Earlier this week, it was revealed that a secret Pentagon program, entitled the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, has been conducting investigations into reports of Unidentified Flying Objects submitted primarily by military personnel for years. Now, Luis Elizondo, the former head of the program who resigned “in protest” earlier this year, is shedding some light on his findings, and the conclusions that may be drawn from them.
“My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” Elizondo said. As the head of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, he was in the unique position of being able to investigate reports that the public is not privy too, such as recently declassified footage of two F/A-18 Super Hornets attempting to intercept a strange craft off the coast of San Diego in 2004.
“These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of.” Elizondo elaborated. “Things that don’t have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological.”
These claims, while seemingly fantastic, appear to be supported by the account of Navy Commander David Fravor that accompanied the recently released footage.
“I have no idea what I saw,” Commander Fravor said in an interview conducted by the New York Times. “It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s.”
Elizondo resigned from his position as the head of the Pentagon’s real life equivalent to the Fox TV series, “the X-Files,” in October, citing the high levels of secrecy and internal opposition his program faced within the Defense Department as a growing obstacle he felt hindered the work they were doing. In a letter he wrote to Defense Secretary James Mattis upon his resignation, Elizondo made it clear that, based on the evidence he and his team had gathered, he felt more resources should be allocated to the effort, and more disclosure should be offered to the public.
“Despite overwhelming evidence at both the classified and unclassified levels, certain individuals in the [Defense] Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security,” Elizondo wrote.
Overall funding for Elizondo’s Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program topped out at around $22 million, though direct funding fizzled out in 2012. Since then, the program has continued through the Department of the Navy and the Defense Intelligence Agency. According to Elizondo, his departure did not end the effort, though he declined to identify his successor by name.
Despite heading the program for years, Elizondo doesn’t claim to have conclusive evidence of flying saucers (whether hailing from another nation or another world), but he does make it clear that he believes there is mounting evidence to suggest that the phenomena is real, and requires further study.
“I was honored to serve at the DOD and took my mission of exploring unexplained aerial phenomena quite seriously,” Elizondo said. “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.”
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