The Pentagon spent tens of millions of dollars investigating reports of unidentified flying objects, according to reports from The New York Times and Politico.

The $22 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program began in 2007 after its funding was pushed by Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who retired this year, according to The Times. Reid has long had an interest in the phenomenon of UFOs.

Much of the money spent on the endeavor went to an aerospace firm owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow, a longtime friend of Reid, according to The Times. Bigelow told CBS’ 60 Minutes in May that he was absolutely convinced that aliens exist and that UFOs have landed on Earth.

The Times noted that the Defense Department had never before acknowledged the existence of the program, but officials now say it was shut down in 2012.

Politico said the program is getting attention this year because of the October retirement of Luis Elizondo, a career intelligence official who ran the program and reportedly told Defense Secretary James Mattis in his resignation letter that the department needed to take the program’s research more seriously.

“We were trying to take the voodoo out of voodoo science,” Elizondo told Politico.

Elizondo told of sightings by Navy pilots of aircraft that were able to make maneuvers that should not be aerodynamically possible, but complained that military leaders were not taking the threat seriously.