If you're Chris Carter, news that the government has been secretly investigating UFOs only confirms what he's known all along: The truth is out there … and we may be closer than ever to finding it.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote his classic sci-fi series' return to Fox next month, The X-Files mastermind offered up his thoughts on last week's surreal New York Times report that revealed the Pentagon had a clandestine program researching the UFO phenomenon that suggested the possibility an alien civilization may indeed exist.
Dubbed the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, the $22 million study was launched at the request of former Nevada Senator Harry Reid and examined recent sightings of unidentified flying objects from the early 2000s. The program ran from 2007 to 2012 and, per the Times, made some shocking (and possibly otherworldly) finds.
Chief among them, the newspaper cited a 2009 Pentagon briefing summary in which the program's then director concluded the U.S. was incapable of defending itself against some of the technologies that the study discovered and "what was considered science fiction is now science fact."
When asked for his reaction given that The X-Files is a show about a government unit out to solve unexplained phenomena, including UFOs, Carter called the Times piece "some validation." Though he was quick to note that there have been forerunners before, like the Air Force's Project Blue Book, a UFO study that lasted from 1952 to 1970.
Carter added that working on his show had given him access to government insiders, including meeting with an individual on the fifth floor of the Pentagon's C Ring, where the latest UFO probe apparently had offices. And what he learned was revealing.
"Their job is to think about the future and where the U.S. will be in the future, what its interests will be, and what they’ll need to defend — and everything had to do with space and off-planet," the showrunner told EW. "Without them actually saying 'aliens,' there was a suggestion that they were more than earthbound researchers."
As to whether he thinks extraterrestrials exist, Carter suggested he wants to believe, especially after citing footage the Times published of a Navy pilots' encounter with some fast-moving UFOs (see the video below).
"I’m a skeptic by nature. I’ve never seen a UFO. I’ve never seen an alien," the producer said. "But I’ve talked to way too many people I consider honest and credible who have. I just spoke to somebody in the last couple months who has seen [UFOs] twice in Mexico. And he says they move too fast and they are too otherworldly to call aircraft of this world."
When asked if he expects more revelations from the government to come out, Carter pointed to another bit of news in the Times report – that the government may have recovered some mysterious metal alloys from UFOs.
"We might get material confirmation there’s something going on. Until that time, until we have credible scientists telling us this material is otherworldly, I think short of aliens visiting us, that will be the next revelation," he said.
After noting that any confirmation of alien life would be the end of "our anthropocentric view of the world," The X-Files mastermind did allow that our first run-in with E.T.s could be with something "microscopic and perhaps even lethal," a notion of bioterrorism he says the latest season explores following Season 10's dramatic cliffhanger.
The X-Files' latest 10-episode run kicks off on Fox beginning Jan. 3.