean it’s coming from another planet or galaxy. A former NASA engineer says that “many people are active in the air and do not want others to know . ”
Why did he stay secret for so long?
The AATIP program was not fully classified, but a very small number of US officials were informed. It was the former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, a space enthusiast and fascinated by UFOs, who initiated him, backed by two other senators. None of the three men wanted to discuss in public this sensitive issue and the funding of the program.
In the military, soldiers who observed unexplained phenomena did not always talk to their superiors, “because soldiers feared to be laughed at , ” says Harry Reid in the New York Times . Robert Bigelow also explains that American scientists are “afraid of being ostracized and the media are afraid of being stigmatized” if they take the issue seriously. He assures that China and Russia “are much more open” , as well as “Belgium, France, England or Chile .” They are active and willingly evoke the subject, rather than being restrained by a childish taboo “,
Is The Program Still Used?
Officially, the AATIP program “ended in 2012,” the Pentagon told Reuters. “It was determined that there were other more important priorities that deserved to be funded, in the interests of the Department of Defense,” said a spokeswoman.
Official funding has been cut, but the program has not necessarily stopped. Luis Elizondo says he continued to work with the Navy and the CIA until October 2017, when he resigned, frustrated that the United States is not devoting more energy and resources to UFO research.
The Pentagon, interviewed by Reuters, remains evasive on the continuation of the research program. “The Defense Department takes seriously all threats, including potential threats, against our people, our property and takes the necessary measures every time it receives credible information , ” the spokeswoman said.