I-Team Exclusive: Sen. Reid discusses UFO study

LAS VEGAS - The existence of the UFO study was first reported by the I-Team back in October. That's when a high-ranking intelligence officer in charge of the program quit to take a job with a private company.

Over the weekend, news of Harry Reid's role in the study surfaced in news reports. The senator gave his only on camera interview to the I-Team's George Knapp.

Harry Reid's interest in UFOs dates back to 1989 because that is when George Knapp first had conversations with him on the topic.

In the years since, Reid quietly collected more information, met with scientists, intelligence officials, and other experts, and finally authorized a study that was carried out by a company created by a Las Vegas billionaire.

Since the story broke on Saturday, Reid has been bombarded with media requests, but he gave his only on camera interview to the I-Team.

The release this weekend of videos recorded by military pilots is unusual because, officially, the U.S. government stopped collecting information about UFOs back in 1969, when the Air Force canceled Project Blue Book. But in the decades since, pilots and others continued to encounter technology that is beyond anything known on earth.

Video footage of unidentified aerial phenomenon

"If China, Russia, Japan, other countries are doing this and we're not, then something is wrong because if the technology, as described and the way people see this movement took place in anything we have available to us, it would kill everybody. They couldn't withstand the G-forces. something sitting there, whom, down it goes," says former U.S. Senator Harry Reid.

His interest in UFOs extends back to the 1980s. It was rekindled in the 90s when Reid spoke to senator and former astronaut John Glenn about unknown aerial objects. Reid eventually met in a secure room in the U.S. capitol to ask Senators Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens if they would authorize funds for a quiet but serious study of UFOs. Both agreed.

I-Team Reporter George Knapp: "Are you glad the story is out?"

Harry Reid: "I'm very glad, because now we have scientific evidence."

Reid says he is proud to have had a hand in kickstarting the Pentagon study, and contrary to some media reports, the information collected was impressive.

"For nearly the next decade, I ran sensitive aerospace identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies, it was in this position that I learned the phenomena is indeed real," says Luis Elizondo, To The Stars Academy.

Until three months ago, Elizondo worked directly for the secretary of defense and was the Pentagon's point man for collection of data about mysterious encounters. When he announced in October that he'd been in charge of a 10-year UFO study, the news was largely ignored by mainstream media. Now, it has blossomed into a huge story, in part because Reid acknowledges his own role in getting the funds approved.

"Even though this was a secure program,we wanted to make sure people couldn't complain about it that it was some sweetheart deal. No, it was put out to bid," Reid says.

The contract was posted for months. The winning bid came from Las Vegas space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, a billionaire who had funded his own UFO studies for years. Bigelow built secure facilities inside his aerospace company.

At its peak, the study had 46 scientists working at the Nevada facility, writing reports and analyzing data that came in from the military. Rapid response teams were dispatched to the scene of UFO events. Over five years, the project cost a total of 22 million. it wasn't a money maker for Bigelow.

"I'm sure the reason it helped is that he gave the best cost. He was willing to build the infrastructure and build everything on his own because he liked the topic," Reid says.

In some news stories about the UFO study, anonymous staffers say Reid stopped supporting the study because it produced no solid information.

So, why did the study end? Reid and others involved in the project say one factor is that intelligence officials were petrified that someone would find out about it and it would end up on the front page of a newspaper.

And there were other officials who had religious objections.

The I-Team will have more exclusive content Wednesday, including specifics on what was learned during the study, and which UFO incidents were the most unusual. 


 


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