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Originally published Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Corrected version

CIA concludes study of UFOs futile — who'd trust findings?

A 17-page report available on the CIA's Web site acknowledges the futility of investigating UFOs by the government agency.

Seattle Times staff reporter

It's a 17-page report available on the CIA's Web site that acknowledges the futility of investigating UFOs by the government agency.

It concludes, "Like the JFK assassination conspiracy theories, the UFO issue probably will not go away soon, no matter what the Agency does or says.

"The belief that we are not alone in the universe is too emotionally appealing and the distrust of our government is too pervasive to make the issue amenable to traditional scientific studies of rational explanation and evidence."

Still, "CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90," makes for fascinating reading.

It was published in 2007 by Gerald K. Haines, the historian for the National Reconnaissance Office.

If you haven't heard of the NRO, it says it "designs, builds and operates the nation's reconnaissance satellites" and is staffed by Department of Defense and CIA employees. It lists its "vision" as "Vigilance from Above."

In the 17 pages, Haines has put together what reads as an objective, thorough history of the CIA and UFOs.

Not that anything the CIA says — well researched as it may be by a historian — will change many minds.

As Haines says in his report, "an extraordinary 95 percent of all Americans" have heard of UFOs, and "57 percent believe they are real. Former U.S. Presidents Carter and Reagan claim to have seen a UFO."

Information in this article, originally published March 28, 2010, was corrected April 1, 2010. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled National Reconnaissance Office historian Gerald K. Haines as "Hines."

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