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Government The Military United States

CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us' 197

mrflash818 sends word that the CIA has taken the blame for a majority of early UFO sightings. In a tweet, the agency said, "It was us," and linked to a document summarizing their use of U-2 spy planes from 1954-1974 (PDF). "High-altitude testing of the U-2led to an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects," the CIA wrote in the document, which it wrote in 1998. "In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet and [many] military aircraftoperated at altitudes below 40,000 feet. Consequently, once U-2s started flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet, air-traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports." [T]he CIA cross-referenced UFO sightings to U-2 flight logs. "This enabled the investigators to eliminate the majority of the UFO reports," the CIA wrote, "although they could not reveal to the letter writers the true cause of the UFO sightings."
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CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us'

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  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by halivar ( 535827 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [reglefb]> on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @04:48PM (#48699045)

    If I was a Sleestak alien overlord, that's exactly what I would say.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @04:49PM (#48699049) Homepage

    But it was aliens.

    (BTW, what happened to the other half?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But it was aliens.

      (BTW, what happened to the other half?

      Ask their overlord , Im not saying it was aliens but it was that crazy Alien with the weird hair on H2.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Russian spy planes. What do you think the CIA was looking for?

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:22PM (#48699271)

      )

      There it is.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:22PM (#48699279)

      Weather Balloons - Swamp Gas - Reflections of the Sun against ice particles in clouds - The planet Venus, Mars, Jupiter - Sputnik II - The Jupiter II - The USS Enterprise - that just about covers it...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        pics or it didn't happen [tumblr.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Weather Balloons - Swamp Gas - Reflections of the Sun against ice particles in clouds - The planet Venus, Mars, Jupiter - Sputnik II - The Jupiter II - The USS Enterprise - that just about covers it...

        "just about covers it" you say.. I wonder what the rest were? Especially the silent ones flying in formation with large panels on their bottoms flashing bright primary colors that I saw go right over my head at night at perhaps 50 feet off the ground in the direction of Mt. Rainier, which about 10 minutes later were followed by two Air Force jets at slow speed but higher up. Then a while later what sounded like helicopters with strong search lights flew around over the forest to the side of the house where

        • Maybe the aliens were heading up to Mt. Rainier to do some UFO skiing.
        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          Say what you will, but at the very least there is tech flying/floating around this world that no Government is yet admitting to having.

          Since about 1917, that has been true every day. Though more so since the 1950's.

        • I saw something in the early 80s. I'm not trying to ascribe them to an extraterrestrial origin but they were peculiar.

          What I saw wasn't a group of U2 planes in formation. I suppose it could have been A-12 Avenger IIs, but there's no evidence that they ever fielded airworthy aircraft. So, they're still unknown to me and thus it's accurate to call them UFOs.

          What's funny to me is that even though I didn't know it at the time, they were moving away from an area with a nuclear research facility that employs a fa

        • by hawk ( 1151 )

          > I wonder what the rest were? Especially the silent ones flying in formation with large panels on their
          >bottoms flashing bright primary colors that I saw go right over my head at night at perhaps 50 feet off the
          >ground in the direction of Mt. Rainier,

          lysergic acid diethylamide :)

          hawk

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      But it was aliens.

      H1B visa issues?

      Other than that, this U2/UFO thing has been kicking around for years. When first reading the headline, I'm thinking why did the CIA have say "it was us" (like why ruin a good story with facts)?

  • That makes sense. Doesn't explain the Men in Black.
  • It's best to get in front of these PR issues...
  • I'm skeptical about aliens in UFOs, but I'm also skeptical that U2 aircraft were responsible.
    • Re:Skeptical (Score:4, Interesting)

      by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:14PM (#48699221)
      U2 aircraft are responsible for some. F-117 stealth fighters were responsible for quite a few too -- they were operational for over a decade before it was publically acknowledged they existed.
    • Re:Skeptical (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:35PM (#48699363) Journal

      As someone who once worked for Project Senior Trend, the sibling post has it dead-on.

      It was much preferable for the USAF to have folks think that ET stopped by, than to let them realize that what they were really seeing were F-117s flying overhead (mind you, nearly all sorties were done at night, but things happen, and dawn/dusk is kind of an awkward time, at least visually.) In profile (side or front/rear), the jet has a saucer-like shape, and definitely something that doesn't look like an ordinary civilian or military aircraft. Funny enough, the Soviets were more than happy to foster and even encourage alien conspiracy theories, if only to keep their own population from thinking that they saw some secret military project flying overhead.

      Other notable examples of military aircraft that would cause confusion and optical illusions? The SR-71/A-12 in its early days, the B-47 flying wing, and its grandkid, the B-2 bomber.

      • Re:Skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Beck_Neard ( 3612467 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @07:18PM (#48700209)

        The SR-71 - which moved about 3x as fast as almost all military aircraft at the time - was first tested around the early 1960's. Then there was suddenly a surge of sightings of triangle-shaped ufos blazing around at mach 3 speeds, which _obviously_ couldn't have been from a military jet because no military jet went that fast.

  • I have always thought it was bunk until now.

    This right here though is kind of hard to ignore, since we know the CIA has never told the truth to the American people about anything unless congress speciifcally drags it out of them or there is a leak....so....I think its safe to assume that none of these incidents were them, and in fact, they can't rule any out....and even the fact that they are commenting on this strongly implies a coverup.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      This right here though is kind of hard to ignore, since we know the CIA has never told the truth to the American people about anything unless congress speciifcally drags it out of them or there is a leak....so....I think its safe to assume that none of these incidents were them, and in fact, they can't rule any out....and even the fact that they are commenting on this strongly implies a coverup.

      You realize, of course, that for anyone following your logic, the CIA can get them to believe whatever the CIA wants them to believe, simply by stating the opposite.

      If you really don't trust the CIA to tell the truth (and I don't blame you for that), the rational response is to ignore anything the CIA says, since there is no way to tell whether it's true or not. Always believing the opposite of what they say is just as bad as always believing what they say.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        > You realize, of course, that for anyone following your logic, the CIA can get

        You realize, of course, that ..... It's a joke son, youre supposed to laugh.

        > You realize, of course, that for anyone following your logic, the CIA can get

        I prefer making fun of it and attacking their credibility humorously.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:11PM (#48699205) Homepage
    Wait till they declassify the Elvis sighting reports... It was really President JFK, disguised by plastic surgery after he secretly resigned !
  • by cornicefire ( 610241 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:14PM (#48699217)
    What about the other 49%? Are they real aliens? Or just NSA? Or some other TLA?
  • by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:21PM (#48699269)
    If so, it's pretty funny that the UFOs actually were based at Area 51 :)
    • Area 51 is US Air Force Base. So yes. Secret planes were flying too and from that base. Since the planes were sercret. They were literally UFO's to people not in on the sercret.
  • What I'm not getting: OK, so there's a new kind of plane up there, flying especially high. Does it look that much more like a UFO than other planes? Up that high, isn't it just a speck? People are calling in to report, "Look, I saw a speck in the sky, it must be aliens"?

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      People are stupid. And the planes have to get up there somehow. And, shockingly, most UFO reports (in the proper sense of the term, not "aliens") are near military bases and airports.

      No doubt there are a million UFO reports because people were drunk, don't recognise Venus or there was a shiny bit on their windscreen.

      You can't explain away everything but this just confirms what we already know - experimental aircraft are often the cause and CANNOT be confirmed until declassified. And, by definition, they

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      People call in to report that they saw Venus and it must be aliens.

      The credible reports come from radar and pilots who report seeing things that move "impossibly" fast and high. Or from people who report seeing things flying that don't appear on radar. During the cold war people who saw something funny in the sky would call the air force to report it because it could be a soviet bomber! So when they got the answer "nope, there's nothing there".

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      At an unusual altitude, the distance will make the movements seem less natural, and your conscious and subconscious will argue over what you're really looking at.

    • Is it an object? Is it unidentified? Is it flying? Then it is by definition a UFO.

      That's literally all the criteria involved.

  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:25PM (#48699301)

    I am submitting a FOIA request to get that anal probe data.

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Holistic Missile ( 976980 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:44PM (#48699467)
    I guess this identification chart is now obsolete:

    http://xmb.stuffucanuse.com/xm... [stuffucanuse.com]
  • That's not fair, ok? Taking away our toy after we spent so many years explaining how THEY keep us in the dark and how THEY cover up everything, then come out with a perfectly reasonable explanation. But it's all just a plot! Plans within plans within plans. They just SAY that it was their now-no-longer-secret planes to make us think that they did hide something, that they had some good reason for it and now we're supposed to believe them telling us the truth just because it is rationally sane and makes perf

  • hmmm...no. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:53PM (#48699551) Journal

    This is such horseshit. Regardless of what you think of UFOs, of the hundreds of thousands of UFO sightings, many reported by military people, law enforcement and people trained to observe aircraft, hardly any of them resembled anything like a U2 spyplane.

    Last time I checked, a U2 spyplane was not really capable of hovering motionless and then accelerating to the horizon in a moment. Nor were they gigantic triangular craft.

    I don't think for a second that there are aliens from Ork involved with the UFO sightings that have been common for the last five millennia, but I doubt more than a handful were people who were seeing U2 spyplanes. Who knows fuck-all about what those UFOs really were or whether they were inside or outside the observers heads? But at the moment, I'm not prepared to believe a goddamn thing the CIA says about anything. In my opinion, they're a bigger threat to people's safety and sanity than practically any outside threat, including North Korea, Iran, Russia or Israel (who are all plenty bad),

    Now, if you want to tell me that the abductions people have been reporting for the past 40 years are the CIA, I may buy that, because they are some sadistic motherfuckers who love putting things up peoples' asses, as we have learned from recent government leaks. Yeah, anal probes, mutilations, etc, that sounds just like the CIA's speed.

    • Re:hmmm...no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @06:10PM (#48699727) Homepage

      Last time I checked, a U2 spyplane was not really capable of hovering motionless and then accelerating to the horizon in a moment. Nor were they gigantic triangular craft.

      Last time I checked, people were incredibly bad at objectively reporting what they see, and other people were incredibly bad at relating what the first people said they saw, and then other people get what they heard from the second people confused with something they saw on TV, and then yet more people read books by Erich Von Daniken

      What I find weird is that the kajillion-fold increase in personal video recording devices over the past few decades seems to have scared away all the UFOs. Why, a week hardly went by in the 1980s without a flap, but now...

      • You have a point.... People manage to catch all the stupid accidents, cute pets, and any other silly thing that happens and post it on youtube, by now someone should have some great footage of bigfoot or UFOs.

      • Re:hmmm...no. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @06:46PM (#48699985) Journal

        What I find weird is that the kajillion-fold increase in personal video recording devices over the past few decades seems to have scared away all the UFOs.

        Have you ever tried to record an aircraft from your cell phone? It really doesn't work.

        By your logic, if cell phone recording was the only way to establish something's reality, commercial aircraft don't exist either.

        • Have you ever tried to record an aircraft from your cell phone? It really doesn't work.

          What, are planes completely invisible on cell phone cameras? Did not know that. You can still capture something. An F-117 (not a big aircraft, really) at 10000 feet would (rough calc) cover 15 pixels on my 5mp non-zoom cell phone camera - possibly enough to identify shape. Certainly it would be enough to capture position and motion relative to landmarks and other useful information that could be used to clarify a UFO sighting.

          Also I didn't specify cell phone* - I just said video recording device. 10x zoom a

          • Did not know that. You can still capture something. An F-117 (not a big aircraft, really) at 10000 feet would (rough calc) cover 15 pixels on my 5mp non-zoom cell phone camera - possibly enough to identify shape.

            Give it a try. It's not the size, it's the lack of contrast looking into a daytime sky.

            By your logic, all I need to do is add my own invented clause to the phrase "by your logic", and show that any point you're trying to make is also ridiculous!

            Well, your argument did amount to, "If those UFO sight

        • Because cell phones are the only "personal video recording devices" in existence, right?

          https://www.youtube.com/channe... [youtube.com] would seem to indicate that getting videos of planes isn't exactly impossible.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          It doesn't matter how bad the recording would be, but there would be some. The end of film in the hand of consumers ended the era of UFO footage. Why is that?

          By your logic, if cell phone recording was the only way to establish something's reality, commercial aircraft don't exist either.

          Lots of aircraft crashes are caught on cell phone. I'm not going to bother to LMGTFY, because you are willfully ignorant. But there are thousands (if not millions) of clips of aircraft on YouTube. You assertion otherwise just shows insanity, not a reasonable argument.

          • It doesn't matter how bad the recording would be, but there would be some. The end of film in the hand of consumers ended the era of UFO footage. Why is that?

            That's not what happened. There are just as many digital pictures of UFOs as there ever were of film. They're posted all the time. Seen all the time. But without any sort of explanation or understanding, there's just less reason. MUFON gets so many new reports with photographic evidence that there just seems to be some fatigue among people talking

          • If you think the "era of UFO footage" is over, I would suggest taking a look at just a small fraction of the sightings (with pictures) that have occurred in the past few weeks.

            You can just go down the line on MUFON's news site and see one sighting after another. Like I said, I don't believe there are extraterrestrials visiting Earth in flying saucers, but there has been a surprisingly consistent number of UFO sightings for a long long time, dating back to before there was "science fiction" talking about fl

      • What I find weird is that the kajillion-fold increase in personal video recording devices over the past few decades seems to have scared away all the UFOs. Why, a week hardly went by in the 1980s without a flap, but now...

        Yeah, except... Take a look at the number of "real ghost-hunters" reality TV shows, for example, to see how a "kajillion-fold increase in personal video recording devices" has clearly contributed to people claiming to find all sorts of recorded "evidence" of weird crap. It's broadcast on TV every freakin' day, and clearly somebody must think some aspect of it is legit, or there wouldn't be so many shows about it.

        Interest in UFOs was a particular kind of fad. Everything from the clear increases in human

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          clearly somebody must think some aspect of it is legit, or there wouldn't be so many shows about it.

          TV shows are selected based on legitimacy. They're selected based on whether or not they are likely to get people to watch advertisements.

          • TV shows are selected based on legitimacy. They're selected based on whether or not they are likely to get people to watch advertisements.

            I'm assuming you meant "aren't" in that first sentence, and in that case, obviously you're right. Most TV is obviously fiction, for example.

            On the other hand, reality TV trades on the illusion of realism -- and if no one thought the people in those shows were actually in scary situations, potentially involving supernatural phenomena, then no one would watch them... And they wouldn't be able to sell advertising.

            I personally love a good ghost story, like I love a good fantasy or sci-fi story, but I'm abl

        • But, if anything, the interest in various kinds of cheap recording technology has led to even more wacky made-up supernatural crap

          Don't make the mistake that pop skeptics make that "unidentified" means "supernatural". It just means we don't know. The problem with people who think it's real skepticism to think this way is that we end up with the swamp gas theory, which is plenty wacky itself.

  • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @05:55PM (#48699581)

    Pay no attention to the torture, er I mean Enhance Interrogation Technique, er I mean EITs, yeah EIT's sounds better. Look UFO's!

    Never mind that we cruelly froze an innocent guy to death, UFO's!!!

    • by Snufu ( 1049644 )

      In the second part of the CIA report, they confirm all that torture recently attributed to the CIA actually was done by extra terrestrials.

    • Never mind that we cruelly froze an innocent guy to death...

      You would think that this is when they would have realized that they had overstepped their mandate.

  • Once the CIA has everyone believing the UFO sightings were actually spy planes, they'll be ready to blame all the upcoming CIA drone sightings on extra-terrestrial vehicles.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    ... exactly the sort of denial I'd expect if the CIA was run by the lizard people.

  • Sure, it flies high, but according to Wikipedia top speed is about 500 mph, and it's very unstable, it would definitely not be doing any fancy twists and turns. So you're talking about a tiny object flying fairly slow and straight at 70,000 feet. I don't see it attracting a lot of attention. The whole point of the plane was that the Soviets couldn't detect it(didn't work out so well, but most civilians aren't walking around with high-powered radar arrays)
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2014 @09:19PM (#48701059) Homepage

    If you look at one of those Internet compilations of Photos you really need to look at to understand [buzzfeed.com], it is very impressive just how confused you can be by chance juxtapositions of visual elements.

    #18 [buzzfed.com] is particularly interesting. It's not a precise juxtaposition. The shadow looks like the shadow of a flag; it's not shaped like the rug. You can understand intellectually what's happening in about five seconds. And yet it takes a real effort of will to perceive the rug is lying on the sand. Relax for an instant and it once again looks as if it is levitating.

  • This was made public a number of years ago.
  • This is a great example of unnecessary government secrecy leading to massively decreased trust in government, and the utility of government to be honest and to solve problems.

    The government had solid evidence that the reports were not bogus, and not unidentified, but they left people festering and ultimately distrusting government mostly or completely.

    And for what? These were flights over DOMESTIC soil. With regular citizens writing in. What is the possible harm vector? That a foreign national would sen

  • WTF does the aircraft flight ceiling have to do with anything? 20,000, 40,000, or 60,0000... The article seems to indicate that the rise in UFO's was due to spyplanes that flew at 60,000 feet. Sorry, if a spy plane is flying at 60,000 feet you won't even see it, that is kind of the point (and the fact that they are harder to detect and intercept). The only time UFO sightings would even be possible, would be when they come in to land or take off. Which would make sense if the sighting were situated around a

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