Do you believe in UFOs – unidentified flying objects?

How about UFPs – unidentified funded programs?

Mark me as curious about UFOs, but dead set against UFPs, especially when the UFP is about UFOs.

That’s the gift the American people received this Christmas week courtesy of some good reporting by the New York Times. We’ve come to find out that our federal government began a program in 2007 that funneled about $22 million dollars into a super secret military program to study UFOs.

It was the brain child of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Times found out about the program and asked the retired Nevada senator to explain.

Reid said the program was kept secret because if people knew about it, people would make fun of the expenditure.

That’s the reason it was classified “double secret probation” — so, no one would laugh at Sen. Reid?

How disappointing. I would have hoped that it was secret because in the course of spending that $600 million the program actually turned up something that led to contact with alien life.

But, no. There’s no “Stranger Things” here. According to Reid, it was just to avoid ridicule.

“I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going,” Reid told the Times. “I think it’s one of the good things I did in my congressional service. I’ve done something that no one has done before.”

It’s surprising Sen. Reid didn’t also call him self a “Guardian of the Galaxy” and a demand an ambassadorship to Mars.

Reid’s curiously secret UFO program shut down in 2012 after the Pentagon finally became nervous about the spending priorities of the senator.

It’s tempting to leave this story asking yourself what’s wrong with the federal government that it can spend $22 million in so-called “dark” money in secret and with zero public oversight?

Or, pass this episode off as another Reid stumble, like the time he welcomed New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to the Senate by labeling her the “hottest” U.S. senator, or when he backed Barack Obama for president because he was “light skinned” and could “speak negro” any old time he needed to.

But is something more afoot?

The Times says the program secretly appropriated millions and some of it – how much? – came back to a friend of Reid’s in Las Vegas.

I’m all for exploring the unknown. Let’s find out more about the UFP.

(Sherman Frederick is the co-founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of the Sparks Tribune, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Lincoln County Record, the Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News and the Eureka Sentinel. You can reach him at