While the U.K. government has ostensibly given up on UFO investigations, the American government has had far more going on behind the scenes than the CIA’s official sighting tips. A $22 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was secretly conducted by the Pentagon, led by Luis Elizondo, reports The New York Times.
Elizondo said during a CNN interview, "My personal belief is that there's very compelling evidence that we may not be alone, whatever that means."
The Department of Defense says that the still-slightly-classified UFO investigative program operated from 2007 to 2012 (a Pentagon spokesman cited “higher priority issues that merited funding”), while the Times' sources maintain that it is still ongoing.
Prompted by Harry Reid, Senate Democratic majority leader at the time, the fund was not debated on the Senate floor and was instead taken from the “Pentagon budget for classified programs,” the paper reports. “This was so-called black money,” Reid tells the Times. Allegedly, this money mostly went to billionaire aerospace businessman, UFO truther, and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who was one of the program’s inspirations. His company Bigelow Aerospace reportedly worked to store debris recovered by Elizondo and other individuals from "unidentified aerial phenomena," including metal alloys and additional materials.
These materials are “being studied, so that scientists can try and figure out what accounts for their amazing properties,” said the Times' Ralph Blumenthal in an MSNBC interview.
The report continued by noting that some of the other projects the program studied were “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.” This research, coupled with psychological studies and the examination of unknown materials, prompted a 2009 Pentagon briefing summary to say “what was considered science fiction is now science fact.”
While reports differ and deeply classified data remains undiscovered, it’s now more clear than ever that the truth is out there.
Image from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), courtesy of Columbia Pictures