The U.S. Department of Defense has acknowledged that it is still investigating reports of unidentified aerial phenomena,” also identified as UFOs.

It doesn’t imply the Pentagon acknowledged the presence of extraterrestrials, but a spokesman told the New York Post that a secret government program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program “did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena.”

The Department of Defense said the program had been shut down in 2012. Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood, however, said the agency was investigating spacecraft claims.

“The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland,” Sherwood said in the Post’s report, published on May 22.

He added: “The department will continue to investigate, through normal procedures, reports of unidentified aircraft encountered by US military aviators in order to ensure defense of the homeland and protection against strategic surprise by our nation’s adversaries.”

The Post also interviewed Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for the British government, said the comments are a “bombshell revelation.”

“Previous official statements were ambiguous and left the door open to the possibility that AATIP was simply concerned with next-generation aviation threats from aircraft, missiles and drones — as skeptics claimed,” he told the paper. “This new admission makes it clear that they really did study what the public would call ‘UFOs,’ ” he said.

John Greenewald Jr. — whose website The Black Vault archives declassified government documents on UFO reports, “Bigfoot” sightings and other subjects — also called the Pentagon’s use of the term “unidentified aerial phenomena” unprecedented in its frankness.

“I’m shocked they said it that way, and the reason is, is they’ve seemingly worked very hard not to say that,” he said.

“So I think that’s a pretty powerful statement because now we have actual evidence — official evidence — that said, ‘Yes, AATIP did deal with UAP cases, phenomena, videos, photos, whatever.’”

In December 2017, the Pentagon admitted that it funded a program to collect information on unexplained aerial phenomenon, referring to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, reported The New York Times at the time.

Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at M.I.T., said that the unidentified object doesn’t mean it’s from a different planet or galaxy

“When people claim to observe truly unusual phenomena, sometimes it’s worth investigating seriously,” she told the Times, adding that “what people sometimes don’t get about science is that we often have phenomena that remain unexplained.”

Robert Bigelow, who runs Bigelow Aerospace and works with NASA, told CBS News following the admission in 2017: “There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence. And I spent millions and millions and millions — I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”

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