Pentagon officials admitted that it ran a top-secret UFO investigation for five years until 2012. The Pentagon investigated reports of UFO’s according to Defense Department officials. The New York Times first broke the story. The program is officially known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.
The Defense Department never before admitted the existence of the program, which was run deep inside the Pentagon. The cloak and dagger program was started in 2007, following a request made by former Senator Harry Reid. Most of the funding went to a research company run by a friend of Reid’s, Robert Bigelow. Bigelow has been an advocate of exploring space and told CBS ’60 Minutes’ that he was convinced that aliens exist and UFO’s have visited Earth.
The program which is reported to still be active, was run by military intelligence official Luis Elizondo. It was reported that parts of the project are still classified and received $22 million each year. The issue of UFO’s have been a focus in political campaigns and presidencies. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chair John Podesta said he convinced Clinton to look into declassifying any government documents related to UFOs should she win the election. During the Clinton Administration, President Bill Clinton said he tried find out if there were any secret files pertaining to aliens and UFOs.
The AATIP program is seen as an attempt to replicate some of the research undertaken by the Defense Department in the 1950s and 1960s, in an attempt to explain thousands of reported sightings of UFOs. Some have also suggested that this program was started because lawmakers believed that Russia and China developed advanced technology. Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Ochoas confirmed the program with a statement.
“The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe. 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.” “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.”
Several military service members have made claims that they saw some type of UFO all over the world. Elizondo was key on getting the Pentagon to release three videos from the Pentagon’s vaults that showed footage of encounters between fighter jets and UFOs.