Permanent UFO program is needed according to former Senator Harry Reid

UFO

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looks to the future of the government's role in researching UFOs and reacts to the latest photo and video leaks from the U.S. Navy

MYSTERY WIRE — Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pleased but not surprised by a wave of media coverage devoted to UFOs.

Images of exotic, unknown craft in the proximity of U.S. military facilities have been plastered on headlines and national newscasts in recent weeks.

Back in 2007, then Senator Harry Reid and two senate colleagues quietly initiated a secretive study of UFOs and related mysteries, they had no idea where it might lead.

US Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to the press 18 April 2007 following a meeting with US President George W. Bush at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) hosted the program which was then called the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program, better known as AAWSAP. The contract for this was awarded to Nevada aerospace tycoon Robert Bigelow.

But Pentagon opponents to the program pulled the money after a few years, and a much smaller effort called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, continued some of the work.

Now, an even smaller unit, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAP Task Force, is preparing a report to Congress on what our government knows about UFOs. The report is due in June, but not everyone is hopeful it will come in on time.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio has said repeatedly he will not be surprised if the report doesn’t make the deadline.

The Task Force’s investigation has exploded in a wave of major media news coverage in the last month.

“The federal government spends trillions of dollars every year,” Senator Reid told Mystery Wire in a new interview last week. “And I believe that there should be an ongoing entity within the Pentagon that would be the best place for it, whose sole job is to stay on top of the issue of UFOs.”

Sen. Reid spent years working in the Senate with then Senator Joe Biden, who is now the President. When asked if he thinks President Biden has, or will receive a classified briefing on the UFO/UAP question, he said it was probably a little early in his presidency.

“I have no problem talking to a Bruschetti or Klain (Biden’s staff) and telling them that he should get a briefing. “I don’t want him to be embarrassed at a press conference or something,” Sen. Reid said. “He should at least have the ability of saying I’ve been briefed on the subject. I have no opinion on whatever he wants to say. But yes, I think that the topic of UFOs is not going away. It’s becoming more pronounced for a lot of different reasons. So he can’t ignore the subject. Even if he wanted to.”

Sen. Reid was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago. When he made it public in 2018 it was widely speculated he would not survive very long. But three years later he told Mystery Wire “I’m doing quite well.” He says he even exercises four or five days a week.


The first time Sen. Reid talked on camera about the DIA UFO study was during an interview with George Knapp in 2017, and again during a couple of interviews in 2019.

Below you can read the transcript of George Knapp’s recent interview with Sen. Harry Reid.


George Knapp
I want to know how you’re feeling How you doing?

Sen. Harry Reid
I’m feeling very well, (I’m) still going undergoing treatment, which I probably will for a long time. But on the day, I go to LA every Wednesday for my treatment from (my doctor). And when he gives me the chemo, it makes me sick for a few days. But they don’t give it to me every week. So Frankly, I’m doing quite well. I’m able to, four or five days a week I exercise quite hard, walk outside. I have to use my cane but I’m still fairly mobile. So I’m doing okay. George, you always remember, I told you this before, you play the card you’re dealt.

George Knapp
I remember there was, in particular at a media person who predicted dire consequences for you. It must be nice to kind of stick them in the eye and still be around.

Sen. Harry Reid
That was several years ago now. He interviewed me. New York Times.

George Knapp
I know during 2020 that a lot of people were coming to see you for political advice. All the presidential candidates made a stop, bent your ear. Do you still have a role like that with the Democratic party? Are you someone whose advice they seek out?

Sen. Harry Reid
Well I have the good fortune of being able to talk to my friends in Washington. I’m in touch with the mind folks, quite often. Steve Bruschetti or Ron Klain. I haven’t talked to the President for, oh it’s probably been at least six weeks, but I stay in touch with him. And you say that they seek my advice? Well, sometimes I give them my advice they’re not seeking.

George Knapp
I was wondering about, Joe Biden has been a friend of yours for a long time. You were majority leader when he was in the Senate. And he sort of took took your guidance. I mean, he followed your lead on a lot of things. I wonder if you’ve thought about whether he is ready to hear about the topic we’re going to discuss today, the one we’ve talked about for so long, or does he have too much else on his plate?

Sen. Harry Reid
You know, Joe Biden is just, really a fine guy, just somebody that you’re comfortable with. He has had some tough times in his life. You know, when he was a boy, he stammered, he couldn’t talk. And as a teenager, he had a lot of people who made fun of him. And he became known as Shoe Leather. He got so many fights that he was tough as shoe leather. So, Joe Biden, in addition to losing his wife and daughter after being elected the Senate had his, his boy had brain cancer and died. So he’s been through a great deal. And he’s a person I admire. And he is doing a good job as President. He’s going big on most everything he does, which we haven’t had that a long time.

George Knapp
Do you anticipate him getting a briefing on the UFO UAP topic at some point, or is it too early in his presidency?

Sen. Harry Reid
I think it’s a little early, but I have no problem talking to a Bruschetti or Klain and telling them that he should get a briefing because I don’t want him to be embarrassed at a press conference or something. And he said, no I don’t know anything about that. He should at least have the ability saying I’ve been briefed on the subject. I have no opinion on whatever he wants to say. But yes, I think that the topic of UFOs is not going away. It’s becoming more pronounced for a lot of different reasons. So he can’t ignore the subject. Even if he wanted to.

George Knapp
You know this wave of media coverage, we’ve been part of it, but there are stories everywhere on the subject matter. On major news organizations who would never give it the time of day for a long time. Do you have pride in how it’s developed because of the key role that you played in this happening?

Sen. Harry Reid
I don’t like to be proud of things, that’s arrogant. But I have no doubt that one of the things that I feel comfortable with, and glad I worked on is this UFO thing. There was something that had been ignored. And my staff told me to stay the hell away from this, it’s not gonna do any good. But it was something that to me that stirred my curiosity. I have so much enjoyed learning more about something that people really care about. And I have to say that as a result of the money that I got, with the help of Senator Stevens, and Inouye, some $22 million of federal money, we were able to prove that not a dozen people had seen these UFOs, not 100, but 1000s. So yes, I feel good that I laid that out so it cannot be ignored anymore.

George Knapp
You know what I worry about? There’s so much news on this. I mean, there was a news conference this week with Lou Elizondo. New York Times, Washington Post NBC News. They’re all there. There are stories everywhere. I worry about UFO overkill, whether it’s too much and people get sick or reading about it. Are you able to keep up with it all?

Sen. Harry Reid
I don’t know if they keep up with it all. But I keep up with it. I think that Lue has done an excellent job. In spite of all the naysayers who say he never worked for the government. And he’s just a total phony, Lue always kept his cool. And I think has added a great deal to the conversation.

George Knapp
I have I learned that you have written sort of an op-ed piece for the New York Times, I don’t know if we can talk about it now or when it’s going to be out. But what did you want to say? What do you want to say in the New York Times?

Sen. Harry Reid
Well, I’ve said it already. They have it. It’s up to them when they’re going to when they’re going to run it. Basically, what I had done is indicated that I’ve been involved in this, I told them how I got involved in it, and that it’s something that can’t be ignored. And I’m happy that we’re making progress. The federal government no longer, including people at the Pentagon, no longer criticize or harass or stop promotions of people who report these occurrences. In fact, they have done just the opposite in recent months, they now tell their pilots, (inaudible), to report these unusual circumstances. And I appreciated the honesty of the Pentagon. Because when asked, what were these things, they say we don’t know. Rather than try to say they were balloons from some kind of a weather experiment. They say we don’t know. And that’s honest. That’s being honest.

George Knapp
After I’ve covered this for 30 years, I am astounded astonished by the change in the attitude of the media and Congress about the legitimacy of this issue. The UAP Task Force was created by Congress last year, they’re due to present a report to Congress by June. Give me your take on that because it seems to me that that is your baby, whether you want to take credit for it or not. It’s a direct outgrowth of your programs.

Sen. Harry Reid
I don’t see how we can lose anything by this report. I hope it’s substantial. Hope they don’t run from the subject. But you know, we have Senator Warner from Virginia, very conservative Democrat, who is speaking out on this. We have Marco Rubio from Florida, who by the way, was raised in Las Vegas was speaking out on this issue. So I think that the conversation is good. And the other thing that I think is important is that we now have better equipment, pilots from the airplanes with their cell phones, taking some dramatic pictures.

George Knapp
The idea that Marco Rubio and Mark Warner on the Intelligence Committee could agree enough to authorize this task force is sort of astonishing in itself and that Republicans and Democrats can agree on anything. Agree?

Sen. Harry Reid
Yeah, Washington is not we, many times we look at Washington, as a tribal society. And so to have Rubio and Warner working together on this is really we work well, I’m proud of both of them.

George Knapp
You know Warner well, I mean, you worked with him for a long time. I don’t know if this is a private matter. But are you able to call him and talk to him about the issue?

Sen. Harry Reid
Yes, I have the opportunity to do that. And I’m there, talk to him not until next week, though.

George Knapp
You know, the idea of a UAP Task Force sounds like an interim project, they ran into some roadblocks from agencies that don’t want to give up the information. You ran into that yourself, when you tried to turn AATIP into a special access program.

Sen. Harry Reid
You would have to be a contortionist to be able to withstand all the different obstacles placed in your path. It’s remarkable that they’re preventing the American public from knowing more.

George Knapp
What do you suppose the reason is? Is it a multitude of reasons why they would still resist copying up, the keepers of the secrets, why they’d still want to keep them secret?

Sen. Harry Reid
I think it’s, you have to understand in government, if it hasn’t been done before, we’re not going to do it. And I think that’s the biggest problem right there. That it’s been a subject that is tabooed, don’t know if that’s the right word. But it’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about. And government does their best to keep the public from being advised as to what’s going on. And I think it’s inproper.

George Knapp
I found a video clip from November 1989, where a brown haired, George Knapp is talking to a young Harry Reid, about UFOs, in a live interview. You were already out way out in front on that. But could you imagine, all these years later, where it would lead and how much change would take place regarding this topic?

Sen. Harry Reid
George, I blame you totally for all the time I’ve had to spend on the subject. But it is because of you that I first was directed to look into this. And I can still remember the meeting, I walked into his big conference room, and there were lots of academics and interesting people and a few odd balls. But it was a stimulating to me. And the subject is still very, very interesting to me. I think that it’s a subject that if a person’s curious, you need to look into it. You know, there are books written now about the subject, I read the one by …

George Knapp
Avi Loeb, the Harvard astronomer?

Sen. Harry Reid
He’s an astrophysicist from Harvard. And essentially what he based his whole book on one message that he believes came from outer space. Very, very interesting. And there are others that have done good work on this. Leslie Kean and New York Times has done remarkably good work on this and other subjects. So it’s a area that is of interest to the American public. And, you know, you can be someone who was kind of a person who thinks some kind of inter-worlds conspiracies taking place or you can listen to the people who are trying to do everything they can about science. Whichever field you’re in, more power to you. I think it’s good. I’m glad to read both and listen to both views.

George Knapp
Of course, we’ve been able to do some stories and share with the public, some really interesting images, it seems like the visitors, the people who fly in this technology have picked up the pace. They’ve made very dramatic demonstrations that says, hey, look at us, we’re here. Three photos.

Sen. Harry Reid
How do you like? How do you like the pyramids floating around?

George Knapp
Well, I want to ask you, what did you think about that?

Sen. Harry Reid
They go right into the ocean? And there’s nothing there.

George Knapp
What did you think when you saw that flying pyramid video the first time.

Sen. Harry Reid
I just thought to myself, oh this is something new.

George Knapp
I mean, an almost looks preposterous, and then how outrageous, it’s certainly not aerodynamic, that design.

Sen. Harry Reid
And they go right into the ocean.

George Knapp
Let’s say the science comes up with pieces of material that’s not from here, or a craft or a being or something irrefutable that demonstrates that this is somebody else, it’s from somewhere else. How do you think the American public will react? Can we handle it?

Sen. Harry Reid
I don’t know how the public will react. But I think as long as we understand that, we need to make sure that we are scientifically driven, that we’re going to be okay. And if it’s coming from places we don’t understand, that’s still okay. As long as we understand that there’s stuff coming from other places. I have no problem whatsoever with it.

George Knapp
You know, we’ve seen these reports and documents that we’ve obtained and photos and information from the Navy about these drones, they call them drones as sort of a generic term, buzzing their ships. And they don’t know where they came from. They can’t track them.

Sen. Harry Reid
They’re coming in swarms, swarms, like bees like insects, so many of them.

George Knapp
I mean, we have to assume, and we have to at least keep our minds open to where they’re from the idea that China has made advances in their drone technology. I don’t know if it’s scarier than it’s an unknown, or if it’s scarier that our adversaries have made great strides in technology.

Sen. Harry Reid
And always remember, Russia, the former Soviet Union, is run by a man who ran the KGB. They had as many as 30,000 agents at one time, KGB agents. So, Russia’s involved in this, no question about it.

George Knapp
The UAP Task Force is going to give a report to Congress and maybe do a follow up report. But a lot of people think that’s not enough. Do you fell that there should be support for a more permanent study of this, some kind of an organization like what you started a long time ago, that has an ongoing responsibility for figuring this out?

Sen. Harry Reid
Yes, then federal government’s trillions of dollars every year. And I believe that there should be an ongoing entity, within the Pentagon would be the best place for it, whose sole job is to stay on top of the issue of UFOs.

George Knapp
A long time ago, when we had a conversation after that New York Times story came out, you were sort of surprised by your phone ringing off the hook with calls from your colleagues, who were unaware that this had gone on, and were really interested. Now it’s expanded further, the media is covering it, Congress is willing to investigate, the military is cooperating. I know that you were not entirely comfortable with the idea in the beginning that this would be part of your legacy, but it is, it is part of your legacy.

Sen. Harry Reid
George, I believe that one of the entities that we don’t give enough credit, in general is the press. The press is the reason that we are where we are in regard to UFOs. The press. When I got that call from Helene Cooper at the New York Times. I told her that if you want to talk about little green men, I’m not going to talk to you. But if you want to talk about science, I will talk to you. That was the beginning of worrying more about the subject. The Press, we don’t give the press credit for much of what takes place in our country. The press, as Donald Trump and others have called it, you know, fake news and all that kind of stuff. But we as American society, are so much better off, because the strength of the press in America today, and anything that goes in hurting the press is something that is not good for our country. During the time I was in politics, I had the health kicked out of me lots of times by the press. But I never ever, ever denigrated the press, because I do believe that America is as good a country it is because of freedom of the press.

George Knapp
You have said many times that look, I want to separate this investigation from the idea of little green men, because you have to you have to keep it straight and narrow. You can’t assume that these are aliens from another dimension or from other planets. But the fact is, we don’t know yet. And the idea of little green men is something that you’re at least open to down the road.

Sen. Harry Reid
I’m open to anything that is enlightening to the American people. I think that if you are fixed in saying that none of this that (inaudible) about coming from someplace else is valid, you’re making mistake, because you better just say, let’s wait and see. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m waiting and looking and seeing, and I’m not cutting anything off.

George Knapp
Well, Senator, I’d like to say thank you, from the whole world for your work and kicking this off and all the changes that have been right since you initiated that first program and study. I mean, this is your baby, whether you like it or not.

Sen. Harry Reid
Well, you know, as I said, my staff press told me stay the hell away from it. But it didn’t hurt me. Here in Vegas I’ll go into an elevator, someone will see me, “Are you Harry Reid?” “Yes.” “Thank you very much.” And they’ll usually say for your work on flying saucers. So people are aware that we’ve been doing things on the subject of interest to the American people. I’m going to continue doing that. And I’m not going to be repressed by people saying why the hell would you spend your time on something important? I think this is important.

George Knapp
Last question. What if it’s never resolved? What if we never get an answer to it? We still have to try I guess. But I mean, this is this mystery.

Sen. Harry Reid
George, never is a long time. Yeah. So I don’t accept that.

George Knapp
Senator Reid, always great to talk to you. Glad you’re feeling well.

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