The New York Times and Politico both reported on the programme
The belief in aliens visiting Earth via spacecraft was given greater validity last year following reports by both The New York Times and Politico Magazine of the secretive Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
This was coupled with a video released by the Department of Defence which shows a two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets and an unknown object near San Diego.
But, some experts in UFO studies think the release was merely a test to gauge public reactions to set people up for really big news about aliens.
Retired nuclear physicist and a long-time investigator and lecturer on the UFO phenomenon, Stanton Friedman, said: “I can’t say I know why things are coming out at this time.
“I appreciate the courage of those former officials who came forth.”
He also criticised debunkers who advocate listening for alien signals but “ignore the tone of evidence of alien visitors”.
According to Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, the purpose of the AATIP is “threat identification”.
He added: “But the fact that this program was initiated at the request of Senator Reid — not the Air Force — suggests that national security was not the paramount motivation here.
“It is somewhat dismaying to see how quickly ‘unidentified’ aerial phenomena are publicly interpreted and portrayed as UFOs of possibly extraterrestrial origin.
”Collectively, we should all be becoming more intelligent and more perceptive, not more stupid and gullible.”
President and scientific director of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies in Chicago, Mark Rodeghier, said he was initially sceptical of UFOs.
But, after looking through hundreds of reports by witnesses, he became convinced that UFOs deserve serious study.