The Pentagon's Secret UFO Program and the Video Evidence They Hid From Us
There's no shortage of UFO-spotters and conspiracy theorists eager to prove that any unidentified object spotted in the night's sky must be an alien visitor.
While most of these reports can be fairly quickly debunked, there are some cases of unusual phenomena that can't be explained away with a quick Google. While any bumpkin with a digital camera and a drone can fake a UFO sighting, when reports come, Close Encounters style, from legitimate pilots and even military personnel, it's hard to dismiss their accounts as nonsense.
In fact, such reports have become so prevalent, and so convincing, that the US Military has devoted $22 million of its $600 billion annual funding to a secret Pentagon project that involves investigating UFO sightings.
The Pentagon has acknowledged setting up a secret UFO program in part to help the US to avoid overlooking the testimonies of respectable service officers simply because they share similarities with the kind of X-Files fiction that most people simply roll their eyes at, according to an expose from The New York Times.
The kinds of accounts that the program investigates include the case of a "drone" spotted by a pair of Navy F/A-18F fighters off the coast of San Diego in 2004. In video footage, the mysterious object appears to turn and rotate, all while steering into the wind in a way that would be difficult, if not impossible, for a traditional aircraft.
The Pentagon's operation was conducted in complete secrecy between the years of 2007 and 2012, drawing a significant but ultimately invisible budget from the Department of Defense during this time. Sources argue that the research has continued after this date, but that the funding for the project no longer comes as part of the DoD's remit.
Many will see the Pentagon's decision to monitor and research UFO sightings as a tacit admission that there really are mysterious floating objects in the sky that are probably extraterrestrial in nature.
While the body of (still mostly classified) evidence that the program has gathered does suggest that there are things going on that we don't know about, it's still currently too much of a leap of faith to assume that all of these unidentified objects are alien in nature.
In the meantime, there is an equally troubling if somewhat more terrestrial concern that needs to be raised here, relating to government funding and the way that finances are put to use.
It's nothing new to see government institutions hide so-called "black budgets"; money that's hidden away within a larger allocation of funds in such a way that it's kept secret from the taxpayers who are funding official institutions. This in and of itself is a worrying trend—the entire UFO tracking project has managed, like the crafts it tracks, to fly under the radar without accountability to the public.
What makes this more concerning is the fact that the UFO project is mostly the work of a single man: Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader at the time of the program's institution in 2007. Reid insists that setting up the program was entirely his own idea and that it was one of the most important things that he did while in office, as he remains a firm believer in the existence of alien UFOs.
How much the rest of the DoD was on board with Reid's beliefs remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that the implementation of a UFO-watching scheme was not agreed upon by the leaders of the US military, but rather one politician with a lot of influence over the defense budget, who also happens to have very powerful, and persuasive, friends.
According to The New York Times, Reid first found the resolve to set up the UFO watch following a conversation with his friend, real estate billionaire Robert Bigelow—who also has significant aerospace interests, and who, according to a piece by Sixty Minutes, is hard at work designing the spaceship of the future.
As a matter of fact, a large chunk of the budget that Reid hid away for the UFO program goes directly to the Research and Development department of Bigelow's aerospace company. To whit, there's a secret government conspiracy to squirrel funds away from the Department of Defense, which ultimately go to a third-party billionaire who is working to build the same kind of technology that the UFO project is investigating.
Probably more useful to Bigelow is the classified data that his company is being provided with thanks to the government scheme that his friend Harry Reid has set up. When researching advanced spacecraft, what better way to speed up development than by getting the DoD to do a lot of the heavy lifting?
It's worth noting that the original director of the secret project, Luis Elizondo, ultimately resigned over his frustration at the unnecessary levels of secrecy that surround the project—in his mind, the decision to keep mum about the possible existence of UFOs was in no way logical or sensible. One has to wonder who, other than Bigelow, benefits from secrecy that keeps all the specifics of his research and development out of the public eye.
While it remains to be seen whether the government's UFO surveillance scheme has actually generated proof of the existence of aliens, one thing is certain: there's something murky going on with the funding for this project, and all the secrecy surrounding the US hunt for extraterrestrial visitors is not in the public's best interest.
Whatever's going on, it doesn't look like we'll be getting specific answers anytime soon.