The entire saga of the US military's modern investigations into UFOs has been clouded in confusion, obfuscation, and a whole alphabet soup of acronyms—AATIP, AAWSAP, UAP, etc.—which have enabled the Pentagon's avoidance of actually answering the real question: is there something weird going on or not? Since the story of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program broke in 2017, the Pentagon's story has gone from acknowledging that AATIP investigated "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAPs, not UFOs, which is rather important to them), to saying AATIP had nothing to do with UAPs. Add to this the strange list of AATIP funded projects and the former head of AATIP starting a side-project with Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge and you've got the dumbest possible byzantine labyrinth that could maybe lead to "soft disclosure."
This week, however, Popular Mechanics reported that they had obtained leaked documents dating to 2009 which show that not only did AATIP investigate UFOs, but investigated them as possibly otherworldy or interdimensional phenomena and continued to do so beyond 2012, the year AATIP was "officially" shuttered. Furthermore, AATIP took an interest in the paranormal phenomena at Utah's famed Skinwalker Ranch with an interest in harnassing whatever's going on there for defense purposes. Paranormal weaponry, that's just what we need, right?
The leaked documents come from Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS). The centerpiece is a 494-page "Ten Month Report" compiled by BAASS for the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP), the contracting division of the broader AATIP program. Bob Bigelow, the billionaire founder of Bigelow Aerospace, is a well-known figure in the UFO world. Bigelow's private research group the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) was stationed at Skinwalker Ranch for years after the billionaire purchased the property. Bigelow Aerospace's involvement with AATIP has also been well-publicized.
In 2008, BAASS was awarded a $10 million contract by AAWSAP for a guaranteed year with a 5-year option. According to Popular Mechanics, the "Ten Month Report" was one of many such reports given by BAASS to AAWSAP through the duration of the contract. Throughout the document, it is clear that what is being investigated is not an unknown foreign weapons system. From the Popular Mechanics piece:
From cover to cover, the BAASS report references the government’s new buzzword for UFOs: UAP. However, nowhere could Popular Mechanics find a single reference to foreign (terrestrial) advanced aerospace weapon systems, or projected technological innovations based on current industry trends.
Contrary to the Pentagon's recent sidestepping, it seems clear that what was being investigated was something not just unidentified but completely unknown. Here's an incomplete list of topics covered in BAASS's "Ten Month Report" as summarized by Popular Mechanics:
● Overview of the BAASS Physics Division’s efforts to conduct research on advanced aerospace vehicles, including the development of standardization for measurement of physical effects and signatures associated with UAP.
● Overview of BAASS research for measuring and gleaning the effects on biological organisms from UAP.
● Mention of Skinwalker Ranch in Utah as a “possible laboratory for studying other intelligences and possible interdimensional phenomena.”
● Strategic plans to organize a series of intellectual debate forums targeted to broad audiences pertaining to the “potential disclosure of an extraterrestrial presence.”
● Mention of BAASS program dubbed “Project Northern Tier,” which involved securing documents related to instances where dozens of UFOs flew over restricted airspaces of facilities housing nuclear weapons.
● Project databases of UAP-related materials compiled through various partnerships, and the intent to expand these databases by coordinating with foreign governments.
● Summaries of multiple UAP events both inside the U.S. and in foreign countries.
● Photographs of UAPs provided by various sources, including foreign governments.
These reports are technically the property of BAASS and, due to the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, are conveniently excluded from FOIA requests. Attorney Josh Budray told Popular Mechanics:
“Unfortunately, the government attempting to evade FOIA by contracting out its responsibilities is nothing new. Both federal and state FOIA statutes strive to eliminate such obvious gamesmanship—avoiding transparency and disclosure obligations by contracting out functions—but whether they are successful in doing so is an entirely different story.”
There's honestly too much in the Popular Mechanics report to summarize here, and it is recommended that you take a read for yourself. Seriously, it's huge. Other leaked documents obtained include a 54-page report on the physiological effects of exposure to UFOs, as well as proof that AATIP operated beyond its official closure in 2012.
While much of what is in the leaked documents have been in the realm of solid assumptions since the AATIP story first broke, they have still been assumptions. The Pentagon has admitted that footage such as that from the USS Nimitz does show "unidentified aerial phenomena," it has always been delicately handled from a position that "unidentified" might mean "we just don't know who built it." While these leaked documents reveal nothing about the nature of these phenomena (because of course not), they do show that whatever AATIP and BAASS were, and likely are, studying is completely weird and has been treated accordingly by the Pentagon.