CIA Releases Trove of Previously Classified UFO Intel


Jan 14, 2021


Image Credit: cia.gov

Approximately 2,700 pages detailing all that the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) knows about unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have just been made available on the online archive, Black Vault, for public consumption. They chronicle, among other events, mysterious explosions in a Russian town, where people “supposedly saw a moving fiery sphere,” and a sighting near Baku, Azerbaijan, where an individual saw “a shadowy form above the horizon” that “appeared to be shaped like a partially deflated balloon with a slight dome on top.” 

The Black Vault, founded by John Greenewald, Jr., has “spent years” fighting for these documents, the website states, and has finally been able to purchase a CD-ROM of the UFO documents in 2020. “Although the CIA claims this is their ‘entire’ collection, there may be no way to entirely verify that,” Greenwald writes on the website. 

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Why did the CIA suddenly agree to sell its records related to UFO sightings? The impetus came in the form of a US$2.3 trillion Covid19 spending bill that included legislation to make the Pentagon divulge information about its UFO task force. In less than six months, the government is set to receive the agency’s UFO report. In the meantime, Greenwald has released all of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) — the term the government uses to refer to UFOs — documents in downloadable form on the Black Vault, after a process of acquisition that he describes to Vice was “like pulling teeth.… I received a large box, of a couple thousand pages, and I had to scan them in one page at a time.”

He adds, “The CIA has made it INCREDIBLY difficult to use their records in a reasonable manner. They offer a format that is very outdated (multi-page .tif) and offer text file outputs, largely unusable, that I think they intend to have people use as a ‘search’ tool.  In my opinion, this outdated format makes it very difficult for people to see the documents, and use them, for any research purpose.”

While the documents don’t make clear exactly what this archive was used for within the CIA and don’t prove (or disprove) the presence of UFOs, Greenwald says his decision to make these documents public had a simple incentive behind it: “Plain and simple, the public has a right to know. … I feel I am achieving what I set out to do. Easy access, to important material, for people to make up their own minds on what is going on.”


Written By Rajvi Desai

Rajvi Desai is The Swaddle’s Culture Editor. After graduating from NYU as a Journalism and Politics major, she covered breaking news and politics in New York City, and dabbled in design and entertainment journalism. Back in the homeland, she’s interested in tackling beauty, sports, politics and human rights in her gender-focused writing, while also co-managing The Swaddle Team’s podcast, Respectfully Disagree.


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