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Imagine if in the decades now gone someone found ancient DNA evidence, a crashed craft, an unexplainable signal or even the very basic confirmation that simple life is out there on one of other bodies in our solar system BUT it is dangerous to all life on Earth. It would probably be prudent to keep it all under wraps until we could do something about it.
I personally think that the bigger the secret, the harder it would be to keep, mostly because of the number of people who would be involved with it and because people are big blabber mouths.
Considering that some kind of proof of life and intelligence beyond Earth would possibly be the biggest secret ever, and also considering that studying that proof would probably involve the work of tens of thousands of people, I find it very unlikely that the government (U.S.) would be able to keep the secret for any length of time.
Smaller secrets with fewer people involved, sure. Not alien life.
If the governments of, say, the USA and/or the United Kingdom knew about Extraterrestrial visitors, could they really manage to that knowledge a secret?
Isaac, let's flip this around, if I may...
If there is no, absolutely NO alien presence visiting this planet, and none ever in the history of the globe, then a guy who was trusted enough to work at the UK Ministry of Defense, and another guy high up in the executive hierarchy in Canada, and several men the US government has entrusted with shooting off nuclear missiles from a bunker on orders from the President, regardless if that act will result in their family's death, and their own death soon after from either blast effect or radiation, are all certifiably insane, or liars.
Perhaps one of those classic UFO incidents was really "the one" and perhaps the only time we've came across ET? In which case keeping the secret could well be easier and as time goes by and even be forgotten. Maybe only a few dozen people were/are aware of such a case?