The UFO Menace

Former Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proudly claims to have slipped $22 million into the Pentagon’s “black” budget a decade ago to fund a secret Pentagon department to keep an eye on the UFO Menace. The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, the former DoD agency started by the Senate majority leader, released video of a UFO said to have been filmed in 2004 by F-18 pilots sent to track a mysterious paramecium-shaped dot.

Reid says he launched the Pentagon office without needing to tell any fellow members of Congress other than the octogenarian Lions of the Senate Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ted Stevens (R-AK), both of them now deceased.

So maybe there really is an Inner Party of all-knowing insiders after all? Perhaps your average Al Franken-level senator isn’t clued in to the really big secrets, but if you come from a small-population state without much political competition and keep getting reelected, finally they induct you into the club within a club that worries about the things that really matter, such as UFOs?

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Or maybe flying saucers are a particular concern to constituents in Nevada (home to the secret Area 51 test-flight base), along with Hawaii and Alaska, home to extensive military radar? (My brother-in-law spent a few years in Anchorage keeping an eye on Soviet Bear bombers testing American air defenses.)

Or perhaps senile dementia is a bipartisan phenomenon? Gift Card i... Buy New $25.00 (as of 09:30 UTC - Details)

A decade ago, a Capitol Hill technician who spent time around senators before and after the cameras were turned on told me that Reid, a former amateur boxer, was a punch-drunk old man propped up by his staff.

I have no idea if this was a palpable libel or something covered up by the Democratic-leaning press. As we are seeing with Weinsteingate, there are a lot of open secrets about the powerful that aren’t that open to the public. Heck, President Obama arranged for his own daughter to get an internship at…Weinstein Films.

The spread of ubiquitous camera phones in this century has reduced interest in UFOs. There remain unidentified flying objects, but when recorded on video, they mostly remain unidentified rather than jaw-dropping proof that Somebody Is Out There.

Still, it’s worth noting that the UFO craze that began in 1947 with pilot Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of “flying saucers” over Washington State, followed shortly by reports of the “Roswell incident” in New Mexico, was by no means wholly demented.

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