For the first time, the US defence department has acknowledged the existence of the mysterious Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program run from an office in a quiet corner of its sprawling headquarters. The idea is that the academy gives researches free reign to explore science fiction theories and technologies without bureaucratic blockades.
"If anyone says they have the answers now, they're fooling themselves", Reid tweeted. "I've done something that no one has done before", Reid said.
"We don't know the answers but we have plenty of evidence to support asking the questions".
In one eerie encounter, a whitish oval object, about the size of a commercial plane, was chased by two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Nimitz off the coast of San Diego.
Robert Bigelow, a billionaire aerospace entrepreneur and longtime friend of former Sen. Even though the Department of Defense made a decision to defund the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in 2012, its backers say the program remains in existence, the Times reported.
But as to whether the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program has continued to investigate UFO sightings since its funding ended five years ago could rank as an unexplained phenomenon.More news: Virginia woman mauled to death by her pit bulls
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"60 Minutes" described Bigelow as someone "obsessed with UFOs and aliens".
Two years into the programme, Mr Reid said that the "extraordinary discoveries" made by the programme required "restricted special access".
The passionate phenomenon of UFO sightings and seekers has been around for decades, fueled by stories eye-witness accounts, including the famous story of a spacecraft that reportedly crashed in the New Mexico desert in 1947.
A retired Navy pilot contacted by The Post who was involved in a 2004 encounter depicted in one of the videos confirmed that the images accurately reflected his recollection of the events.
But belief in UFOs is still widespread; according to a survey conducted in 2012, an estimated 80 million people in the USA think that UFOs are real, and 1 in 10 responders claimed to have personally witnessed what they describe as an extraterrestrial spacecraft. As part of his decision to leave the Pentagon, he not only sought the release of videos but also penned a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis complaining that a potential security threat was being ignored.
Beyond preparing for the next field of battle, or advancing a massive arsenal that includes nuclear weapons, the Pentagon has also researched the possible existence of UFOs.