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UFO Sightings Investigated by Pentagon for Years

It's a revelation that has believers buzzing: The New York Times this week reported that a secret government program had been tracking UFOs.

The Defense Department tells the Times it ran a classified operation to investigate UFO sightings between 2007 and 2012. The Times report came with a U.S. Navy video of two pilots tracking something they could not identify.

"I think it's a little arrogant and naive to think we're the only ones like this," said Andrew Parton, executive director of Long Island's Cradle of Aviation Museum. 

Parton says visitors to the space gallery at the museum in Garden City repeat the same inquiry over and over again: 

"They ask, 'Aliens, do they exist? UFOs?'" he said. 

The U.S. government, it seems, has shared that same curiosity. UFO sightings, like one captured on video in 2004, have apparently been on the Pentagon's radar for years. [Watch video in player above.]

"It's about time," Cheryl Coas, an author who has written about UFOs, said of the Pentagon's admission of its program. "We've been dealing with all this secrecy since 1947." 

Costa has complied data about UFO sightings and says New York state had more than 5,000 sightings between 2001 and 2015. Manhattan had 426, but the county with the most sightings was Suffolk, with 554.

"It is surrounded by water. In New York state, over 51 percent of our sightings are around water," she said. 

An astrophysicist at M.I.T., Sara Seager, told the Times that not knowing the origin of an object doesn't necessarily mean it's from another planet or galaxy. And former NASA space shuttle engineer James E. Oberg said, "There are plenty of prosaic events and human perceptual traits that can account for these stories." 

The Pentagon UFO program cost a reported $22 million a year. Some may question the prudence of spending that much money to track UFO sightings, but others say it's money well spent. 

Kids visiting the Cradle of Aviation Friday echoed the call to keep exploring. And they have an interesting explanation for all the UFO sightings in this area. 

"We are kind of the hub, the city's right here. It wouldn't be surprising this would be the big place the aliens would go see," said Josie Jones, a student at Mineola High School. 

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