This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Newly leaked documents show that the Department of Defense funded a study concerning UFOs, contradicting recent statements by the Pentagon.
In 2017, The New York Times revealed the existence of $22 million dollar UFO investigation program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP. A twist came two months ago, however, when Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough told John Greenewald—curator of the Black Vault, the largest civilian archive of declassified government documents—that AATIP had nothing to do with UFOs. Greenewald also wrote that the Pentagon told him that another program, the Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Application Program or AAWSAP, was the name of the contract that the government gave out to produce reports under AATIP.
In a new Popular Mechanics article, journalist Tim McMillan acquired documents from Bigelow Aerospace’s exotic science division, Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, or BAASS, indicating that the organization did explore strange phenomena under the auspices of the AATIP program.
One BAASS report, leaked to McMillan by an unnamed source, previously appeared on a list of products produced under the AATIP contract "for DIA to publish" that was obtained via FOIA laws. The report was cited incorrectly on that list, but Popular Mechanics tracked down its author, who confirmed its authenticity. The report investigated "exotic" propulsion via injuries sustained by people who experienced "exposure to anomalous vehicles." The text mentions UFOs several times.
"What can not be overly emphasized, is that when one looks at the literature of anomalous cases, including UFO claims from the most reliable sources, the extent and degree of acute high but not necessarily chronic low-level injuries are consistent across patients who are injured, compared to witnesses in the far-field, who are not," the report states.
Notably, the report's author—Christopher “Kit” Green—told Popular Mechanics that he was not contracted by BAASS except to produce this report and that it provides zero evidence for extraterrestrial or non-human technologies.
Another BAASS report from 2009 and published by Popular Mechanics that doesn't mention DIA by name, only a "sponsor," is even more explosive. It shows that, around the time that BAASS would have been producing reports under AATIP, it explored a vast assortment of strange phenomena including “physical effects” of unknown aerial phenomena, or UAP; the “biological effects” of UAP encounters on biological organisms; a request for documents from the Air Force’s UFO investigation program, Project Blue Book; the mention of several UAP incidents, including violations of restricted airspace near a nuclear weapons facility; and that Utah’s infamous Skinwalker Ranch is a “possible laboratory for studying other intelligences and possible interdimensional phenomena.”
Last month, Motherboard was granted exclusive access to Skinwalker Ranch. Currently, the ranch is owned by an anonymous individual engaged in private scientific research. “Skinwalker Ranch continues to be one of the best locations to study and record UAP activity,” the owner told Motherboard in an interview. “Where else in the world do you have constant monitoring with instrumentation recording across a broad spectrum?”
A curious side note in this story is the role of Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon staffer who claims to have run the AATIP program. In statements earlier this year, the Pentagon told Motherboard that Luis Elizondo was in no way involved in AATIP. McMillan received documentation from an unnamed source that allegedly supports Elizondo's claims, but did not publish them in full, only a snippet of a memo that alludes to responsibilities under AATIP but does not mention Elizondo by name.
In a statement to Motherboard, Elizondo claimed that while the AAWSAP and AATIP programs are no longer active, the Pentagon is still engaged in investigating sightings of and encounters with unknown aerial phenomena under a different program portfolio. He also said he believes the largely unpublished documentation is "vindication," adding, "the truth always prevails."
Motherboard reached out to the Pentagon for an official statement on the leaked documents and Elizondo's alleged role in the program. Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough told Motherboard that the Pentagon will release a new public statement in the following weeks concerning the AAWSAP/AATIP programs.