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originally posted by: karl 12
]1997--The CIA and Spy Planes
In a report published at about the same time as the Air Force's "crash dummy" revelation, the Central Intelligence Agency tried to write off thousands of UFO reports as mistaken observations of secret spy planes. It ended up writing fiction.
The first demonstrably incorrect statement was that there had been a major increase in UFO reports immediately following the first test flight of the prototype U-2 spy plane in August 1955. A simple count of cases in the files of Project Blue Book (which the CIA admits it used) shows that there had actually been a major decrease.
Then the CIA claimed that half of almost 9,000 UFO sightings made between mid-1955 and late1969 had been mistaken observations of U-2 and later SR-71 spy planes. Since those airplanes cruise too high to be seen from the ground (at more than 70,000 feet), this could not be the case. Moreover, one of the hallmarks of UFO descriptions in that period was their spectacular maneuvers, including right-angle turns at high speed. Both the U-2 and the SR-71 are among the least maneuverable airplanes used by the U.S. military.
Thirdly, the CIA claimed it had conspired with the staff of the Air Force's Project Blue Book to conceal the alleged sightings of spy planes by having them falsely labeled as obscure types of atmospheric phenomena. Had this been the case, several thousand UFO reports for 1955 - 1969 in the permanent files of Project Blue Book would be blamed on ice crystals, temperature inversions, and so on. But the actual total is barely three dozen.
Why the CIA would invent such an easily disproved story is unknown
The phrase 'demonstrably incorrect' is used in the article from the Coalition for Freedom of Information website so I guess all it's a matter of doing is checking if there actually was an increase or decrease in reports after August 1955; if hallmarks of UFO reports from that era actually did involve highly unusual flight characteristics; if the CIA actually did conspire with Project Blue Book to mislabel alleged U2 sightings as 'obscure types of atmospheric phenomena' and if the total number of these alleged Bluebook reports is only actually three dozen.
Below is another relevant article which also bring up the points that the spy plane flights were too few in number to account for all the alleged UFO reports; that the flights were carried out in areas far from public view and that the U-2 and A-12 flew at very high altitudes and were difficult to detect with the naked eye - there's also an interesting snippet concerning the then Project Bluebook Chief Robert Friend:
In 1997, Haines claimed that the CIA used UFO reports as cover for spy planes such as the U-2, and that the Air Force knowingly went along with this deception. Always ready to accept CIA material, the `New York Times' ingested the story - hook, line, and sinker. And thus another bogus claim became historical fact.
There are many problems with the claim. First, the CIA is never a credible source about its own history. After all, it is in business to deceive. Second, spy plane flights were too few in number to account for many UFO reports and they were carried out in areas far from public view. Third, the black U-2 and A-12 "Oxcart" flew at very high altitudes and were difficult to detect both visually and (in the case of the A-12) on radar. Fourth, UFO reports of the era bear little if any resemblance to the flight characteristics of high-altitude spy planes.
But most fatally, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert Friend, head of the Air Force's Project Blue Book from 1958 to 1963, later said there is absolutely no truth to the CIA's claims. Not only was Haines wrong about an agreement between the CIA and Air Force but Friend said he never received a single UFO report that he thought could be attributed to a spy plane.
CIA's UFO Explanation Is Preposterous
In 1997 the CIA published an article that describes its involvement in the history of UFO phenomena. (The article is published in the unclassified version of "Studies in Intelligence," a twice-yearly CIA journal. It is available at the CIA website.) According to historian and author Jerry Haines, the CIA believed that when the U-2 high altitude spy plane began flying in early August, 1955, "commercial pilots and air traffic controllers began reporting a large increase in UFO sightings."
The CIA tweet has sparked its own UFO flap: Several analysts dispute the CIA assertion that U-2 flights really caused upward of half of UFO sightings.
"One thing this CIA UFO claim has accomplished: It has united UFO skeptics and proponents in proclaiming it untrue," Robert Sheaffer, author and well-known UFO cynic, wrote in a blog post last week. "We might agree on little else, except that this claim is nonsense."
Sheaffer explains that the Project Blue Book files are now public records, allowing anyone to verify when and where sightings were reported.
"The bottom line is: There is absolutely no correlation between the times and places of UFO reports and U-2 flights," he wrote.
A similar view about the CIA assertion is held by UFO photo analyst Bruce Maccabee, who analyzed the data and concluded that the CIA's explanation is "preposterous."
The statistics "do not bear out the claim that there was a large increase in sightings by any segment of the population, pilots and air traffic controllers included, once the U-2 aircraft started flying," Maccabee wrote in a recent blog post.
Sheaffer also argues that the CIA's claim that the U-2 flights led to the creation of Project Blue Book does not hold water, "because Blue Book predates the U-2 flights by several years. Other Air Force projects to investigate 'flying saucer' sightings were created several years earlier still."