CIA tales spun on Web

Love a good spy yarn? Then tap into the Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) site (www.odci.gov/csi) on the World Wide Web where true CIA tales match or rise above fiction.

CSI the academic arm of the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence conducts research into CIA operations and publishes them in a classified and limited circulation edition. Five years ago the CIA began releasing unclassified versions of the journal to the public. The latest edition (www.odci.gov/csi/studies/97unclas/) confirms long-held suspicions that CIA-developed spy planes accounted for the bulk of UFO sightings in the 1950s and 1960s.

According to the article "A Die Hard Issue: CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs 1947-1990" by Gerald Haines of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) more than half of all UFO sightings in those two decades actually were advanced CIA-developed aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin Corp. U2 and the SR-71 "Blackbird."

But to cover the existence of those aircraft the study said the Air Force charged with investigating UFOs made "misleading and deceptive statements to the public " attributing the sightings to weather balloons atmospheric disturbances and other phenomena.

The UFO report deals with this cover-up boldly and frankly saying the purpose of the study is "to trace CIA involvement in the UFO issue...the agency's efforts to solve the mystery of UFOs and...[its] attempts to conceal CIA involvement in the entire UFO issue." The report also discloses how the CIA tried to manage growing public concern about UFOs using the media advertising and even enlisting "the Disney corporation to get the message across." This no-nonsense and factual approach characterizes other reports on the CSI Web site including a treatise on information warfare - especially offensive IW - that offers more insights into the issue than anything released by the Pentagon which still classifies its definition of IW. The "true target of an IW campaign is not the specific systems that are actually attacked but rather the adversary's decision process " the study said.

Besides the long-form studies (the UFO report runs 21 printed pages) the CSI site offers the CSI Newsletter which offers shorter articles of a more topical nature including "Helping the Hunt for Nazi Gold."

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