A former U.S. Pentagon official has stated that the secretive Department of Defense (DoD) program had found compelling evidence that extraterrestrials had visited Earth. While portions of the now-defunct program remain classified, the DoD released Navy footage of an unidentified flying object (UFO) flying over California (video below).
On Dec. 16, it was disclosed that the DoD had funded a program dubbed the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) to monitor UFOs between 2007 and 2012. It is also reported that $22 million of the department's budget had been allocated to the project, secured by the backing of the retired Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, The New York Times reports.
On Dec. 19, the program's former director, Luis Elizondo, asserted during an interview that the project had unearthed evidence of alien life.
"My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone," Elizondo told CNN.
The former Pentagon official said that the program had identified UFOs that could not be explained.
"These aircraft -- we'll call them aircraft -- are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the U.S. inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of. ... We found a lot," Elizondo continued.
Elizondo added that the UFOs his program identified did not "have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and [were] maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological."
The DoD released a video logged by AATIP of a UFO flying above the San Diego coast in California. Retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor, who recorded the flying object, said that he was convinced it did not come from Earth.
"We look down, we see a white disturbance in the water, like something's under the surface, and the waves are breaking over, but we see next to it, and it's flying around, and it's this little white Tic Tac, and it's moving around -- left, right, forward, back, just random," Fravor told ABC News.
Fravor added: "After 18 years of flying, I've seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close."
Elizondo said that he resigned from the DoD in protest against the department's decision to defund AATIP and intense secrecy around the project. Critics contend that the UFOs were not indicators of alien life or a waste of taxpayer money.
"There are plenty of prosaic events and human perceptual traits that can account for these stories," said former NASA space shuttle engineer James E. Oberg. "Lots of people are active in the air and don’t want others to know about it."
Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common sense blasted the DoD for pouring millions of dollars into the UFO project, asserting "that is not the priority we have as a national security matter right now."
Pentagon spokesperson Dana White issued a statement in response to reports of AATIP's existence.
"The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 time frame," White said, according to Politico. “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change."