The Upshot

UFOs in FBI’s Vault

The truth is out there. And by "truth," we mean a controversial (and official) 1950s  FBI memo that alleges aliens did in fact land in New Mexico which has just been republished on the agency's website.

Not surprisingly, the news sparked a furious amount of activity on the web. Online lookups for "ufo fbi files" soared, as did related searches on "ufo pictures" and "ufo fbi coverup." But don't get too excited--this isn't the first time this controversial memo has circulated, and its claims are far from verified.

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fbi vault memo

The memo was published on "The Vault," a newly launched FBI blog that showcases documents from the Bureau's past for history buffs to peruse. It was written by Guy Hottel, the special agent in charge of the Washington field office in 1950, and was addressed to the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. The letter's content is amazing, as is the rather casual tone in which it's delivered.

An investigator for the Air Forces stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth a very fine texture.

Michael Luckman, director of the New York Center for Extraterrestrial Research, calls these documents a step toward full disclosure. But the story isn't nearly as good upon closer examination. The memo is a Bureau account of an informant, whose name has been blacked out, telling the agency about a UFO sighting. And Guy Hottel--who penned the memo--was the head of the Washington, D.C., not the New Mexico, field office. Whether or not that informant was telling the truth is something we'll probably never know. According to the Bureau, the tip was never followed up on.

CBS News points out that the memo is not exactly news. "The so-called 'Hottel memo'--which the agency never corroborated--has been publicly available for years." The Vault's re-posting of the famous document has put its claims back on the public's radar.

The International Business Times says the memo is but one piece of a larger alien hoax. It could be argued that, if their account is correct, that the real conspiracy may be in trying to convince people that there actually is a conspiracy.

Confirmed alien sightings isn't the only wild FBI conspiracy theory to be resurrected via the FBI's new blog. Files regarding Hitler's possible escape from Germany at the end of World War II were also posted on The Vault. According to the reports, various informants reported seeing the infamous Nazi all over the world in the years following his suicide. Of course, those turned out to be not true.

(Hottel memo: The Vault/FBI)

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