Credulous or corrupt?
Robert Bigelow has said he was absolutely convinced there were alien visitors to Earth. He founded the National Institute for Discovery Science to investigate anomalies. The Deputy Administrator of the institute appears to understand the difference between unidentified and extraterrestrial (the first requires the absence of evidence while the second requires strong evidence - some UFOlogists get this backwards). The institute was disbanded in 2004.
According to the article the idea for the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program came from within the Defense Intelligence Agency. Pentagon officials went to visit Bigelow presumably because he has money and a desire to believe stories about extraterrestrial visitors. Bigelow took this to Harry Reid (D NV) presumably because he had power and a desire to believe stories about extraterrestrial visitors. Reid went back to the pentagon officials then roped in two more senators: Ted Stevens (R AK) and Daniel Inouye (D HI). The three senators got the funding approved, much of which went to Bigelow. All three senators did not want public discussion of the project or its funding. Pick a reason: embarrassment, to avoid being deluged with crank calls or corruption.
In Bigelow's place, I would have spent a pittance on evidence of a serious investigation, sent some campaign contributions to the senators and put the rest in my pocket. There is evidence of a serious investigation. Bigelow is the sort of person who would actually spend this money on the reason it was paid to him. I looked for campaign contributions back to the senators, but found nothing related to Bigelow (would not be hard to hide this from me as it is not something I do for a living).
Funding began in 2007 (I would like to blame Bush but I am sure he knew bugger all about any of this). The project officially ended in 2012 (I would like to blame Obama but I suspect the real reasons are that Stevens died in 2010 and Inouye died in 2012). The project has trundled on without funding for another five years and has hit the news because Luis Elizondo (project leader in the Pentagon) resigned to protest excessive secrecy and internal opposition.
It is possible the investigation caught evidence of secret aviation research or military aircraft where they were not supposed to be. In Elizondo's place I would welcome the secrecy to hide the fact that my department had nothing to show for $4.4M/year and to fuel support from conspiracy theorists.
So far, the story is consistent with people spending tax payers' money on a genuine attempt to investigate unidentified flying objects. If you have actual evidence of corruption (or extraterrestrials visiting Earth), please post it.