- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday she has not discussed UFOs with President Donald Trump.
- A reporter asked her whether Trump believes in UFOs and whether he intends to restore funding to a Pentagon program that investigated them.
- The question came after The New York Times reported last weekend on the existence of the program, which cost the Pentagon $22 million between 2008 and 2011.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday she has not discussed UFOs with President Donald Trump, whether he believes in them, or if he intends to restore funding to a Pentagon program that investigated them.
“Somehow that question hasn’t come up in our back-and-forth over the last couple days,” Sanders said Tuesday. “But I will check into that and be happy to circle back.”
Sanders was answering a question from a reporter about a New York Times article published last weekend, which reported that the Pentagon spent $22 million between 2008 and 2011 on a secretive program to research unidentified flying objects and the potential threats they posed.
The Defense Department launched the mysterious Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in 2007 and funded it at the request of then-Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who was the chamber’s majority leader from 2007 to 2015.
According to The Times, much of the funding was allotted to an aerospace research company run by Reid’s friend Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur who has said he’s “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and UFOs have visited Earth.
Bigelow’s company even reportedly modified buildings in Las Vegas to store metal alloys that program contractors said were recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. The program’s researchers also spoke to military service members who said they saw bizarre aircraft.
Saturday’s New York Times report marked the first time the Pentagon publicly acknowledged the program’s existence.
Officials said the program ended in 2012, but the program’s investigators told The Times they continued to investigate episodes – without funding, and while they continued to perform their other Defense Department responsibilities.