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A few weeks ago, national reports came out about funding for research into UFOs that was pushed by then-Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and both Democrats and Republicans in 2007.
The program supposedly ended in 2012, though a man who says he was in charge of it says it is still happening.
Senator Reid couldn’t be on the program today.
But TV reporter George Knapp, who decades ago exposed the world to the top-secret base, Area 51--some 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has talked to the senator.
And Knapp over the years has been ridiculed at times for his stalwart investigation into UFO and other strange phenomena.
Does he feel vindicated?
“I always thought I was doing my job anyway and catching flack over it came with the territory. I’m not sure this is vindication. It certainly is nice to have company in covering this story. I’ve always said if it could be proven – to any reasonable degree - it would be the biggest story ever. I couldn’t image why there weren’t more journalists taking it seriously because there is plenty of breadcrumbs to follow, plenty of clues to pursue. That’s what I’ve tried to do all along. If people want to see it as vindication – okay – I’ll take that,” he told KNPR's State of Nevada.
Knapp interviewed Harry Reid about the program, which was not actually the study of UFO's but of "advanced aerial threats" as they were called.
Knapp says there is evidence that the Russian and Chinese governments are also conducting research on UFOs and Reid believes the U.S. should also be looking at them.
Col. John B. Alexander (ret.), a Las Vegas resident who, while in the military and in retirement, investigated strange phenomena around the world.
“This is not new," he said, "The characteristics [of UFOs] that George just described have been observed for at least 70 years. In fact, UFOs have been reported for millennia – globally. This is a global phenomenon that has run over time.”
He said he ran a similar program 30 years ago sorting through the evidence gathered by the military and civilians. He said the evidence is overwhelming.
“The evidence is basically every sensor system we have picks them up. The [USS] Nimitz case that George has mentioned before at that time you had visual sightings. You had sightings from aircraft radar. You had sightings from aerial command posts and you had the most advanced sensors from the Navy surface fleet as well. This is not unusual. There are many cases where you have multi-sensory correlation so you cannot assume that it was some kind of fluke of radar or thermal inversions or whatever. The evidence is simply overwhelming.”
Alexander's latest book that came out in October is called "Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences With Things That Can’t Happen—But Did”.
While Knapp and Alexander say the evidence shows the objects exist and they can perform aerial maneuvering far beyond our technology, they are not sure where they came from or why.
They also agree that much more needs to be done to study UFOs and their impact on people. And they believe people shouldn't have to risk their careers to look into the phenomenon.
(Editor's Note: This discussion originally aired December 2017)
George Knapp, I-Team reporter, KLAS-TV; Col. John B. Alexander (ret.), author