CIA role in UFO's now declassified

David C. Harris (
Sun, 03 Aug 1997 17:29:42

Since there was a flurry of discussion about Roswell and UFO's, I'd like to
point to some new, relevant information. According to a NY Times story,
the CIA has declassified a report of its involvement with UFO sightings ---
which were often U-2 or SR-71 sightings. Hopefully this will clarify some
past lies and help create a less paranoid discussion. My personal hope is
that further discussion will occur in some other forum.

The report, "CIA's Role in the Study of UFO's, 1947-90" was written by
Gerald K. Haines, a historian at the National Reconnaissance Office, the
intelligence agency that builds and runs the US spy satellites.

The URL of the full report is

Here's a particularly interesting excerpt with stars (***) before and after
what I consider the take-home message in the third paragaph:

"CIA's U-2 and OXCART as UFOs

In November 1954, CIA had entered into the world of high technology with
its U-2 overhead reconnaissance project. Working with Lockheed's Advanced
Development facility in Burbank, California, known as the Skunk Works, and
Kelly Johnson, an eminent aeronautical engineer, the Agency by August 1955
was testing a high-altitude experimental aircraft--the U-2. It could fly at
60,000 feet; in the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew between
10,000 feet and 20,000 feet. Consequently, once the U-2 started test
flights, commercial pilots and air traffic controllers began reporting a
large increase in UFO sightings. (44) (U)

The early U-2s were silver (they were later painted black) and reflected
the rays from the sun, especially at sunrise and sunset. They often
appeared as fiery objects to observers below. Air Force BLUE BOOK
investigators aware of the secret U-2 flights tried to explain away such
sightings by linking them to natural phenomena such as ice crystals and
temperature inversions. By checking with the Agency's U-2 Project Staff in
Washington, BLUE BOOK investigators were able to attribute many UFO
sightings to U-2 flights. They were careful, however, not to reveal the
true cause of the sighting to the public.

According to later estimates from CIA officials who worked on the U-2
project and the OXCART (SR-71, or Blackbird) project, *** over half of all
UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by
manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States. (45)
This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the
public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily
sensitive national security project. While perhaps justified, this
deception added fuel to the later conspiracy theories and the coverup
controversy of the 1970s. *** ....

... Dr. Leon Davidson, a chemical engineer and UFOlogist. They demanded the
release of the full Robertson panel report and confirmation of CIA
involvement in the UFO issue. Davidson had convinced himself that the
Agency, not the Air Force, carried most of the responsibility for UFO
analysis and that "the activities of the US Government are responsible for
the flying saucer sightings of the last decade." Indeed, because of the
undisclosed U-2 and OXCART flights, Davidson was closer to the truth than
he suspected. ...."