9 Probing Questions We Have About The Pentagon’s Not-Longer-Secret UFO Program

Thanks to The New York Times and Politico releasing simultaneous articles, we just found out that the government has been funding UFO research…Yes, UFO research. This is real life.

It’s called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which the Pentagon said was dismantled in 2012. However, the program is still up and running, and it’s super classified (and super sketchy), so we’ve gathered the facts just for you!

What exactly is the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program?

Politico reported the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program investigates unidentified foreign objects that appear more advanced than that of any aircraft known to the world. From 2007-2012, $22 million dollars was spent on the program from the annual defense department budget of $600 billion. The Pentagon defunded the program in 2012, but some service members keep it afloat. Until recently, it was run by Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official.

Wait… HOW much money was secretly spent on it?

Yep. $22 million dollars —that the Pentagon made untraceable, according to The Washington Post.

Why would information on UFOs be so secret? Seriously, shouldn’t we have been informed?

Because the Pentagon wanted it that way. And so did the program’s founder, Harry Reid, according to The New York Times.

“Much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings,” The New York Times quoted Reid in a letter to William Lynn III, a deputy defense secretary at the time. In this letter, he requested that the program be only open to a few officials and designated a “restricted special access program.”

How did we even find out about this craziness?

You can thank Luis Elizondo for that. According to The Washington Post, Elizondo released three videos of these UFOs to the public before he resigned three months ago. These videos show multiple giant flying ovals and were taken from cockpit cameras. (You can watch one of these insane videos here.)

How did the program start?

According to Politico, many military members, particularly pilots, had sighted UFOs, but they were too afraid of being laughed at to report them. As a result, the program was founded in 2007 by the Democratic Senate majority leader at the time, Harry Reid. Reid has had a long interest in outer space, so he funneled billions of dollars to his friend Robert Bigelow, who put it into his aerospace research company. Soon their program grew as the sightings began to pour in.

Did they actually find any UFOs?

Yes! The New York Times reported there were countless sightings from the military, ranging from a singular fuzzy disk on the horizon, to a fleet of giant glowing aircraft. These mysterious flying objects were mainly reported near nuclear plants, power plants and ships at sea. The program compiled video and audio pieces of evidence. One video revealed “an aircraft surrounded by some sort of glowing aura traveling at high speed and rotating as it moves” reported The New York Times. They also collected metal alloys obtained from the unidentified aircraft, and they psychologically and physically inspected people who had come into contact with these aircraft.

But how are we sure that they’re UFOs?

We aren’t… which makes this whole debacle even spookier. The New York Times reported that Sara Seager, an astrophysicist from M.I.T. said that not knowing where an object comes from doesn’t mean it’s from outer space. James E. Oberg, a former NASA space shuttle engineer who often debunks UFO sightings, also voiced his doubts.

“There are plenty of prosaic events and human perceptual traits that can account for these stories,” Oberg said to The New York Times. “Lots of people are active in the air and don’t want others to know about it. They are happy to lurk unrecognized in the noise, or even to stir it up as camouflage.”

Politico reported there is concern that these objects could be secret technology developed by China or Russia and could pose a threat to the United States… which while they’re not aliens, that’s still pretty terrifying.

If there’s this huge risk, why was the program defunded?

“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,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White to Politico.

According to Politico, many people were uncomfortable with the idea that these aircraft came from outer space, and that the program was so secretive. There were also concerns about the money being given to Bigelow because he was a friend of Reid. Lastly, according to Reid, they couldn’t find anything of substance, so they decided it was no longer worth taxpayer money.

So what’s next?

Elizondo feels that the program should be made public because American citizens deserve to know about these mysterious aircraft, reported The Washington Post. He speculates that if more people know about it, we may begin to take sightings more seriously.

The United States isn’t the only country exploring UFOs. According to The New York Times, countries like China, Russia, Belgium, France, England and Chile are actually more receptive to exploring the possibility of UFOs than we are. So now many people want to expand our program because they believe our defense system is not equipped to deal with UFOs… but the Pentagon doesn’t seem to be budging.

“Despite overwhelming evidence at both the classified and unclassified levels, certain individuals in the [Defense] Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security,” Elizondo said in the letter, reported by The Washington Post.

Are you as creeped out as we are? This could either be a technological threat from other countries or it could be science fiction coming to life! Either way, it’s probably not nothing — and the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program clearly has more to find.

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