Thr Department of Defense acknowledged the existence of the program, noting it was about investigating unidentified flying objects while stating that it had been shut down in 2012.
The Department of Defense's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program had investigated reports of unidentified flying objects for years, The New York Times reports, citing Defense Department officials and interviews with participants in the program, as well as records the newspaper obtained.
The official in charge of the program resigned in October. The Pentagon confirmed AATIP's existence, though it's yet to comment on whether the program is still running despite lacking government funding.
Reid told the Times he was proud of his role in creating the program.
The program documented sightings of fast-moving aircraft and close encounters between USA military planes and UFOs.
The shadowy program, parts of which remain classified, was largely funded at the request of a politician who had an interest in space phenomena.
Elizondo told of sightings by Navy pilots of aircraft that were able to make manoeuvres that should not be aerodynamically possible, but complained that military leaders were not taking the threat seriously.
Much of the money spent on the endeavor went to an aerospace firm owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow, a longtime friend of Reid, according to The Times. The Air Force looked into thousands of UFO sightings from 1947 to 1969 in a series of studies including the famous study code-named Project Blue Book.
Those who question the government's version of the Roswell incident and admit a belief in aliens are often branded by critics as conspiracy theorists, but aerospace researchers like Bigelow and his supporters like Reid argue that there are legitimate justifications for spending government money and resources on investigating the unexplained phenomena. Pentagon spokesperson Thomas Crosson told the Times the reason AATIP's funding ran out was because "there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding". "[Other countries] are proactive and willing to discuss this topic, rather than being held back by a juvenile taboo".
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