Sen. Reid discusses role in mysterious UFO study

KLAS - LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The existence of a UFO study came to light back in October 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 former Senator Harry Reid's role in the study surfaced in news reports. Reid's interest in UFOs dates back to 1989 because that is when an investigator at our sister station first had conversations with him on the topic.

In the years since, Reid quietly collected more information and met with scientists, intelligence officials and other experts before he 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 our sister station KLAS in Las Vegas.

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.

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

His interest in UFOs extends back to the 1980s but 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.

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

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

Up until three months ago, Elizondo worked directly for the secretary of defense and was the Pentagon's point man for the 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.

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 said.

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 the five years, the project cost a total of $22 million. it wasn't a money maker for Bigelow.

"I'm sure one 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 said.

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. Other officials had religious objections.

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