The Pentagon has confirmed its $22M program to investigate UFOs

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The program, which only a few officials knew about, ran from 2007 to 2012, according to reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and received $22 million in annual funding from the U.S. Department of Defense budget.

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. The paper was able to uncover information about it through a series of interviews and government document requests.

Among the anomalies the program studied, the paper said, were video and audio recordings of aerial encounters by military pilots and unknown objects, as well as interviews with people who said they had experienced physical encounters with such objects.

Some parts of the program remain classified.

Until his departure the program, though unclassified, had nevertheless been a Pentagon secret in that its existence had never been publicly acknowledged.

Officials with the program also studied videos of encounters between unknown objects and American military aircraft, including one released in August of a white oval object, about the size of a commercial plane, chased by two United States navy fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Nimitz off the coast of San Diego in 2004.

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For two weeks, military tracked the mysterious objects.

How was former senator Harry Reid involved?

Reid, the Times notes, "has long had an interest in space phenomena".

"I'm not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going", Reid told the Times. "I've done something that no one has done before". "I've done something that no one has done before", Reid said. He approached Reid earlier in 2007 about a Defense Intelligence Agency official's interest in visiting his Skinwalker Ranch property in Utah-considered a point of interest for believers in paranormal and UFO activities. 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. Harry Reid, at the origin of the program, pleaded at the time to strengthen the security of this research, arguing that "great progress" had been made "in the identification of several unconventional and very sensitive discoveries ". The money was used for management of the program, research and assessments of the threat posed by the objects.

"60 Minutes" described Bigelow as someone "obsessed with UFOs and aliens".

But Mr. Elizondo said the only thing that had ended was the effort's government funding, which dried up in 2012.