The Pentagon has confirmed the existence of a UFO program, and incident videos have been released. "Much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings", Mr. Reid wrote in a letter to a deputy defense secretary at the time.
The former director of the program told the paper that he worked with officials from the Navy and Central Intelligence Agency from his office in the Pentagon until this past October, when he resigned in protest.
As it turns out, the Pentagon and the U.S. Military have spent millions of dollars on a program to investigate the UFO phenomenon.
Even though the program's funding stopped in 2012, the program itself continued operating until 2017. Upon leaving the Pentagon, Elizondo said he left a successor to keep running the program, but did not reveal their name. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes.
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Reid enlisted support of two other lawmakers, Ted Stevens, the late Republican senator from Alaska, and Democrat Daniel K. Inouye, representing Hawaii. In 1947, the Air Force began a series of studies that investigated more than 12,000 claimed U.F.O. sightings before it was officially ended in 1969.
"This was so-called black money", Reid admitted to the Times.
What is less in doubt is former senator Reid's enthusiasm for UFOs and his likely role in launching the Pentagon initiative to identify advanced aviation threats. The detailed account of the encounter was given by Chris Mellon, a former member of Senate Intelligence Committee, who is engaged in a new initiative, spearheaded by Elizondo, called To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science. He's gone on to work on privately funded UFO research projects.
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".
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In comments to the New York Times, he said "I'm not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going". He said the program was "one of the good things" he did while in office. "I've done something that no one has done before", he told the Times.
An ex-member of Congress staff told Politico that the goal of the programme may have been to surveil the technological developments of rival foreign countries.
The US military said it was a standard weather balloon, but UFO enthusiasts allege the government covered up what really happened.
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