Known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme, which corners only $22 million of the $600 million defence budget, it was a conscious decision of the Pentagon to keep it secret as much as possible.
Despite the Pentagon's claim that the programme has been shut down, its original backers say that the investigations are ongoing.
The Nevada Democrat has long had an interest in UFOs.
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But according to the Times, certain aspects of the program still exist with officials from the program continuing to investigate encounters brought to them by service members, while these officials still carry out their other duties within the Defense Department.
The program was headed up by Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence officer, who resigned earlier this year. However, he is not revealing this person's identity. This hitherto unknown fact has come to light despite repeated denials by the United States defence department, according to the New York Times. This is according to his interview with CBS' 60-Minutes. The program operated jointly out of the Pentagon and, at least for a time, an underground complex in Las Vegas managed by Bigelow Aerospace, a defense contractor that builds modules for space stations.
"Despite overwhelming evidence at both the classified and unclassified levels, certain individuals in the [Defense] Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security", Elizondo said in the letter, a copy of which was provided to The Post. It is a research group whose goal is to study paranormal topics with a focus on UFOlogy.
However, Elizondo said that even without its generous funding, the program was still alive, telling the New York Times that he was working with Central Intelligence Agency and Navy officials on the issue up to his resignation. "I've done something that no one has done before".