The Pentagon has been spending millions of dollars to fund a UFO programme designed to make contact with alien lifeforms.
According to a New York Times report, the programme began in 2007 and ran until 2012, and was designed to track alien spacecraft that had entered Earth’s atmosphere during that time.
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BBC News reports: But scientists were doubtful, stressing that unexplained happenings were not necessarily proof of alien life.
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The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme was the brainchild of Harry Reid, a retired Democratic senator who was the Senate majority leader at the time.
He told the New York Times: “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going. I’ve done something that no one has done before.”
Mr Reid – former senator for Nevada, home to the mythologised “Area 51” classified US Air Force base – later tweeted that the programme was a serious effort to get to truth amid “plenty of evidence to support asking the questions”.
If anyone says they have the answers, they’re fooling themselves.
We don’t know the answers but we have plenty of evidence to support asking the questions. This is about science and national security. If America doesn’t take the lead in answering these questions, others will.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 16, 2017
The programme is reported to have cost the Department of Defense more than $20 million (£15m) before it was shut down in order to save costs.
Although its funding ended in 2012, officials have reportedly continued to investigate sightings of unusual aerial phenomena and suspicious objects alongside their daily duties.
One former congressional staffer told Politico the programme may have been set up to monitor the technological progress of rival foreign powers.
“Was this China or Russia trying to do something or has some propulsion system we are not familiar with?”, they said.
Earlier this year, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released millions of pages of declassified documents online.
The records included UFO sightings and a collection of reports on flying saucers.