New videos shed light on Pentagon's secretive UFO program

Newly-released video captured by U.S. Navy pilots offers an inside look at a secretive government program that investigated unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

Posted: Dec 18, 2017 10:43 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2017 11:11 PM

CBS NEWS - Newly-released video captured by U.S. Navy pilots offers an inside look at a secretive government program that investigated unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

The Defense Department says it ended the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program in 2012 over funding issues. But a Pentagon spokeswoman said: "The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed."

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO FROM CBS NEWS


The little-known Pentagon program had a budget of about $22 million, according to the civilian intelligence officer who used to run it. Most of the sightings it looked at were by U.S. military personnel, who have been reporting UFO sightings for decades, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil.

This is one of the incidents the Pentagon's secretive group of UFO hunters investigated.

An object appeared off the California coast in 2004 and baffled two Navy pilots.

"It's not a drone. It's not something that we can easily say, 'Oh, that's an airplane,'" said Luis Elizondo, who ran the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. He believes the way the school-bus sized object moved defied the known laws of physics.

"What we are looking at is truly beyond next generation technologies," Elizondo said.

Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid championed the UFO program and some of the funding reportedly went to one of his donors, Robert Bigelow, founder of the military contractor Bigelow Aerospace.

The Las Vegas tycoon spoke with "60 Minutes" in May.

"Do you imagine that in our space travels we will encounter other forms of intelligent life?" "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan asked.

"You don't have to go anywhere," Bigelow said.

"You can find it here?" Logan asked.

"Yeah," Bigelow said, chuckling.

"Where exactly?"

"It's just like right under people's noses. 'Oh my gosh. Wow,'" Bigelow said.

Unlike in the movies, most UFOs don't turn out to be alien spacecraft. One green fireball above Buenos Aires in 2015 was likely a meteor, while another strange light over Los Angeles was actually a missile test.

"I think this is a national security imperative," Elizondo said. "We have clear things that we do not understand how they work, operating in areas that we can't control."

Elizondo refused to tell us how many cases his former group investigated, saying that information was sensitive. From 1947 to 1969, an Air Force program called Project Blue Book looked into more than 12,000 UFO sightings, and about 700 remain "unidentified."

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terre Haute
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Casey
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Brazil
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Afternoon showers possible.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 196699

Reported Deaths: 7846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1119484928
Lake12741446
DuPage12312520
Kane9803305
Will9315344
St. Clair4028161
Winnebago3784131
McHenry3218114
Madison263476
Kankakee178768
Rock Island175636
Champaign168619
Peoria163035
Kendall137923
Unassigned1358209
Sangamon127433
DeKalb93830
LaSalle78324
Boone76623
Jackson72219
McLean65515
Macon64123
Tazewell5918
Adams5425
Coles48720
Randolph4707
Clinton41117
Ogle4115
Williamson4096
Whiteside35917
Stephenson3306
Grundy3265
Union32423
Monroe31813
Knox3031
Jefferson29019
Morgan2686
Iroquois26511
Henry2481
Vermilion2362
Cass23111
Bureau2153
Franklin1910
Warren1910
Perry1841
Macoupin1813
Lee1731
Montgomery1697
Effingham1621
Marion1610
Woodford1523
McDonough14615
Christian1434
Saline1322
Jo Daviess1271
Douglas1222
Logan1220
Livingston1162
Jersey1152
Pulaski941
Clark832
Shelby801
Mercer764
Moultrie740
Johnson690
White690
Fayette673
Washington670
Piatt630
Bond623
Hancock621
Wayne621
Carroll594
Jasper597
Greene580
Cumberland573
Menard560
Mason530
Gallatin512
Lawrence500
Ford492
Massac400
Alexander370
Wabash350
Fulton340
De Witt330
Crawford290
Edgar290
Hamilton290
Marshall270
Clay230
Pike230
Scott210
Richland200
Edwards180
Hardin180
Schuyler180
Brown140
Henderson130
Putnam130
Calhoun100
Pope90
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206