The truth is out there, and apparently the CIA has known a little about it and the sketchy goings-on in the skies for quite a while. This week they released thousands of documents saying as much, but it isn’t the first time we’ve learned a little about how our government is handling issues of an unknown nature.
If you’re a fan of Jimmy Kimmel you know that every time he has a U.S. President on his show he asks the same questions about UFOs. When former President Bill Clinton appeared, Kimmel asked if he looked into UFOs and Clinton admitted, “sort of.” The first thing Clinton said he did was have people look into Area 51 to see if there was an alien “down there” because he saw it in a movie and wanted to be sure. The beginning of his second term marked a major anniversary of the alleged Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash in 1947 that began a larger public curiosity around the paranormal. Clinton had all of the Roswell papers reviewed and many were declassified at that time.
“If you saw that there were aliens there would you tell us?” Kimmel asked Clinton.
“Yeah,” he answered simply, his face looking genuinely earnest.
I think, look, what do we know? We know now we live in an ever-expanding universe. We know that there are billions of stars and planets out there and the universe is getting bigger. We know from our fancy telescopes that just in the last two years more than twenty planets have been identified outside of our solar system that seem to be far enough away from their suns and dense enough that they might be able to support some form of life. So, it makes it increasingly less likely that we’re alone.
Clinton went on to say that he’s curious if we’ll be visited some day but really hopes it’s not like the film “Independence Day.”
President Obama said that Kimmel’s need to know is exactly why he would never be president. “The aliens wouldn’t let it happen, because you’d reveal all of their secrets. They exercise strict control over us,” Obama said laughing. While he refused to reveal anything, Kimmel pushed further talking about the Clinton interview and that Clinton was willing to admit there was nothing there. “Well, that’s what we’re instructed to say,” Obama replied with a smile.
Now it seems both Presidents may have been a little right because the CIA has declassified thousands of documents on its website about UFOs since the 1940s. The CIA said in a statement
To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting. Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity. We also pulled five documents we think his skeptical partner, Agent Dana Scully, could use to prove there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings.
It’s an interesting development because X-Files creator Chris Carter said in a recent promotional interview for the new revival of the series that he was always fearful that the FBI was going to shut down the show for getting a little too close to the truth. Carter told the Huffington Post
I had someone come up to me during the original run of the series, who said they worked in some high place in a secret government agency, [and] said that we were very close to the truth. I didn’t know whether to take that person at their word or not. I can tell you this: When I wrote the  pilot, I called the FBI to do some research, and they were nice enough, but didn’t really give me the time of day. Then, all of a sudden, as we got close to airing, the FBI called and said, ‘Who are you and what are you doing?’ And for a second, I thought it was going to be the long arm of the law coming in to shut me down.
When you dive into the documents you find a variety of fascinating things from sightings to government curiosity to photos taken by citizens given to the agency. The minutes of an August 1952 meeting (PDF) with Branch Chief Steele reveals what appears to be one of the first fact-finding missions of the agency to look into UFO sightings. The report reads:
ATIC has the job of finding out about flying saucers and keeping records is responsible for getting information for CIA. All members of the P&E Division are to look into the project and see what they can contribute to this problem.
It goes on to instruct appointed representatives to “get a past history of what has been found out in the field of meteorology, radar and other sciences.”
In this document (PDF), there appears to be a correspondence between someone who was doing his own independent collection of information on possible UFO items scientists have been studying. “These scientists include some who have been associated with the agency for years and whose credentials remove them from the ‘nut’ variety.”
It may seem a redundant reminder but UFO simply stands for an unidentified flying object. While it has become synonymous with aliens, many sightings, especially outside of Area 51, can be solved when documents like these are declassified explaining work being done on experimental aircraft for military purposes. Such was the case with some documents from the National Security Administration (PDF) which tell of the unintended consequence Project Blue Book caused with an increase of UFO sightings while they were testing the U-2 spy plane.
Another incident of an object falling out of the sky was associated with a Soviet satellite (PDF) that crashed in Canada. Other documents are simply reports of UFO sightings over Spain and north Africa, what was then the Belgim Congo and Germany. Some are even scans of what appear to be scholarly articles talking about a youth poll on religious issues in the former Soviet Union from 1989 (PDF) that explains “a majority (80 percent) are interested in questions linked to mysterious phenomena of nature and the human mind (UFOs, telepathy, telekinesis, the biofield, and the like.)”
Some of these are interesting for historic purposes but none of them reveal anything that gives meaningful answers about the Earth being contacted from another civilization. Like the real X-Files, all it does is continue to ask more questions. Are we alone in the universe? Who are we? Why are we here? Even, what happens next?
The poster that hangs on Mulder’s office wall reads “I want to believe.” It’s not “I believe” it’s about wanting to believe. As a human civilization we have always moved forward toward discovery. We crawled out of the caves, we stood upright, we sailed west and we reached for the skies. There is nothing more human than wanting to find answers to the greatest questions we have asked since we drew them on the walls of caves. While there are no answers in this stack of papers from the CIA, we will search on, forever desperate for the truth. Let’s hope it’s out there.
Check out some of these photos and the videos below:
Watch both Presidents Clinton and Obama talk about UFO’s with Kimmel below:
Images via newly released CIA documents