Tech & Science

U.S. in UFO Race with China, Russia, Former Senate Majority Leader Suggests

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Senator Harry Reid argued for continued study into UFO phenomena in an interview with CBS affiliate KLAS 8 in Las Vegas, citing competition from Russia and China—a UFO race, of sorts.

“I’ll bet you anything that China is spending some money checking this out. I’ll bet you anything KGB Putin is spending some money checking this out,” Reid told George Knapp of Las Vegas Now’s I-Team.

“Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped major hints that he knows potential adversaries, Russia and China, have carried out their own military studies to figure out how UFOs work and how to build their own,” Knapp said during the broadcast, citing anonymous Pentagon sources to claim dozens of UFOs have been encountered off the coast of Florida and Virginia in the last three years.

Reid said he understands why officials within the Pentagon and other possible research avenues within the U.S. government might be skeptical about dedicating resources to studying Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAP), but he also seemed to unwittingly undercut his own position by alluding to a rash of recent UFO sightings prompted by scheduled SpaceX launches.

“This has been going on for a long time. These sightings are said to have been set off by a rocket in California or something. People do not want—people in responsibility, whether it’s the Pentagon or whatever it might be—they don’t want to have to try to explain something that’s, many times, not explainable,” Reid said.

The interview with Reid also delved into classified UFO studies conducted by the Pentagon and revealed by The New York Times in 2017, including the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application Program (AAWSAP), which catalogued sightings by military personnel, such as the “Tic Tac” UFO captured on camera by F/A-18F fighter jets off the coast of California in 2004.

Through AAWSAP, the Defense Intelligence Agency awarded a $10 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), owned by hotel billionaire Robert Bigelow, a close friend of Reid’s who has a long history of investigating the UFO phenomena.

Reid confirmed the resulting study included investigations of a mysterious ranch in northeastern Utah once owned by Bigelow (ownership has since transferred to Adamantium Real Estate and an anonymous owner). Known in UFO circles as “Skinwalker Ranch,” the site has been a hotbed of reported paranormal phenomena, including claims of cattle mutilations, UFO sightings, and even mysterious animals with piercing yellow eyes that were impervious to bullets.

The program also delved into research related to the UFO phenomena, including 38 scientific papers for the Defense Intelligence Agency with outlandish headlines like “Warp Drive, Dark Energy, and the Manipulation of Extra Dimensions” and “Traversable Wormholes, Stargates, and Negative Energy.”

The papers were produced by BAASS scientists affiliated with EarthTech International, a research group founded by Dr. Hal Puthoff, a physicist with a long history of promoting pseudoscience, including endorsing psychic fraud Uri Geller and writing in defense of Scientology, which he described as “a highly sophisticated and highly technological system” in a letter from the 1970s.

Accordingly, the AAWSAP research so far made public has not found a positive reception. “It’s bits and pieces of theoretical physics dressed up as if it has something to do with potentially real-world applications, which it doesn’t.” Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at Caltech, told Business Insider in 2018. "This is not crackpot. This is not the Maharishi saying we're going to use spirit energy to fly off the ground—this is real physics. But this is not something that's going to connect with engineering anytime soon, probably anytime ever."

Beyond AAWSAP, and its successor within the Pentagon, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, Reid said he believes further study is warranted and would like to see UFO research coordinated across multiple, existing classified projects. Reid believes the government currently possesses “different pieces of evidence” beyond the scope of studies he had worked to fund.

“I’ve just heard rumors,” Reid said.

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