On Saturday, December 16th, a New York Times report revealed that a mysterious U.F.O. program within the Pentagon, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, actually, well, exists—and eats up about $22 million of the $600 billion annual Defense Department budget. For those invested in extraterrestrial investigations, it’s been a known endeavor—but imagine our surprise when it was revealed that the program was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, who resigned this October to “protest what he characterized as excessive secrecy and internal opposition,” and is now employed by To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, run by Blink-182's Tom DeLonge. (It’s worth noting that the Times failed to mention DeLonge by name.) Elizondo, along with a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and a former CIA Senior Intelligence Officer, works with DeLonge at To The Stars, an organization dedicated to sharing knowledge in the aim to raise money for U.F.O. research. This is a very real thing that most music press has cast aside as DeLonge’s strange obsession, and if you didn’t believe him then, it’s time to believe him now.

Longtime fans of DeLonge’s music have been made well-aware of his interest in space—Angels & Airwaves, his solo project outside of Blink-182, is fundamentally tied to themes of the universe. In 1999, on the album that broke Blink-182 into the mainstream, Enema of the State, DeLonge penned the uptempo pop-punk anthem “Aliens Exist.” In the video above, presumably filmed around 2000/2001 (judging by his attire,) DeLonge discusses this fascination, and most importantly, the secrecy surrounding U.F.O.s. He mentions involvement with government officials, perhaps teasing what has now become public knowledge. At that time, a band known for its juvenile antics and boys-will-be-boys toilet humor, aliens and conspiracy theories were seen as little more than an endearing hobby. But for DeLonge, it’s become his career: Wikileaks unearthed email correspondence between DeLonge and Hillary Clinton’s team when she was still a presidential hopeful last year. He was named UFO Researcher of the Year by Open Minds Productions just last year—a reputable source if you’re into this kind of stuff, I guess. Perhaps most convincing to the severity of all this is the To The Stars mission statement, which outlines the goals Elizondo told the Times:

To The Stars Academy strives to be a powerful vehicle for change by creating a consortium among science, aerospace and entertainment that will work collectively to allow gifted researchers the freedom to explore exotic science and technologies with the infrastructure and resources to rapidly transition them to products that can change the world.

Adding:

The public interest in the outer edges of science and the understanding of phenomena has always been suffocated by mainstream ideology and bureaucratic constraint.

We believe there are transformative discoveries within our reach that will revolutionize the human experience, but they can only be accomplished through the unrestricted support of breakthrough research, discovery and innovation.

To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science has mobilized a team of the most experienced, connected and passionately curious minds from the US intelligence community, including the CIA and Department of Defense, that have been operating under the shadows of top-secrecy for decades. The team members all share a common thread of frustration and determination to disrupt the status quo, wanting to use their expertise and credibility to bring transformative science and engineering out of the shadows and collaborate with global citizens to apply that knowledge in a way that benefits humanity.

Without the restrictions of government priorities. 

In other words: DeLonge and his team are dedicated to transparency towards space exploration. This goes beyond aliens and U.F.O.s, but growing concern and interest in the field of space technology and advancement. So next time someone jokes about Tom DeLonge and his interest in the great beyond, let ‘em know: This is very real and he’s hired the people who know most about it to, well, keep digging.

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We’ve reached out to DeLonge’s team for comment and will update if we hear back.