Pentagon acknowledges program to investigate UFO encounters

UFO? Camera trickery? What did this

It was initially funded at the request of former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and much of the money spent on the program went to Robert Bigelow, the same Bigelow who is now working with NASA to create the expandable modules being tested on the ISS.

However, the US Department of Defence was unclear on whether the so-called Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme still operates in some capacity.

The New York Times reported the secret Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme which was tasked with investigating sightings of unidentified flying objects ran from 2007 to 2012 with $22m (£16.5m) in annual funding.

He also tweeted that "If anyone says they have the answers, they're fooling themselves".

Most of the funds went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, who has previously announced that aliens have "already visited Earth". He said the program was "one of the good things" he did while in office. Upon leaving the Pentagon, Elizondo said he left a successor to keep running the program, but did not reveal their name. He said he was quitting in protest of internal opposition to the program as well as the dwindling attention that was paid to their findings.

Speaking at the conference in October, Elizondo told the public that during the years of managing the program he became convinced that "the [UFO] phenomena is indeed real".

"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", she said.

Whether it's still active or not, the findings that have been declassified so far are remarkable.

The program, which began as part of the Defense Intelligence Agency, produced documents detailing sightings of mysterious aircraft and collected videos and audio recordings of alleged encounters with UFOs, according to the Times.

A former contractor for the program named Harold E. Puthoff told reporters: "We're sort of in the position of what would happen if you gave Leonardo da Vinci a garage-door opener". He has conducted research on extrasensory perception. "He wouldn't know anything about the electromagnetic signals involved or its function". In his resignation letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis, seen by Politico and the NYT, he lamented the lack of funding for the project and the fact that it continues to be shrouded in mystery, away from the public eye. He wanted the program designated a "restricted special access program".

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