Are we on the brink of an alien invasion? Extraterrestrial activity has been the inspiration behind films, dinner conversations, and Saturday Night Live‘s hilarious ‘Close Encounter’ skit. All the while, people continue to report UFO sightings and alien interactions. For instance, in 1973, Charles Hickson of the sleepy, fishing town of Pascagoula, Mississippi, claimed he was abducted by aliens while fishing on a pier. Supposedly, the aliens took him and a friend aboard their aircraft, examined them, then placed them back on the fishing pier.
As far back as 1948, the United States government has investigated reports of UFO sightings under the name Project Blue Book. Needless to say, the excitement around extraterrestrial activity abounds, and the news surrounding the Pentagon’s latest investigation has piqued a lot of interest.
Now that the Pentagon’s top secret UFO investigation has been revealed, speculation of alien activity continues to grow. So is the little green man real? Check out the answers to all of your questions here.
1. When did the Pentagon’s mysterious investigation begin?
The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, a secret military program investigating unidentified flying objects, was launched back in 2007 and shut down sometime in 2012. According to Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson, “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] to make a change.”
Next: Find out which senators encouraged the UFO investigations
2. Who sparked the interest of the Pentagon?
The individual responsible for getting the Pentagon on board for the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was former Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. Former Senators Ted Stevens of Alaska, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, and John Glenn of Ohio all supported Reid. All of these men advocated for the investigation. Reid’s initial interest in UFO activity came by way of billionaire Robert Bigelow, who has an obsession with all things space-related and extraterrestrial.
Next: Where the Pentagon got the money
3. How did the Pentagon manage to find $22 million to fund this project?
Of the Department of Defense’s $600 billion annual budget, the Pentagon managed to appropriate $22 million for the program. Strangely enough, when searching through the budget, it appeared that the $22 million was practically impossible to find.
A little odd? Well, yeah. According to the Times, the three senators vying for this investigation wanted to avoid any discussion about the project on the Senate floor. Reid stated, “This was so-called black money…Stevens knows about it, Inouye knows about it. But that was it, and that’s how we wanted it.”
Next: What they hoped to find
4. What was the purpose of this UFO investigation project?
Besides the incessant reports of UFO activity across the nation (and the world), this particular investigation dove into a variety of reports. The government deeply investigated interactions between unknown saucer-like aircrafts and military aircrafts. The recently released video depicts Navy F/A-18F fighter jets chasing an oval-shaped object estimated to be the size of a commercial airliner.
This event occurred off the coast of San Diego back in 2004. The Navy pilots can be heard stunningly attempting to ascertain what the flying objects could be.
Next: So, is E.T. real?
5. Was any UFO presence confirmed?
From the information the New York Times and the general public has received, no UFO presence has been publicly confirmed. But that hasn’t prevented military intelligence official Luis Elizondo, formerly running the investigation, to speak out about the project. In regards to the investigation being shut down, Elizondo’s resignation letter asked the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, “Why aren’t we spending more time and effort on this issue?”
Furthermore, in 2009, due to the discoveries that had been made within the investigation, Reid wanted heightened security for the project. He claimed, “Much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings.”
Next: Should we be preparing for an Independence Day-style invasion?
6. Is the national security of the U.S. at risk?
All indications from the United States government suggest our country is not at risk of an alien invasion. But if you ask Bigelow, he will firmly proclaim that the United States is behind the times when it comes to extraterrestrial investigations.
Furthermore, in a 2009 synopsis of the project, the director stated, “What was considered science fiction is now science fact.” The Times also reported that the summary suggested, “The United States was incapable of defending itself against some of the technologies discovered.”
Next: Are we still looking for UFOs?
7. Will UFO investigations continue?
Yes, absolutely! While the Pentagon claims it is no longer funding the program, private investigations certainly continue. Elizondo told the Times that alongside the Navy and the CIA in his Pentagon office, he investigated reports up until his resignation in October 2017.
And according to Bigelow, “Our scientists are scared of being ostracized, and our media is scared of the stigma. China and Russia are much more open and work on this with huge organizations within their countries. Smaller countries like Belgium, France, England and South American countries like Chile are more open, too. They are proactive and willing to discuss this topic, rather than being held back by a juvenile taboo.”
Next: Is extraterrestrial life a possibility?
8. Are we alone or not?
It depends on who you ask. According to Elizondo, “My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”
If you ask former NASA space shuttle engineer James E. Oberg, he’ll tell you, “Lots of people are active in the air and don’t want others to know about it. They are happy to lurk unrecognized in the noise, or even to stir it up as camouflage.”
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