Updated: 23rd April 2018

Finally! CIA Releases ‘X-Files’ Docs, Details ‘How To Investigate’ UFOs

An odd thing happened this past week involving the real CIA, some fictional FBI agents and the oft-disputed truth about this country’s investigation into UFOs.

Just three days prior to the long-awaited return of “The X-Files,” the Central Intelligence Agency posted two rather extraordinary items on its official site.

Under the agency’s News & Information page, an article titled “Take A Peek Into Our ‘X-Files'” appeared. According to the description, hundreds of formerly secret documents were declassified in 1978, “detailing the agency’s investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The documents date primarily from the late 1940s and 1950s.”

By latching on to the saga of Special Agents Mulder and Scully, the CIA is using the fictional FBI series in an unlikely bid for public goodwill, especially from the UFO community, a group that almost automatically accuses the government of conspiring to cover-up the truth. 

As the CIA says on its site:

To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting. … You will find five documents we think ‘X-Files’ character Agent 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.

The truth is out there; click on the links to find it.

Readers can then pour through a collection of documents running the gamut between flying saucer reports, official memos and advisory panel reports from the 1950s.

As if that weren’t enough, the CIA ends the page with “Do you want to believe? Then find out how to investigate a flying saucer.” Off you go to the next lengthy treatment that begins with a re-telling of a famous 1964 UFO close encounter, in which a New Mexico police officer reports seeing a football-shaped craft on the ground. 

In the report description, the CIA describes the account of officer Lonnie Zamora outside of Socorro, New Mexico. The CIA quotes Air Force Maj. Hector Quintanilla — the last chief officer of Project Blue Book, the Air Force’s long-term UFO investigation — who was in charge of the Socorro case. According to the new CIA X-File, Quintanilla said this was “the best documented case on record.” The CIA adds that the Zamora incident “remains unsolved.”

The introduction to the document doesn’t mention the most extraordinary part of the sighting: According to the initial report, “two persons in apparent white coveralls” appeared near the strange flying object and eventually disappeared, presumably entering the object before it rose up and sped away. See an image of the original FBI teletype below. 


In addition to the Socorro report, the CIA posts the following instructions:

10 Tips When Investigating A Flying Saucer:

1. Establish a Group To Investigate and Evaluate Sightings

2. Determine the Objectives of Your Investigation

3. Consult With Experts

4. Create a Reporting System To Organize Incoming Cases

5. Eliminate False Positives

6. Develop Methodology To Identify Common Aircraft and Other Aerial Phenomena Often Mistaken for UFOs

7. Examine Witness Documentation

8. Conduct Controlled Experiments

9. Gather and Test Physical and Forensic Evidence

10. Discourage False Reporting

In item #5 (above), the CIA cites a 1998 report that suggests how “some common explanations for UFO sightings…included misidentified aircrafts (the U-2, A-12 and SR-71 flights accounted for more than half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s and most of the 1960s).”

It’s not that we’re nit-picking the fact that the CIA referred (above) to more than one aircraft as “aircrafts” — but UFO researchers are questioning the accuracy of that 1998 assessment about UFO sightings mistaken for U-2 flights.

Bruce Maccabee, a retired Navy optical physicist, and UFO researcher, is one who questions the U-2’s role in the frequency of UFO sightings. 

“Their claim is straightforward, that, once the U-2 started flying, more than 50 percent of UFO sightings were actually of the high-flying U-2 (spy aircraft). But if you look at the actual statistics, the number of sightings reported per month, for three years before and after, you find there’s no big increase as a result of the U-2 flights,” Maccabee told The Huffington Post.

“Oddly enough, according to the official government’s Condon report statistics, there were 430 [UFO] sightings in 10 months before the U-2 started flying, and 430 during the 10 months after. That astonished me as much as anybody else. To claim that more than 50 percent of sightings [were reported] after the U-2 started flying, is a complete canard.”

The Condon report that Maccabee refers to was the University of Colorado UFO Project, funded by the Air Force in the late 1960s to evaluate UFOs. The director of the study, physicist Edward Condon, concluded that there was nothing of scientific interest to warrant any further examination of UFOs.

 The following video shows several top secret aircraft that may have been occasionally mistaken for UFOs:

During a four-decade Naval career, Maccabee, pictured below, worked on control systems as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative and Ballistic Missile Defense, using high power lasers. 

“My work for the Navy had nothing to do with UFOs. I wasn’t employed by the CIA or the FBI, and all of my UFO case analyses were carried out on my own time. Everything I did regarding UFO investigations, analyses, historical research, etc. was unclassified,” Maccabee said.

Jan Maccabee

Maccabee maintains that none of his Navy superiors ever suggested he tone down his UFO research. “They said they didn’t care what I did in my spare time, ‘but just leave the Navy lab out of it.’ From that point on, Maccabee relied on his skills in optical data processing when he was asked to analyze the visual components of UFO cases.

“There are things I did that a few other people could have done, I suppose, because of the required knowledge. Aside from having an ability to interview people — listening to what they say and deduce stuff from it — I had to be both a historian and a physicist.”  

UFOs? Maybe They’re Just…

UFOs? Maybe They’re Just…



Sky Lanterns Mistaken For UFOs
Chinese or sky lanterns are often misidentified as UFOs. These three were part of a large group of lanterns that was the main event of the 2013 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan on Feb. 24, 2013.


Sky Lanterns Mistaken For UFOs
Chinese or sky lanterns are often misidentified as UFOs. These three were part of a large group of lanterns that was the main event of the 2013 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan on Feb. 24, 2013.

More Chinese Lanterns, aka UFOs
These candle-lit Chinese lanterns can rise high into the sky and are often mistaken for UFOs.
China Photos / Getty Images

Kentucky UFO — Oct. 16, 2012
Amateur astronomer Allen Epling captured video and images of a cylindrical object in the sky above his Virgie, Ky., home on Oct. 16, 2012. This is one of the images he took, which led many to believe the object was a high-flying solar balloon.
Allen Epling / YouTube

Manufactured UFO — 2011
Pictured is a quad copter — a deliberately manufactured UFO created by special effects wizard Marc Dantonio for a National Geographic special, “The Truth Behind: UFOs,” which aired in December 2011. On the left is what the small device looks like resting on the ground, measuring 4 feet in circumference. At right, is how it appeared behind a tree in the night sky.
Marc Dantonio / FX Models / YouTube

Boomerang UFO composite images — 10-5-12
This is a composite of images shot by two eyewitnesses of a boomerang-shaped UFO they reported seeing over their Burbank, Calif., home on Oct. 5, 2012. Mutual UFO Network photo/video analyst Marc Dantonio concluded the object was likely “a balloon, floating on the wind that has collapsed in half.”
Mutual UFO Network

Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 2013
This is a composite image of how three alleged UFOs maneuvered about in the sky over Melbourne, Australia, in early February, 2013. The final verdict isn’t in yet on whether they’re birds, aircraft, balloons, bugs or something truly unidentified.
FindingUFO / YouTube

Exploding Weather Balloons, Not UFOs
On Dec. 20, 2012, a bright, circular object (pictured at the top of this composite image) was videotaped exploding in the skies above Sacramento, Calif. It wasn’t immediately identified, resulting in speculation that it was either an alien spacecraft, military top secret weapon, runaway planet, North Korean satellite, among others. Within a short period of time, it became apparent that this was a weather balloon. The bottom part of this image shows such a balloon as it ascended over Tampa Bay, Fla., on July 2, 2012, and exploded in an identical manner as the Sacramento object, probably much to the dismay of all true ET believers out there.
CBSNews13 / Sutor 1000 / YouTube

Changing UFO Pattern — Warren, Mich. 1-10-13
This four-image series of lights in the sky was recorded over Warren, Mich., on Jan. 10, 2013. The lights were seen changing into several patterns. The most logical explanation for these types of UFOs is a series of balloons or lanterns.
LUFOS.net / YouTube

UFOs Over Earth
This composite image shows four different times that alleged UFO were photographed above Earth by either space shuttles or the International Space Station. The big question is whether or not they are truly unidentified objects or if they are more likely reflections from spacecraft windows, meteors or fast-moving spacecraft-generated debris.
danielofdoriaa / YouTube

Pink UFOs Or Lens Flares?
What appear to be pink-red UFOs are actually lens flares from the Google Earth street view camera as it snapped images in Texas (left) and New Mexico (right).
2012 Google

Lens flares Arizona
These two flying saucer-shaped, pink-colored lens flares were created by the Google Maps camera as it drove through locations in Sedona, Ariz. (left) and Flagstaff, Ariz. (right). The images were snapped in April 2009. Submitted to HuffPost by trenna.
2012 Google

Lens flare Whiteriver, Ariz.
This skybound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in June 2008 over Whiteriver, Ariz. Submitted to Huffington Post by Cheryl Weeks.
2012 Google

Lens flare Gulfport, Miss.
This very Earthbound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in November 2007 at Gulfport, Miss. Submitted to Huffington Post by Jenni Parker.
2012 Google

Lens flare Eureka Springs, Ark.
This seemingly grounded lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in January 2008 at Eureka Springs, Ark. Submitted to Huffington Post by SE.
2012 Google

Lens flare Escanaba, Mich.
This lens flare appears to be following a car. The Google Maps image was created in October 2008 at Escanaba, Mich. Submitted to Huffington Post by Mary Robinson.
2012 Google

Cincinnati Skydivers NOT UFOs Sept. 28, 2012
On the night of Sept. 28, 2012, a group of strange-looking lights appeared in the sky near Cincinnati, Ohio. First there was one, then, two, then three lights, slowly descending. It turns out, however, that these lights were originating from a group of skydivers performing a pyrotechnics jump at the La Salle High School homecoming event.
Galuyasdi / YouTube

Weather Phenomenon
Some UFO sightings may be due to a natural phenomenon known as sprites, like this one shown from 2006. “Lightning from [a] thunderstorm excites the electric field above, producing a flash of light called a sprite,” said geophysicist Colin Price.
ILAN Science Team / Space.com

Clouds: Saucer-shaped or “lenticular” clouds that form at high altitudes have been confused with UFOs.
Getty Images

Blimps or Advertising Balloons
Blimps or advertising balloons: These can look like flying saucers from some angles, especially at night.
Lars Baron, Bongarts / Getty Images

Sunken Ship in the Baltic Sea
On June 19th the Swedish-based diving company Ocean Explorer discovered something they’ve never quite seen before. They were exploring in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland looking for sunken treasures when a very unusual image suddenly appeared on the sonar. A 197 feet diameter cylinder shaped object was discovered at the depth of approximately 275 feet which resembles the Millennium Falcon from the movie Star Wars.
www.oceanexplorer.se / Everett Collection

Baltic Sea UFO 1
An image released on June 15, 2012, shows a close-up view of the unidentified object sitting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Expressen.se / YouTube

Baltic Sea UFO 2
Close-up of rock bed that forms the Baltic Sea UFO, which still mystifies researchers.
Expressen.se / YouTube

Baltic Sea UFO 3
One of several odd stone circle formations, sitting on top of the unidentified object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Expressen.se / YouTube

Antarctic UFO — Aug. 10, 2012
A circular UFO hovers above the Neumayer-Station III research facility in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2012. Theories ranging from a simple weather balloon to a more elaborate ship from another planet have run the Internet gamut. The next slide shows a closeup of the object.
myunhauzen74 / YouTube

Antarctic UFO Closeup — Aug. 10, 2012
This is a closeup of the UFO from the previous slide. No official explanation has been offered about the object.
myunhauzen74 / YouTube

Meteors: Space debris can create a spectacular light show when it burns through the Earth’s atmosphere, and sometimes reported as UFOs.
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Civilian or Military Aircraft
Civilian or military aircraft: Planes can look mysterious at night or in certain light conditions, thus confusing an observer.
Sean Cole, US Navy / Getty Images

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