Dec 30, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

Harry Reid, Longtime Proponent of UFO Investigation and Disclosure, Dies at 82

The world of UFO and extraterrestrial study and disclosure has never had a better proponent that former Nevada Senator and Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who passed away on December 28th at the age of 82. Other media sources will detail his remarkable life and long political career, but many are leaving out the impact he had on the paranormal world by approving secretly a fund for UFO studies and publicly pushing for more.

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Harry Reid

“One day in 1996, I received a call from George Knapp, an investigative reporter at KLAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, and a friend of mine. “Harry,” he said, “there’s something you have to attend.” He invited me to an upcoming conference that would focus on what the U.S. government generally refers to as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” but what most other people simply call U.F.O.s, a subject Mr. Knapp had, and still has, a particular interest in.”

George Knapp indeed still has an interest in UFOs and we’re forever indebted to him for introducing then Nevada Senator Harry Reid to the subject, as was Reid in his 2021 New York Times article on the subject. It seems strange that the Senator representing Area 51 had little interest in UFOs, but that conference and his friendship with fellow senator and former astronaut John Glenn led Reid to ‘cross the aisle’ in 2007 and join forces with Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii (Reid was Senate majority leader at the time) to put $22 million in the Pentagon budget for what became known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (ATTIP).

"I think it's one of the good things I did in my congressional service. I've done something that no one has done before."

Reid stated in 2009 that ATTIP made "much progress" with the "identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace-related findings" that will "likely lead to technology advancements." It ended in 2012 but was continued secretly continued, and become famous through the work of Luis Elizondo, its former head, and the release of the videos of the now famous Tic Tac UFOs encountered by US Navy pilots and ship personnel.

“I think that I have opened the door to people not being afraid to talk about it. 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.”

Progress indeed! Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York picked up where Reid left off after retiring and were instrumental in passing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act to establish an “Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office” which, among other things, will reverse-engineer UFOs. That’s a long way from the dreams of Harry Reid, who said that has a young boy in rural Searchlight, Nevada, he often looked up at the shooting stars. That interest continued until the day he died – Reid both pushed for more public interest in UFOs and pushed governments – ours and others – to be open about them.

“I believe that there is information uncovered by the government’s covert investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena that can be disclosed to the public without harming our national security.”

In his powerful position, Reid was a witness to what the covert investigations had found and, though sometimes misquoted, was always honest about it.

“The truth, disappointing as it may be, is that there’s still a great deal we don’t understand. It’s unclear whether the U.F.O.s we have encountered could have been built by foreign adversaries, whether our pilots’ visual perception during some encounters was somehow distorted, or whether we truly have credible evidence of extraterrestrial visitations. There may be other, as yet unknown explanations for some of these strange sightings.”

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Harry Reid

Harry Reid had no problem with those who believed as a matter of faith that UFOs bore extraterrestrials from other worlds, but he always pushed to “lead with the science“ and get away from "conspiratorial theories and quack ideas.” He often said he finally came to “know Area 51 quite well” and “know what they’ve done there.” He had no reason to ‘storm’ it, but he respected the security surrounding the advanced testing going on there in his home state.

The last line of one of his last articles would make a fitting tombstone epitaph for the late Senator Harry Reid – the best friend UFOs ever had.

“Because the more I learn, the more I realize that there’s still so much I don’t know.”

Thank you, Harry Reid.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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