By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended the $22 million he earmarked to study UFOs when he was in the U.S. Senate, saying the nation must to keep up with similar programs by rivals on the world stage.
“We know that China is doing it,” Reid said of UFO studies Tuesday on Nevada Newsmakers. “We know that Russia, which is led by someone within the KGB, is doing it, too, so we better take a look at it, too.”
Reid told host Sam Shad that he secured the $22 million to begin the secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) in 2007 and the program was funded and supervised by the Pentagon until 2012. The New York Post, however, reported the Pentagon’s investigation into sightings of alien spacecraft continues today.
The AATIP program helped convinced Reid the sightings are real. Reid recently urged Congress to hold public hearings on the issue during an interview on KNPR radio.
“We got a volume of research that was done, $22 million worth of research,” Reid said on Newsmakers. “It showed that not two people, four people or six people or 20 people but hundreds of hundreds of people have seen these things, sometimes all at the same time.
“It is no longer just speculation that people see these unidentified flying objects,” Reid said. “That’s beyond question. And it has even become more transparent in recent months.”
UFO research is a matter of national security, Reid said.
“We’ve had some (UFOs) seen near of our military installations in South Dakota, out that way,” Reid said. “At our missile defense systems, where they come out (of the ground), there they (UFOs) are.”
“So I don’t know what all these things are but I do believe that we should take a look at them,” he said.
Some of the most credible stories and sightings of UFOs have come from military pilots, Reid said. Pilots were once afraid to tell their superiors about UFO sightings but that has changed.
The U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots who witness unidentified aircraft because of increases in sightings near sensitive military facilities and Navy strike groups at sea, according to news reports.
“Originally, pilots were afraid to tell their superiors because they were concerned that it would hurt their promotions, which it would have done,” Reid said. “But now, pilots have an obligation to start reporting them and the reason for that is the work that we did.”
Advances in military technology have given pilots better photos and video of the UFOs, Reid said. Pilots have reported the UFOs can do things that are impossible for U.S. military jets to duplicate.
“We do not have any type (craft with) the ability to do what they do,” he said. “We have jet airplanes that fly 750 miles per hour. These things, they estimate they go over 3,000 miles per hour. I think it is something we need to look at.”
Reid’s behind-the-scenes work to fund UFO research and the AATIP were revealed in December of 2017 when the New York Times and Politico both published stories on the subject.
“When I was contacted by the New York Times, they said they wanted to do a story on UFOs and the money you got, the $22 million,” Reid said. “And I said I am happy to do that story, as long as we are not talking about little green men. If you want to talk about science, I’m all in. And that is how I looked at this. ”
Getting the $22 million to fund the AATIP in 2007 was easy because former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, held great influence over military spending in Congress, Reid recalled.
When Reid presented his classified UFO research idea to select leaders in Congress, Stevens sealed the deal.
“Just like that, Ted Stevens said, ‘I’ve wanted to look into this since I was in the Army Air Corps.’ He said, ‘I was flying an airplane and there was a vehicle that was right with me and I could not get rid of it. I would go up, down, sideways, whatever. Then I went down to the ground and asked ‘what was that up there?’ And they said they saw nothing.”
“So that was easy,” Reid said. “That took me, maybe 10 minutes to get that money and I am glad I did it.”