Harry Reid's Secret UFO Jaunts Were Just the Start

Politico unpacks how ex-senator, Blink-182 founder brought a taboo topic into mainstream DC politics
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2021 1:20 PM CDT
Harry Reid's Secret UFO Jaunts Were Just the Start
In this April 3, 2018, file photo, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks during a lecture series at the University of Nevada-Reno.   (AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File)

A government analysis on UFOs is due out next month from US intel agencies and the Defense Department, the first time in more than a half-century that the executive branch will release a public accounting of the once-taboo topic—and much of the thanks for that can be traced back to ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a former interrogator of terrorists, and one of the founders of Blink-182. These are just a few of the "unlikely characters" that Bryan Bender says were responsible for bringing "unidentified aerial phenomena," or UAPs (the government's official name for UFOs) from a fringe movement into mainstream DC. In his piece for Politico, Bender dives into a "quarter-century saga" that began in 1995, when the now-retired Reid, who'd always been curious about UFOs, attended a series of meetings in Nevada organized by real estate tycoon Robert Bigelow, who founded the National Institute for Discovery Science to look into whether alien life existed, among other topics.

It would've been politically disastrous for the Democratic senator to be tied to the movement, which Bender says was then viewed as "pure nuttiness," so Reid's participation was kept secret until recently. Reid kept going to the meetings, as well as reaching out over the years to others in DC about UFOs—culminating with a successful push to get the DOD to fund research into the topic, revealed publicly in late 2017. That was around the time that Tom DeLonge, Blink-182's founding guitarist, launched his own firm to investigate UFOs. DeLonge—who tells Bender he once "personally learned something where I didn't sleep for three nights"—talks in depth about his long struggle to get military brass, the media, and others to start taking UFOs seriously. Some now say next month's report wouldn't have been possible without him. "Dude, you blew the china shop wide open and now things are pouring out," he says someone from the DOD told him recently. "The genie's out of the bottle." More here on the once hush-hush topic's wild evolution. (More strange stuff stories.)

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