The matter of UFOs has often been associated with tinfoil hat wearing fanatics looking for little gray men, but the people who have long been relegated to society’s fringes may finally be getting what they always wanted.
In December 2017, the long-dismissed idea of covert government research into UFOs was given a new level of public credibility by a most unlikely source: The New York Times. In a piece called “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program,” NYT reporters revealed the existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a black budget Pentagon program that was investigating reports of unidentified flying objects in conjunction with private company Bigelow Aerospace.
AATIP, UFOs and the Media
The Department of Defense (DoD) program began in 2007 with the backing of former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). While a lack of funding reportedly ended the Department of Defense program in 2012, the program’s former head, Luis Elizondo, believes that it has continued.
The story made a splash in the papers, with coverage by the big players including Politico, Fox News, CNN, Washington Post, Vanity Fair etc. What The New York Times story did, which countless ufologists never managed, was to bring the (or at least one) government UFO program to the serious attention of the public, and the mainstream media now deemed it acceptable to mention the term “UFO” without irony. As career Exopolitics researcher Paola Harris wryly told an audience in Manchester, the article had finally convinced her children that she wasn’t crazy after all.
Public interest has also been fuelled by a video of an encounter between a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet and a mysterious craft. Released by the DoD at the same time as the AATIP acknowledgment, the video depicts an unidentified flying object in the most literal sense – whether it is extraterrestrial in origin is not a foregone conclusion and many alternative scenarios are possible. Nevertheless, the possibility of alien craft presented in the footage has sparked an interest in the mainstream media that is unprecedented. Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared, “UFOs have captivated the public interest for decades but they’ve always been dismissed, including by me, as the province of wackos, but that is changing,” in a segment where he broadcast the Navy footage and interviewed Elizondo.
It’s not just the press that has finally expressed an interest in UFOs; U.S. politicians are getting in on the action too. Representative Ami Bera (D-CA) called for a congressional hearing on the matter at a Politico Space panel in April, saying “I think it’s fascinating, you know, we don’t know what these phenomenon are. Obviously, it was important enough to allocate some funds. We ought to talk about what we can talk about openly.”
The U.S. Government, Space, and UFOs
Soon after President Trump took office, he brought up the goal of returning man to the moon and achieving a manned mission to Mars. In June 2018 he told reporters that he wanted to attain “American dominance in space” and directed the Department of Defense to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military. While the announcement was met with plenty of mocking voices, others may be wondering what influence research programs like AATIP will have on any potential space missions going forward, and what role will private companies such as Bigelow Aerospace and Elon Musk’s more attention-seeking Space X have within these U.S. government programs? Robert Bigelow, head of Bigelow Aerospace, has publicly admitted that he believes aliens visit Earth – how will views like this impact the development of the U.S. space program?
The president’s plan has not yet been fully endorsed by Congress but according to Defense One, a leaked DoD draft report states:
“DoD will usher in a new age of space technology and field new systems in order to deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect U.S. interests, assets, and way of life… This new age will unlock growth in the U.S. industrial base, expand the commercial space economy and strengthen partnerships with our allies.”
However, this futuristic military branch may not be as quick to set up as the president may be hoping for:
“The Department will recommend that the President revise the Unified Campaign Plan to create the new U.S. Space Command by the end of 2018 and evaluate the need for any additional personnel, responsibilities and authorities.”
Disclosure or Disinformation?
Fans of the long-running television show Ancient Aliens may have been surprised to see that, among the mainstay personalities of the UFO world, the new season features John Podesta, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and Counselor to Barack Obama, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Podesta has repeatedly advocated for disclosure, and he is not alone; Bill Clinton unsuccessfully tried to delve into the U.S. government’s UFO research in the 90s, while in 2016, Hillary made it a campaign promise to declassify files relating to Area 51 and UFOs.
It certainly appears that space is the next frontier in the military and U.S. politics. Is the U.S. government finally starting to give the public the disclosure that many have hoped for since the iconic Roswell crash, or is this actually an attempt by the DoD to prime us for the imminent expansion of war beyond the confines of our planetary surface? Or could it be both?
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with UFO expert and former U.K. Ministry of Defense official, Nick Pope, in which Liberty Nation explores these issues and more.