By Joe Murgia – @ufojoe11 on Twitter
Former Senator Harry Reid was the guest on the Cyber Motherboard podcast recently and interviewed by Jason Koebler. Reid, along with Senators Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens, helped create the AAWSAP (Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Application Program) for the DIA, which focused on UFOs and related paranormal phenomena.It eventually morphed into the AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program), which investigated military encounters with UFOs.
Reid began by recounting the first call he received about the program from Helene Cooper (I believe this is the first time he’s mentioned Cooper as the person who called him ~Joe) from the New York Times. As he’s said in the past, he was willing to talk about the science and information behind the program but not about little green men. He lamented the fact that “we’re not spending more money now, trying to figure out what’s going on and what this is all about. We don’t have enough scientific information to say we know everything about it.”
From the outset, was the program supposed to be focused on UFOs, or advanced propulsion? Reid thinks they’re interchangeable and spoke about the origins of the AAWSAP. A friend of his (Robert Bigelow ~Joe) received a letter from a rocket scientist (James Lacatski,~Joe) who worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and asked Reid to read it. Reid did and invited Lacatski to come talk with him at his office in Las Vegas but the man from the DIA preferred to go to Reid’s home. Reid has mentioned Lacatski before but usually just says a rocket scientist from the DIA. This time, he mentioned that you can find his name if you want but that he had promised to never say it publicly.
(Side Note: Lacastki’s career was ruined “because of misplaced fear by an elite few” in the Pentagon who thought UFOs were a threat to their belief system and felt they were demonic. Read about it here.)
At Reid’s home, Lacatski got right to the point. “I’m an expert in rockets. I know where they came from. I know their current status. I know where they’re gonna go in the foreseeable future. But there are some things I don’t understand. And that’s Unidentified Flying Objects or aerial phenomena. I think we should do something about that,” he explained. After almost two decades of discussions on UFOs with investigative reporter, George Knapp, Reid was convinced Lacatski was right, so he decided to push for the program.
At the time, Reid was the Senator majority leader. He called Senators Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Ted Stevens of Alaska into a classified briefing room and made his pitch. Since both of these men controlled a lot of spending in the defense budget, including secret or so-called, “black” money, Reid realized he’d need their help. So he described what this UFO/paranormal program would entail and told them it was time we had a fresh look at it. Stevens had been interested in UFOs since World War II when, one day, he was flying and a UFO appeared off his left side. He would go up, down and every way, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t shake it. Running low on fuel, he had to land. Once on the ground, he immediately went to air traffic control and asked them what had been up in the air with him. The response was, “We don’t know what you’re talking about.” It didn’t take much for Reid to convince him. Stevens was in.
With the $22 million secured, a bid was put out that was open to anybody and Bigelow Aerospace was the winner. Reid doesn’t know of any others who bid on the project. He’s sure someone else did but he doesn’t know because he never went back and checked. Reid is asked by Koebler…while the AAWSAP/AATIP program was active, did you “push for more public disclosure about the specifics of the program and what it was looking into?” Reid said, “the answer is no.”
In the past, the Pentagon has stated that AAWSAP/AATIP were not UFO programs and Luis Elizondo didn’t run it. Reid said, “There’s been controversy as to whether Luis ran it or not. I don’t know who ran it. I don’t think it matters. We know we had the program and we have information received as a result of it. Money that was spent by the federal government. So, I think as to…trying to belittle Elizondo, I don’t see what that accomplishes.”
As far as whether or not AATIP or a similar program still exist? Reid said he doesn’t know what the Pentagon is doing. But if they’re not doing something about this mystery, “it’s too bad for our country.” He guarantees China and Russia have programs that are looking at UFOs. “If we’re not looking at it, it’s too bad for the American people because that is malpractice.”
Reid doesn’t know what UFOs are and his speculation is as good as the next guy’s. He’s glad we have the ability to take pictures (I think he means video ~Joe) that we couldn’t do ten years ago. Cameras have advanced so much and are so precise. It’s a wonderful thing.
He was told by some of his staff to stay away from UFOs because it was bad for him politically. But he’s never looked back. It was something he was interested in and something he thought the government should be involved in. If the Pentagon and other government officials don’t continue to work on this, it’s really an unfortunate thing for our country.
He’s followed the work at Skinwalker Ranch very closely but never visited what some have dubbed the paranormal Disneyland. But has talked to people who worked there. It was very difficult for him to go there because he was a government employee and member of the Senate. He could have paid his own way up but didn’t think it was appropriate for the government to take him. So he talked to people who worked there, listened to others and learned about it that way. (If Reid were to say he didn’t want to visit the ranch because he didn’t want to bring hitchhiker and poltergeist activity back with him, I think we’d all understand! ~Joe).
James Lacatski, who Reid is still in touch with, has been to Skinwalker Ranch several times. They’re still friends and they still speak. Lots of interesting reports about people who have gone to the ranch, including a couple of retired Navy Seals. (Reid’s audio cut out and came back with him saying, “There was too much weird stuff gong on up there.” It’s possible he said they refused to go back to the ranch because there was too much weird stuff going on there. We’ve heard about that from George Knapp and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell. ~Joe).
He thinks he’s met Tom DeLonge but doesn’t know for sure. He’s met Elizondo several times and DeLonge and Elizondo have been together, so the best answer he can give is…probably. Reid thinks DeLonge and his company, “To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science” have tried to mainstream some of this UFO information and DeLonge’s notoriety as a rock star is good for the project because it’s a different take than what you would get from a scientist or someone who works for the government.
Does Senator Reid Believe in Aliens?
Reid’s thoughts: The world is extremely large and so big that he can’t even comprehend it. You’d have to be short-sighted to think we’re the only species in the entire Universe, or universes, if there’s more than one.
(Going to transcribe this question and answer because there are multiple angles here and I want make sure I get it right.)
Cyber Motherboard: When we talk about government research programs and advanced, aerial threats, do you hold the possiblity that some of the things that have been found could be extraterrestrial in nature? Or, do you think these research programs are specifically focused on studying unidentified threats regardless of where they come from and that’s a completely separate discipline from looking for extraterrestrial life?
Senator Harry Reid: “I don’t think you can separate them. I think it’s all one big basket of stuff. We’ve learned that these sightings of aerial phenomena have not been seen by a couple of dozen people, not a couple of hundred people. Thousands of people! Thousands of people. We know that unusual things have happened over the decades, bases in the Dakotas…missile launching facilities we have there have been shut down because of something over them. Basically shutting off the power to them.
“We’ve all read now about the accounts off the coast of San Diego where ships found these unusual things in the water and it shut down the communications on the ships. (Not sure what he’s referring to here. Tic Tac UFO case was off the coast of San Diego but communications were not shut down, as far as I know. ~Joe) So, I think that we need to fully understand this and have no boundaries on where we look for it.
“And I repeat now, for at least the second of third time, that people should not be afraid. I think too many of my legislative friends are afraid to go into the various (unintelligible) because someone will think they’re some kind of a nutcase. But I went into it and I don’t think it hurt me politically.”
Koebler credits Reid for doing more than any other lawmaker to get these types of phenomena researched and funded. Reid agrees and says the sad part about it is nobody else has done anything, so him doing more than anybody else is no big deal. Nobody in Congress is doing anything on this and that’s too bad. There’s been a few briefings but what is needed is for money to be spent and programs to give the Pentagon or NSA the ability to go in and take a look at some of this stuff. (We’ve heard from the former head of AATIP, Luis Elizondo, and mentioned by George Knapp, that additional funding has been provided for this effort. Not sure if Reid is aware of that. ~Joe)
He doesn’t know what civilian organization could do this kind of research and he thinks the Pentagon is the easiest place to go.
For the first time in a long time, the United States is going to have our own rockets going into space. For the past ten or so years they’ve been launched from Russia. He thinks it’s good that we’re involved in it but not nearly enough. He doesn’t know if the Pentagon is the best place to go but something had to be done.
The $22 million spent on AAWSAP/AATIP wasn’t enough. So much so that he considers it negligence. Other countries are doing it, we should be, too. Lacatski knew everything about rockets but didn’t understand all of these unexplained aerial phenomena and that is what we should be focused on. Reid thinks legislators are afraid to get involved with this for fear they’ll be accused of wasting taxpayer’s dollars and told they should be spending it on more important things like building more airplanes.
End of Interview.