2017, December 16: Goverment UFO Official Reveals Secrets

On December 16, 2017, the New York Times had the privilege and pleasure of exposing a secret US government UFO program.

        Calm down. It's not as exciting as it initially sounds.

        The story was brought to the news service by Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence officer who claimed to have run said secret program from 2007 to October of 2017, when he resigned in protest over "excessive secrecy and internal opposition". And once the New York Times reporters -- Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal, and Leslie Kean -- went looking, they were able to find information that confirmed the basic claims Elizondo was making about the program.

        The program started in 2007, set up by three senators on the sly to keep the rest of Congress from shooting the whole thing down. In 2007, Harry Reid, a Democratic senator from Nevada and the Senate majority leader at the time, had a keen interest in investigating strange ariel phenomena (aka "UFOs") which he had picked up from his friend Robert Bigelow. Bigelow runs an aerospace research company -- Bigelow Aerospace -- and as of December, 2017, was working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space... so he likely had a long time interest in strange ariel phenomena as well.

        In 2007, Bigelow told Reid that an official with the Defense Intelligence Agency had asked Bigelow if they could visit his ranch in Utah, where he did his research. Reid soon after met with officials from the agency and found that they were interested in starting a program to do research on UFOs; and because Reid was also interested in this, he summoned two senators he apparently felt would be interested also -- Ted Stevens (Alaska, Republican) and Daniel K. Inouye (Hawaii, Democrat) -- to a secure room meeting in the Capital to discuss the idea. Stevens had been an air force pilot, and recounted during the meeting how he had once been followed by an unknown aircraft for miles.

        All three agreed the program should exist; and all three agreed to fund it with "black money" -- funding that was off the main records -- to avoid a public debate in the Senate, which would likely kill the program as well as attract too much attention. Reid was quoted in a recent interview saying that this “was one of the easiest meetings I ever had.

        A team of people were organized under the leadership of Luis Elizondo, working out of the fifth floor of the Pentagon's "C Ring," and from late 2008 to 2011, $22 million dollars were spent on the program, called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. The money was used to pay for management, research, and storage; a good portion of the funds went to Bigelow's company, who worked with Luis Elizondo's team in the Pentagon. Bigelow hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program... as well as modified buildings in Las Vegas for storage of materials said to have been recovered from "unidentified aerial phenomena." Researchers conducted interviews with witnesses of strange phenomena, and sometimes did physical examinations of people who claimed to have been effected in some way by their experience.

        The program made an effort to talk to military service members who had encountered odd occurrences as they were often excellent witnesses, but lived in a culture that discouraged discussion of such matters -- superiors would not pass reports along, and often the service member was made fun of by others until they stopped talking about their experiences. In talking to the reporters in 2017, Elizondo offered up an example of such a report in the form of a video that had been released in August, showing an unknown object recorded in flight by Navy pilots in 2004 [follow the 'See Also' link below for more on that]. Overall research soon provided evidence for unknown aircraft that appeared to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that could hover with no apparent means of lift.

        In fact, Reid was so impressed with the amount and nature of the information that the program had collected that, in 2009, he asked that the program be designated a "restricted special access program" which would limit control of it to a few listed officials. The overall argument for this change was that the information being collected largely indicated the existence of unknown aerial technologies that the United States was currently incapable of defending against, which required more serious study. Reid's request was denied.

        In 2012, the Pentagon cut funding to the program; and they only admitted the program had existed after the New York Times reporters inquired about it in 2017. The New York Times reporters received an email response from Pentagon spokesman Thomas Crosson stating: “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding, and it was in the best interest of the DoD [Department of Defense -- Garth] to make a change.

        According to Elizondo, however, the program itself continues to some extent, despite the end of its funding. The Pentagon staff that had been working for the program continue to investigate reports from service members, but as a sideline to performing their other duties at the Pentagon. Elizondo himself continued to work with officials from the Navy and the CIA in investigating and recording strange incidents.

        All of this, as I mentioned before, only became public knowledge because Elizondo resigned from his position at the Pentagon on October 4, 2017, and then shared what he could about the program; for example, Elizondo explained that the program was still ongoing, and that he had a successor who inherited his job with it... but Elizondo would not name who that person was, which is a very practical thought. After all, the work is still largely secret.

        Elizondo's reasons for resigning were shared, however. In his resignation letter, given to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Elizondo expressed his frustrations with the limitations on both the program's ability to investigate, and the lack of attention being focused in general on clear evidence "of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities." Elizondo wants more time and effort spent on the matter, because “there remains a vital need to ascertain capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation.

        Elizondo formed a commercial venture called To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, in conjunction with engineer Harold E. Puthoff and former Defense Department official Christopher K. Mellon. Puthoff had worked with Elizondo on Reid's program, and had previously researched 'extrasensory perception' -- ESP -- for the CIA. They hope to raise money to further research into unexplained aerial phenomena. Elizondo, in talking about his work with the program, stated he and his colleagues had determined that the evidence they saw indicated that the unknown vehicles "did not seem to originate from any country," and that conclusion itself should not be kept secret from the world. Elizondo was more blunt in an interview on CNN: "My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone."