Thursday, January 08, 2015

"CIA UFO Claim: It Has United UFO Skeptics and Proponents in Proclaiming It Untrue"

CIA's Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane
CIA's Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane

Did CIA U2 flights really cause 50% of UFO Sightings?

By Robert Sheaffer

     Once again, the claim has resurfaced that, during the 1950s and 60s, high-altitude CIA manned reconnaissance flights involving the U-2 and the later SR-71 were responsible for half of all UFO sightings.

This claim is now all over the internet, and treated in the usual uncritical manner. . . .

. . . One thing this CIA UFO claim has accomplished: it has united UFO skeptics and proponents in proclaiming it untrue. We might agree on little else, except that this claim is nonsense.

The claim is contained in a report issued by the CIA, The CIA and the U2 Program, 1954-1974. The once-secret document was written back in 1998. In it (on PDF (not document) page 84-85):
"High-altitude testing of the U2 soon led to an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects. In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet and military aircraft like the B47s and B57s operated 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.”
Can that claim be substantiated? Nope. . . .

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