For many years, UFO champions have been at odds over the topic of why the US government keeps information about UFOs a secret. In the mid-1970s, several individuals associated with the Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) group, used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel a number of government agencies to release their files about the UFO phenomenon.
The UFO documents released came from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI and the National Security Agency. The collection of CIA UFO files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act focuses on the subject from the 1940s through to the early 1990s. The NSA UFO documents were located in response to numerous requests sent to the NSA on the subject of UFOs.
In 1980, the NSA was involved in civil action named Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy v. National Security Agency. According to Sci Forums, during the trial, the defense relied heavily on the testimony of an NSA worker called Eugene Yates.
The writer continues that the prosecution were not permitted to view the testimony. Instead, it was only the judge who got to see the affidavit. Based on this testimony, the judge apparently ruled in favor of the NSA. The defense never got to hear the argument to why UFO documents must remain top secret.
State Department UFO Files
On the Department of State Freedom of Information Act website there are a number of documents concerning UFOs from the Defense Intelligence Agency. The once unclassified documents inform of numerous cases related to UFO sightings. For example, one of the papers dated March 3, 1997, refers to hundreds of witnesses, including embassy employees, who reported seeing up to seven objects moving quickly across the sky on the coast not far from Grantley Adams International Airport in the eastern Caribbean. A pilot who reportedly saw the objects while flying his aircraft at 8,000 feet said he was “convinced they were not man-made”.
Another unclassified Department of State document of the same date reports about the ‘Grenadian UFO Resolution’ of November 1978. The report talks about Grenada’s first Prime Minister, Eric Gairy, addressing the Special Political Committee (SPC) about introducing a resolution which would establish an expert group to set guidelines for a UN study on UFOs.
Gairy was followed by other speakers, all of whom were in favor of a “UN Clearinghouse” for the exchange of data and coordination of research on UFOs. The document goes on to state that the speakers were supplemented by a short firm which comprised of still and motion picture purporting to depict actual sightings of UFOs.
It was Gairy”s “deep personal conviction” that the subject of UFOs was one of “worldwide importance and significance” and one which warranted “very serious consideration by the United Nations”.
Freedom of Information
So why exactly did the US government keep its UFO data and reports so secret? It seems it was only in the wake of UFO believers using the FOIA which compelled the government to make the reports public knowledge.
In 2013, the CIA released a declassified document about the existence of the controversial Area 51 in Nevada. In the documents, the CIA admitted that Area 51, the US airbase rumored to house UFOs, exists. The existence of Area 51 had been, as the Telegraph states, a “badly kept secret for decades”.
The prospect of strange UFO goings on occurring at a US airbase naturally fueled the imaginations of UFO believers and conspiracy theorists. It was also believed that a covert military operation may have been occurring at Area 51 and that secret weapons were being developed there.
Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow at the George Washington University’s National Security Archive who obtained the records, said the release of the documents suggests the CIA is becoming less secretive about the facility’s existence. Similar to how the other once classified documents were released, these papers were made public in response to a Freedom of Information request in 2005.
Is the Government Covering Up Secrets?
The files describe how the facility had been used during World War II as an aerial gunnery for the Army Corp pilots. The base then became central in the development of the U-2 spy plane. The documents also mention one of the jobs that staff at the site had to perform during the 60s was routine vacuum of the runway to enable experimental aircraft to take off without being damaged.
It seems that Area 51’s secrecy was bred by the fact the US military was conducting covert experiments at the base and not because there was untoward UFO activity occurring.
Due to pressure from UFO enthusiasts who cite the Freedom of Information Act as an instrument to get the information released, there has been a recent push to make UFO documentation public. For example, in 2009, Top Secret Writers wrote a report about how the UK decided to release its UFO files.
In November last year, we wrote about the Peru Air Force reviving its UFO department to bring credibility back to sightings.
There will always be some who believe secrets are being withheld from the public. However, with the UFO files release it seems those who have triumphed are the ones pining for a more open government.