The decade's most triggering comedy
Forget that headline. The one in the U.K.’s Sun newspaper last week was waaaay better.
“CIA’s declassified UFO documents are now online as ‘Black Vault’ reveals ‘mystery explosions’ and ‘contact with aliens,’” said the paper.
If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can read all 2,780 pages at The Vault website, which detail observations of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), the government’s preferred term for Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). But we’ll run through the good ones detailed by the Sun and another British paper, the Daily Mail.
“An ongoing DailyMail.com review of the files has uncovered a bevy of perplexing – yet unverified – accounts of mysterious disks tracking across the sky, spewing beams of light across small towns, causing explosions and even a few claims of military officers confronting aliens that come out of outlandish vehicles,” the Mail wrote. “Other documents show correspondence between CIA officers about the UFO sightings. Sometimes the officers brush off observers’ stories as purely superstitious, even when another explanation isn’t clear. But in several instances the officers show genuine concern that perhaps something … is at play.”
For instance, in 1985, a Russian airliner crew describes coming within 50 kilometers of a yellow disk that was shooting out beams of light while flying over Belarus.
Decades earlier, in 1953, a Swedish pilot and flight mechanic spotted a “completely unorthodox, metallic object” flying at “the speed of sound” outside Stockholm. A CIA report from April 1954 includes three newspaper articles about a purported UFO sighting five months earlier in Sweden, the Mail wrote.
Meanwhile, the Sun wrote that “within the pages are a bizarre story of a mysterious explosion in a small Russian town.” “Residents reported seeing a ‘moving fiery sphere,’ sparking UFO fears, but local military men concluded that a store of ammonium nitrate was the source of the blast. The CIA’s investigation was inconclusive.”
Another file details a dispute with a Bosnian fugitive who claimed to have made contact with aliens.
John Greenewald Jr., who operates the Black Vault website, says one incident piqued his interest — “a report about seemingly urgent UFO information being hand-delivered to an Assistant Deputy Director for Science & Technology at the CIA in April 1976. Most details about the information were redacted in the document, but Greenewald said he is determine [sic] to uncover more through further FOIA requests,” wrote the Mail.
The order to release the information within 180 days was part of the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump last month. “The provision received very little attention in part because it wasn’t included in the text of the 5,593-page legislation, but as a ‘committee comment’ attached to the annual intelligence authorization act, which was rolled into the massive bill,” Fox News reported.
The comment, which came from the Senate Intelligence Committee — of which Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is acting chairman — instructed the director of national intelligence, secretary of defense, “and the heads of such other agencies” to “submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena.”