Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on 8NewsNow.com on June 28, 2018.

MYSTERY WIRE — A secret Pentagon program that studied UFO encounters ended in 2012, but the senator who sponsored it thinks it should be revived.

Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid admitted his involvement with the UFO project last year. Now, the I-Team has found a document from 2009 in which Reid made the case for protecting and expanding the project.

The U.S. Navy pilots who encountered Tic Tac shaped objects off the coast of California in 2004 were flummoxed by the astounding technology of the unknown intruders.

So were the pilots who encountered the so-called Gimbal UFO in 2015 off the coast of Florida as were pilots and sailors in dozens of similar incidents.

(This image is from U.S. military footage of the Gimbal.)

These kinds of cases inspired Senator Harry Reid in 2007 to initiate a secret military study of UFO encounters. Reid publicly acknowledged the study last December.

“I think these studies are so loaded with information. We learned a lot,” Reid said.

Reacting to news stories about the now-canceled study, called AATIP, Pentagon spokespersons said they didn’t learn much. But that’s not how Reid described the program in a 2009 letter to the deputy secretary of defense. The letter is not classified but a footnote says it is exempt from disclosure under FOIA because of what it contains.

Only 14 people were copied, all of them with security clearances. In the letter, Reid said the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) study to that point has focused on “advanced aerospace threats and disruptive aerospace technologies, that the AATIP study was already a success, and that exotic technologies could be catastrophic if used by our adversaries.”

Luis Elizondo, who was in charge of AATIP until he left the Pentagon last year, was surprised the I-Team had a copy of the letter but acknowledged it is legit.

“Yes, I’ve read that letter. I think it presents a very compelling picture to the Department of Defense that the preliminary results of the AATIP program were warranting an increase in the protection of the information,” said Elizondo, To the Stars Academy.

Although Elizondo was instrumental in getting the release of three Pentagon UFO videos, the files and reports generated by the AATIP study have not been made public and he is not authorized to spill the secrets.

Elizondo now works with To the Stars Academy in California. One of his colleagues, physicist and longtime CIA consultant Dr. Hal Puthoff recently told a science group in Las Vegas the existence of a formal study allowed reluctant  witnesses to step forward.

“And a number of significant Department of Defense and intelligence community officials have come forward to talk about the reality of this phenomena and the fact that there were programs going on,” Puthoff said.

Elizondo declines to name names but says there is no question AATIP produced valuable intelligence.

Confidential report analyzes Tic Tac UFO incidents

“Absolutely, it was absolutely successful. That is undeniable to the point where the point was raised to senior levels of the Department of Defense,” he said.

So, why would Pentagon spokespersons claim the study produced little?

“The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. I don’t think it’s on purpose. I don’t think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Elizondo said.

Senator Reid told the I-Team, he hopes some of his former colleagues in Congress are paying attention and that and will authorize a resumption or expansion of the Study. Senator Reid, who is recovering from cancer surgery, wrote the letter to ask that the UFO study be protected as a special access program.