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Re-post - CIA Said To Rue Its Longterm UFO Cover-Up

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 11:58:48 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 11:58:48 -0400
Subject: Re-post - CIA Said To Rue Its Longterm UFO Cover-Up

This was orginally posted August 21, 1999 and was removed by
an overzealous editor when the Archive lived at UFOmind.com

The source URL below is the current one at space.com

Note that UFOs now exist in the 'Science Fiction' folder at
space.com - so much for honesty in Space Sciences - an
apparently political move by more recent management.



Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 12:39:52 -0400
To: "02 - UFO UpDates Subscribers":;
From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
Subject: UFO UpDate: CIA Said To Rue Its Longterm UFO Cover-Up

Source: Space.com


CIA Said To Rue Its Longterm UFO Cover-Up


Robert Scott Martin
Staff Writer
posted: 05:14 pm ET
18 August 1999

Central Intelligence Agency http://www.cia.gov/

CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90


Not only has the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency admitted its
role in trying to "correct" public opinion about UFOs over the
last half century, it now believes the policy caused "major
problems" in dealing with the public.

In an internal report entitled "CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs,
1947-90," agency historian Gerald K. Haines portrayed the CIA as
consistently and deliberately working to suppress reports of
unidentified aerial phenomena since modern UFO sightings began
with the Kenneth Arnold case of 1947.

Still, even in a paper filled with covert attempts on the part
of both the CIA and the Air Force to "persuade the public that
UFOs were not extraordinary," Haines himself continued the
suppressive policy, perhaps unconsciously, by writing that the
CIA "paid only limited and peripheral attention to the
phenomena" since the early 1950s.

This tension in the report, written at the request of CIA
Director R. James Woolsey in 1997, is a telling reflection of
the government agency's troubled broader relationship with UFO
sightings and literature. Haines' history is studded with
depictions of the CIA not only repressing UFO reports and
reviewing recommendations that agents monitor UFO clubs for
subversive activities, but also trying to hide its own interest
in the matter.

Indeed, the struggle to "carefully restrict" and "forbid" any
public awareness of CIA involvement in UFO investigations
eclipses the actual investigations as the major thrust of the
agency's UFO efforts. Even though the agency had accepted the
Air Force's conclusion that there was only "a remote
possibility" that UFOs were interplanetary aircraft as early as
1952, investigations of the "massive buildup of sightings" went
on, just in case.

Concealment of CIA interest

However, after 1953, when negative findings from a civilian
panel motivated the CIA to "put the entire issue of UFOs on the
back burner" entirely, Haines said the agency became almost
exclusively concerned with covering up its own involvement in
the world of unidentified flying objects.

This aggressive policy of public non-involvement was important
to the CIA for many reasons. First, a number of agency officials
and study groups over the years urged the CIA to "conceal its
interest" because such attention would seem to officially
sanction to the existence of UFOs. Although the agency itself,
like the Air Force, believed the chance of flying saucers posing
a direct threat was minimal, the fear that even unfounded public
belief in the phenomenon, if encouraged by government interest,
could be enough to "touch off mass hysteria and panic."

Particularly in the 1950s, the Cold War heightened this somewhat
obsessive concern with hiding any evidence of the CIA's
involvement, said Haines. Although the agency's UFO study group
did not see any security threat emerging directly out of flying
saucers themselves, even if they actually existed, the CIA was
deeply worried by the possibility that Soviet agents could use
UFOs as "a possible psychological warfare tool" or cloak a more
Earthly attack with fake UFO reports.

Tantalizingly, Haines also noted that at least one CIA Director,
Walter Bedell Smith, "wanted to know what use could be made of
the UFO phenomenon in connection with US psychological warfare
efforts." The report does not mention whether the agency
followed up on this opportunity to manipulate UFO reports in a
more sophisticated manner for its own purposes.

As the 1950s wore on, the CIA became even less interested in
UFOs in themselves and more concerned with covering up its own
early involvement with the phenomenon. In 1955, only the
possibility that the Soviets would eventually develop a flying
saucer of their own kept the investigations from ending

Meanwhile, ironically, the CIA had built its own "unidentified
flying object," the U-2 surveillance aircraft, and sightings of
these planes needed to be kept out of the media. According to
Haines, Air Force investigators were "careful not to reveal the
true cause" of U-2 sightings. However, having no other means of
explaining the encounters, it is likely the field agents were
forced either to lie or retreat into a suspicious silence.

The return of the repressed

Haines argues that this suspicious silence was not a good
strategy for the agency, but the established need for secrecy
left the CIA with little choice while fervor over the
government's role in "covering up" UFO information grew. Even
though the agency itself "had a declining interest in UFO cases"
by the late 1950s, it was still spending considerable resources
looking out for "the more sensational UFO reports and flaps" in
order to suppress them.

Ultimately, this policy backfired by highlighting the CIA's role
in investigation -- or the ominous cover-up thereof -- only to
"add fuel to the growing mystery surrounding UFOs." UFO
researchers blamed the agency for starting the UFO flap of the
1950s for psychological warfare purposes, and the idea proved so
persuasive that even CIA Director Stansfield Turner asked his
staff whether the agency was "in UFOs" after reading a 1979 New
York Times article.

At the end, Haines concluded, the tactics of silence and
repression were a failure. "The UFO issue probably will not go
away soon, no matter what the agency does or says. The belief
that we are not alone in the universe is too emotionally
appealing and the distrust of our government is too pervasive to
make the issue amenable to traditional scientific studies of
rational explanation and evidence."

Indeed, much of that "distrust" was the CIA's own doing, and the
benefits appear to have been limited. Despite the agency's best
efforts to keep UFO reports out of the media, according to
Haines, "an extraordinary 95 percent of all Americans have at
least heard or read something about UFOs, and 57 percent believe
they are real."

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