The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released thousands of previously classified documents
on unidentified flying objects (UFO) this week. The documents were made available to the public on the Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents.
The site’s founder, John Greenewald Jr., reportedly purchased from the CIA the disc containing the previously released UFO records as well as those the Black Vault was attempting to unseal.
According to reports, the massive trove of UFO data included some declassified documents dating back as far as the 1970s. But some of the documents were difficult to read and it was unclear what exactly they were used for.
Greenewald told Vice.com that the intelligence agency put the documents together in an “outdated” format that makes it hard to parse the collection.
In addition, Greenewald said that he had to file around 10,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports to obtain the PDFs in an excruciatingly long process. He then had to scan the documents by hand.
"Around 20 years ago, I had fought for years to get additional UFO records released from the CIA," Greenewald said. "It was like pulling teeth. I went around and around with them to try and do so, finally achieving it. I received a large box, of a couple thousand pages, and I had to scan them in one page at a time."
Now, he has over 2,700 pages of information collected and recorded by government agencies over the course of decades
. He willingly shared them to the world, but the world may find it difficult to understand.
"Researchers and curious minds alike prefer simplicity and accessibility when they look at data dumps such as these," Greenewald said. "The CIA has made it incredibly difficult to use their records in a reasonable manner. They offer a format that is very outdated and offer text file outputs, largely unusable, that I think they intend to have people use as a 'search' tool. In my opinion, this outdated format makes it very difficult for people to see the documents, and use them, for any research purpose."
The documents included a report about the mysterious explosions in a Russian town, as well as a first-hand account of a strange sighting of a flying object near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
One of the most interesting documents involved the assistant deputy director for science and technology being hand-delivered some pieces of information on a UFO in the 1970s.
According to Greenewald, there have been thousands of downloads within the first 24 hours of the release.
Senate wants to know if UFOs pose threat
The UFO sightings seemed to have caught the attention of the lawmakers, as well.
As part of the recent coronavirus stimulus packaged signed into lay by former President Trump, the Senate’s intelligence committee has asked intelligence agencies to submit reports on any unidentified aerial phenomena and any links they have to “adversarial foreign governments” and “the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations.” (Related: Classified UFO info must be disclosed within 6 months according to newly signed bill
Prior to that, on Aug. 4, 2020, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist had also approved the establishment of a UAP Task Force (UAPTF).
The Department of Defense
(DOD) is establishing the UAPTF to improve its understanding of and gain insight into the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.
Three videos that were leaked from and eventually released by the DOD in April of last year showing unidentified objects encountered during pilot training flights. The pilots could be heard noting the speed and shapes of the objects.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who leads the Senate intelligence committee, suggested that lawmakers are more concerned about technological advancement from U.S. adversaries than signs of extraterrestrial life.
"Frankly, if it's something from outside this planet, that might actually be better than the fact that we've seen some sort of technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary," he said.
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