MYSTERY WIRE — Government secrets. That’s why the New York Times took an interest in the story. And the story revealed millions of dollars spent on the study of UFOs — a topic that your average taxpayer thinks is frivolous from the start.

George Knapp was working the story from another angle. He had been paying attention to UFO stories since his career began at CBS affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. Other media would rarely even sniff at these stories.

Two journalistic worlds collided with these secret organizations at their center:

AAWSAP, BAASS and AATIP: The dossier

  • AAWSAP — Advanced Aerospace Weapons Special Application Program
  • BAASS — Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies
  • AATIP — Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program

See Knapp’s description of the agencies as he described their history in this 2019 presentation at the Laughlin UFO Megacon:

Congressional leaders — former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii — secretly funded AAWSAP in 2007. BAASS won a $10 million contract that year to spearhead some of the work.

In 2018, a list of the funded projects was released publicly.

READ: List of scientific studies for Pentagon made public for the first time

The work continued, and AAWSAP was renamed AATIP sometime in 2011, according to former Department of Defense official Luis Elizondo, who took over leadership of AATIP in 2012. By then, the program had narrowed its focus to study threats to the US military.

The funding disappeared in 2013, but AATIP continued to operate under the Defense Intelligence Agency — and is probably still operating, according to Elizondo.

The story started to go public in 2017 as Elizondo hit wall after wall in his efforts to bring more attention to what he viewed as a serious threat to US military forces. As AATIP’s leader, Elizondo had seen technology that the military didn’t have — and no one could explain where it came from.


In addition to Knapp’s account of the important events related to AAWSAP, BAASS and AATIP, don’t miss these videos:

Links to stories

Elizondo believed the best way to work on the technology problem was from outside government.

And so he joined a new venture: To The Stars Academy.

Tom DeLonge, who rose to fame in punk rock’s Blink-182, launched To The Stars with Elizondo on board, along with lead scientist Hal Puthoff, who had been involved with unusual government projects for years while working with GE, NSA, Stanford University, Sperry & SRI International. More big names include former CIA Operations Officer Jim Semivan, former Lockheed Martin Skunk Works exec Steve Justice and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Chris Mellon.

Knapp covered the To The Stars Academy on Oct. 11, 2017, where Mellon described the Tic Tac incident in great detail.

Two months later, the New York Times published the Tic Tac video online with their blockbuster story that changed the nature of how US media approaches the UFO topic.

DeLonge’s interest in UFOs and his persistence brought him face to face with top US officials who changed his world with one simple bit of information: “We found a life form.

If the study of UFOs has its roots in government, it may have its brightest future in the science and ideas that exist outside the Pentagon and federal bureaucracies that sometimes limit possibilities.