WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. government until 2012 ran a program for investigating reports of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, the Department of Defense confirmed to ABC News.
As first reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post, the once-secret program was funded from 2007 to 2012. According to The New York Times, DOD spent $22 million on the program.
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"The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe," the Pentagon told ABC News in a statement. "It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the Department of Defense to make a change. The Defense Department; takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed."
According to initial reports, the program investigated years of reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and the program was funded at the request of former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who has expressed interest in investigating unexplained phenomena in outer space.
Reid took to Twitter after The New York Times report was released, saying, "This is about science and national security. If America doesn't take the lead in answering questions, others will."
Once-secret, now-closed UFO program confirmed by Pentagon