Luis Elizondo, the intelligence officer who formally headed the Pentagon's Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, shared his belief that UFOs have visited our planet.
Speaking to CNN on Monday, Elizondo said, "I can't speak on behalf of the government, obviously I'm not in the U.S. government anymore. My personal belief is that there's very compelling evidence that we may not be alone, whatever that means."
The Pentagon's Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was started in 2007, and was pushed forward by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who shepherded the program after receiving campaign contributions from Robert Bigelow, a billionaire and head of Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow is a firm believer in UFOs and some of the $22 million spent on the program went into Bigelow Aerospace's research projects.
Much of Luis Elizondo's evidence comes from cockpit footage from a military pilot, who encountered unidentified flying objects over the course of their work. In particular, Cmdr. David Fravor told CNN that he had seen a UFO that looked like a "40-foot-long Tic Tac" in 2004.
Such an expensive program came under fire from both inside the Pentagon and from taxpayer advocacy groups. Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense said on Monday that, "It's definitely crazy to spend $22 million to research UFOs. Pilots are always going to see things that they can't identify, and we should probably look into them. But to identify them as UFOs, to target UFOs to research -- that is not the priority we have as a national security matter right now."
Since leaving the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo has become a partner in To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, an organization created by former Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge, which works to “revolutionize human space travel, combat climate change, improve national security, enhance genetics, harness telepathy and more.”