Over the weekend a Naval officer revealed an 2004 encounter with a UFO that has still gone unidentified. Now more military experts are coming forward to report their own experiences.
A Daily Beast interview Monday cited a secretive organization within the Pentagon that investigated unidentified flying objects seen by U.S. military pilots. The Pentagon's real-life "X-Files" program is still ongoing, according to the New York Times report and boasted millions of dollars in funding until 2012.
Former director Luis Elizondo revealed that he continued the investigations on behalf of the Navy and CIA for another five years until he quit in October 2017.
"Why aren't we spending more time and effort on this issue?" he wrote in a resignation letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"In the end, however, I couldn’t carry out that mission, because the department — which was understandably overstretched — couldn’t give it the resources that the mounting evidence deserved," Elizondo said later in a statement.
In the interview with the Daily Beast, Elizondo noted that the investigations continued under new leadership primarily because the military considers any potential threat a serious issue.
Former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) backed the Advanced Aerospace Identification Program after he met with government contractor Robert Bigelow, who builds spacecraft for the government and private sector. He's a believer in extraterrestrials and convinced Reid to sponsor a specific investigation into the sightings.
The U.S government has investigated UFOs off for decades, dating back to cases during World War II, but the notorious Project Blue Book didn't begin to look into UFO sightings until after the 1947 "UFO crash" in Roswell, New Mexico. The so-called crash was found to be a "weather balloon." The story of Roswell spread and many Americans began to also report unidentified objects flying in the sky. At the time, the U.S. Air Force was testing classified aircraft that could have accounted for many reports.
"There has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as 'unidentified' are extraterrestrial vehicles," Project Blue Book found.
The CIA declassified hundreds of documents related to UFO investigations from the 1940s and the FBI has similarly declassified many files relating to Roswell and paranormal investigations. The former Soviet Union has done their own investigations into UFOs. Iran has similarly had mysterious interactions with UFOs that ended in crashes, killing pilots. Iranian pilots frequently chased objects they thought were American drones sent to spy on the country. In 2012, one F-14 exploded attempting to chase a UFO sighting.
“It is important that we not assume the source of an unexplained sighting,” Elizondo told The Daily Beast. “Objectivity is an imperative when dealing with a subject as unknown as and contentious as UFOs.”
Because many intelligence programs by the CIA, FBI and military are deeply classified, information that could explain possible UFO sighting often continues being "unexplained" until the intelligence programs are declassified. The Daily Beast used the example that Navy pilots might not know about experimental intelligence craft being tested by the Air Force.
Despite human contact with extraterrestrials, such sightings will likely continue due to continued work on intelligence monitoring devices or aircraft testing.
“There are still those observations that defy explanation,” Elizondo added. “Observations by highly trained individuals such as fighter or airline pilots who would recognize aircraft shapes and aircraft movements.”
Elizondo explained that he is determined to keep the inventions going. He said that he joined the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, founded by former Blink-182 gutarist Tom DeLonge. The group is dedicated to informing the public about UFOs.
"We look forward to working closely with the U.S. government to produce the best possible results for America and the world," Elizondo said.