Speaking with Las Vegas Now on Friday, Luis Elizondo, a former intelligence officer with knowledge on the matter, explained that senior officials pushed back on the secret program over concerns that the study would become an embarrassment for the department and because it conflicted with their religious beliefs.
Elizondo, who previously spoke out about the five-year-old program to the New York Times in December 2017, stressed that though the government's funding ended in 2012, the study continues as officials from the US Navy and the CIA offered resources to further the program. It is speculated that the program is still active, just through private funding.
"There were other folks related to our efforts," Elizondo told Las Vegas Now. "It is a confederated approach so you had folks in the Navy, in DIA [the Defence Intelligence Agency], in pockets here and there. We worked collectively."
It should be noted that following Elizondo's big reveal, two videos were released by the US Department of Defense that showed servicemembers encountering unidentified flying objects.
But Elizondo isn't the only official spilling the beans on secret government programs investigating UFOs.
Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator with the UK's Ministry of Defense, told the Metro UK that he, too, encountered pushback.
"I was aware that Pentagon pushback on UFO research was in part due to the religious belief of some of those involved," Pope told the outlet. "It was an odd irony that UFO investigations were being hampered because some people's belief in God meant that they either didn't believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life or that they regarded UFOs and extraterrestrials as demonic."
"The fact that some people regard UFOs as demonic seems to have its roots in the biblical description of Satan as being ‘the prince of the power of the air' from Ephesians 2:2. Luis Elizondo says that he came up against religious pushback from senior staff when he ran the Pentagon's UFO program and I saw some evidence of this at the MoD too," Pope added.
Prior to the Metro UK's revelation Tuesday, the Guardian published an article Sunday showing that talks were going on inside the Ministry of Defense regarding the UK's UFO investigations dating back to the late 1990s.
Messages obtained by the publication stated that investigations should focus "on the possible threat to the UK [from foreign hostile powers] and technology acquisition" rather than "X-Files activities such as alien abductions."
Another memo goes on to add that inquiries "shouldn't be driven by a UFO thesis."
David Clarke, a research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University who obtained the files from the ministry following a freedom of information request, told The Guardian that UK officials have only "encouraged conspiracy theorists through their own paranoia."
"They always say that the public gets the wrong idea about UFOs, but they've actually encouraged that themselves by destroying the files," Clarke said, noting that the UK government had destroyed files they'd collected on the topic of UFOs over the years.
After deciding that staff could be better used elsewhere, The Guardian reported that the Ministry of Defense closed its UFO desk in 2009. This was the same reason that US officials cited when revealing that their official investigation into UFOs had concluded.