With last month’s public congressional hearing and a renewed emphasis on disclosure and transparency, the US government’s attitude towards the UFO phenomenon has come a long way in recent years.
It is, however, easy to forget how different things were in the preceding decades.
During the 1960s, for example, officials had attempted to downplay the entire subject, as evidenced by a pamphlet on UFOs that was released to the public in 1968 by the US Air Force.
The pamphlet, which was released following more than 10,000 reported sightings of UFOs, promoted the view that there was always a conventional explanation and that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the idea that these objects were technologically advanced or piloted by aliens.
Entitled ‘Aids to Identification of Flying Objects‘, it provided a detailed list of conventional explanations and seemed to dismiss out of hand any notion that the phenomenon should be taken seriously.
“No evidence has been submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that identified sightings represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of our present scientific knowledge,” it read.
“There has been no tangible evidence to indicate that unidentified sightings are extraterrestrial vehicles under intelligent control.”
This hadn’t stopped authorities from conducting their own secretive research programs into the phenomenon at the time, however.