How Harry Reid spent his final years pushing Pentagon probes of UFOs
Late former Senator Harry Reid, who grew up approximately a two-hour drive from Area 51, spent much of his congressional career trying to unearth more about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and fund government projects to explore life in space.
‘I think that I have opened the door to people not being afraid to talk about it,’ Reid in interviews conducted in the final months of his life that were published this week.
‘I know that when I first got involved in this, people in the military were afraid to mention it for fear of it hurting their promotions,’ he said.
‘But now the Pentagon has told them they should report all these things that they see that are unusual. So we made a tremendous amount of progress.’
In his retirement from Congress in 2017, Reid became increasingly vocal on the need for more funding for research – even making that the central focus of one of his last interviews before dying at age 82 on Tuesday.
‘Congress should make this an ongoing program,’ Reid in June as the Biden administration prepared to release details about U.S.
military encounters with UFOs, which have more recently become known as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs).
The director of national intelligence is scheduled to release next month a report containing all relevant government material on UAPs as the once fringe topic has become a hot topic in mainstream media as it emerges as a serious national security concern.
‘I don’t think the report is going to tell us too much,’ Reid said in his interview with The Guardian months before his death.
‘I think they need to study it more and not just have one shot at it.’
In the 2,000-page-plus National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022, there is a provision included that mandates formal establishment of a federal office and authorities to address UAPs.
Late longtime Nevada Democratic senator Harry Reid spent much of his career – and his years out of Congress – pushing for more government funding and investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects, now known officially as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs
Reid was born, grew up and spent his whole life close to Area 51 in Nevada (pictured).
He wrote in a New York Times article in May: ‘I believe this fascination comes in part from growing up in rural Nevada. People who live in rural America, away from the light pollution of the major cities, can gaze at the night sky and see the marvel of the Milky Way’
On Tuesday evening, Reid’s widow Landra revealed that after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer, the lifelong Democratic lawmaker died.
He is survived by his wife, five kids and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Reid spent 35 years in Washington politics, including as a Democratic leader in the Senate for more than a decade. His death was mourned by many, including former presidents and current lawmakers.
During his time in Congress, Reid was able to secure $22 million in funding for research related to UFOs, which led to the creation of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
The program investigated alleged sightings of UAPs before it was disbanded in 2012.
Reid wrote in a in May of this year that he has ‘always been fascinated by things I don’t understand’, like the ‘mysterious and unexplained.’
‘I believe this fascination comes in part from growing up in rural Nevada,’ he added.
‘People who live in rural America, away from the light pollution of the major cities, can gaze at the night sky and see the marvel of the Milky Way.’
Reid said he ignored warning from aides not to get close with the National Institute for Discovery Science, which was founded in the 1990s by Nevada real-estate magnate Robert Bieglow (pictured)
In a magazine feature for Politico released this week, it was revealed that Reid engaged with a group dubbed the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), which was a collection of people interested mainly in exploring UFOs and consciousness after death.
Reid recounted the details of how he became involved with the group in a series of interviews in recent months with Politico.
At the meetings, which started in Las Vegas in 1995, Reid said he joined a collection of people with respect in their fields, including scientists and engineers, a CIA spy, a former Army colonel, two Apollo astronauts, former U.S.
lawmakers, a real-estate magnate and a commercial developer.
Reid, then 55, said he was warned against fraternizing with the group considering he was one of the only people there with anything to lose as he was currently serving in his second term as a senator from Nevada and had aspirations of Democratic leadership in Congress.
At the time, the nature of these meetings were total fringe and conspiracy topics.
Following his death Tuesday, casinos and hotels along the Vegas strip illuminated their signs with a tribute to Reid, who served as a senator for the state for two decades
‘I had my staff, I had lots of people who said: ‘You are going to get yourself in trouble, stay the hell away from that,’ Reid said, according to the Politico article.
‘A lot of people said it would ruin my career.’
But Reid said his work involving UFOs was a ‘highlight’ on his resume.
‘I think that I have opened the door to people not being afraid to talk about it,’ he said.
‘I know that when I first got involved in this, people in the military were afraid to mention it for fear of it hurting their promotions.’
‘But now the Pentagon has told them they should report all these things that they see that are unusual.
So we made a tremendous amount of progress,’ Reid told Politico.
Robert Bigelow, a Nevada real-estate magnate, was the man who hand-selected the group who met for the first time in Las Vegas in 1995. He was 50 at the time.
Reid was initially introduced to Bigelow by Nevada TV journalist George Knapp, who covered UFOs.
Knapp, through coverage of Reid’s political career, was aware that the Democratic senator was interested in the subject.
After accepting an invitation to the meeting, Reid made clear to Knapp that his participation had to be kept secret, which was the case for more than two decades until Reid recounted how he got involved with exploring UFOs and UAPs in interviews with Politico in recent months, which were published days after his death.