[NYTimes] Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program

From: Mr. Man-wai Chang (toylet...)

Full story:

WASHINGTON — In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the
$22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification
Program was almost impossible to find.

Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.

For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying
objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with
program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was
run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth
floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.

The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of
the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say
that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the
program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say,
officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes
brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other
Defense Department duties.

The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and
initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada
Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long
had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an
aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and
longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working
with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.

On CBS’s “60 Minutes” in May, Mr. Bigelow said he was “absolutely
convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.

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