The CIA released thousands of UFO documents online. Here's how to read them

WATCH: Footage released by the U.S. government shows Unidentified Aerial Phenomena that pilots encountered in recent years.

The CIA has declassified a massive, long-awaited trove of documents related to UFO sightings over the last 70 years, stoking excitement among those who want to believe in aliens — and frustration among those who want to actually find the proof.

Now the truth is (perhaps) out there in a .ZIP file, though it might take some dedicated digging to find it. The documents deal primarily with UFOs, which by definition remain a mystery.

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The Black Vault, a UFO enthusiast site and clearing house for related government files, recently published approximately 2,700 pages of the declassified documents provided by the CIA. The new disclosure amounts to over 2,700 pages of scanned documents involving Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), which is the U.S. government’s term for UFOs.

The CIA told the Black Vault that the disclosure includes its “entire” collection of UAP documents, though there’s no way to know for sure.

Site founder John Greenewald, Jr. spent decades trying to get his hands on the documents through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws, and he finally succeeded last year. The CIA dumped the files onto a CD-ROM, so Greenewald uploaded everything to his website on Jan. 7.

The full archive is available for download through the Black Vault site. It consists of 713 PDF files with sequentially numbered titles. Specific cases are impossible to find without opening each document, and some of the documents are decades-old scans that are hard to read.

Nevertheless, the Black Vault has done its best to make each document searchable.

“Many of these documents are poorly photocopied, so the computer can only ‘see’ so much to convert for searching,” Greenewald writes on his website. He also suggested that the CIA had deliberately made the documents hard to parse, perhaps to slow people down.

Greenewald and other eager ET hunters have already started combing through the documents and posting their suspicions online.

The Black Vault hosts more than 2.2 million pages of government documents obtained through approximately 10,000 FOIA requests, Greenewald says.

The site also has a history of obtaining high-profile disclosures. In 2019, for example, a U.S. navy spokesperson confirmed that three leaked government videos of UFOs were legitimate.

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The Pentagon declassified the videos and released them to the public last year, citing the need for pilots to feel comfortable reporting such phenomena.

The disclosure stoked new excitement about the possibility that alien life might have visited Earth, though there remains no definitive proof of such claims.

Speculation flared up again late last year after Israel’s former head of space security claimed there was a “Galactic Federation” of aliens who didn’t want humans in their club. He also claimed that the heads of the U.S. and Israel were in touch with the aliens, and that the extraterrestrials had helped set up human bases on Mars.

He did not provide evidence to support his claims.

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Congress demanded last December that the Pentagon release some of its classified UAP-related documents within 180 days, as part of a bizarre add-on to the United States’ latest COVID-19 relief bill.

The Pentagon is due to brief Congress on the matter in the coming months.

As of this writing, the CIA has not commented on the Black Vault release.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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