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Someone notify Tom DeLonge: The New York Times has a new report today on a semi-secret UFO project that’s been underway at the Pentagon for most of the last decade, researching possible extraterrestrial threats to the planet Earth. Named the “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program,” the $22-million-a-year investigation was apparently the brainchild of former Nevada senator Harry Reid, who got together with an aerospace tech buddy in 2007 and decided that someone really oughtta do something about all these UFO reports that had apparently been going around. Thus motivated, Reid got together with a few other senators and earmarked some unlabeled Department Of Defense “black money” to quietly start an investigation into the topic. (And who says you can’t get anything meaningful done in government anymore?)

According to official Pentagon sources, the semi-classified program only ran for five years, and was formally defunded in 2012. Others, though—including its former head, a guy named Luis Elizondo, who quit his post over what he saw as unnecessary secrecy in this vital matter of national defense—claim that it’s still in effect, and that various Pentagon employees are still working on it, off the books. The program’s goal was apparently to sift through the various reports of unidentified objects that are glimpsed with some regularity by military personnel, in an attempt to overcome the United States’ potentially disastrous gap in UFO research, which its backers see as an outgrowth of a dangerously juvenile taboo about alien research fostered by snide, condescending media pieces like the one you’re currently reading right now.

And, actually, you can strike that part about needing to notify former Blink-182 frontman (and award-winning UFO researcher) Tom DeLonge about the program and its planet-saving intent; he presumably already knows, since Elizondo is now one of the members of his DOD-vet-filled To The Stars Academy, which is currently raising money for its own attempt at a revolutionary new spacecraft that we’ll feel very bad for making fun of when it inevitably saves the planet from total alien extinction.