Published: 2:42 PM 1/17/2015
higher-ups told him the encounter was considered top secret and instructed him not to tell anybody about it.
Milton Torres has told audiences he was shocked to get the order to fire.
In the cockpit of the F-86 fighter he was piloting above East Anglia in the spring of 1957, the target was visible on his radar scope. It was the size of a B-52, he said. But it flew in an unusual way. An unearthly way.
Mr. Torres, a U.S. Air Force pilot who later flew missions in Vietnam, said his higher-ups ordered him to fire his rockets at the unknown craft. But it darted and disappeared from his scope before he could do so.
“He left me just standing there. He was gone,” Mr. Torres told an unidentified flying object (UFO) conference in 2009.
When he landed, Mr. Torres said Royal Air Force higher-ups told him the encounter was considered top secret and instructed him not to tell anybody about it.
The unexplained encounter is filed now as a piece of evidence suggesting that extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth, demonstrating technologies far beyond those available on this planet. In 1957 alone, Wikipedia tells us, UFOs were reported over southern California, Texas, Connecticut, Portugal and Brazil.
Flash forward to the waning days of 2013. A person responsible for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Twitter account — a job title that might have been regarded as science fiction six decades ago — sent out this message:
“#1 most read on our #Bestof2014 list: Reports of unusual activity in the skies in the ’50s? It was us. http://1.usa.gov/1lU3oIU (PDF 9.26MB) 11:11 AM - 29 Dec 2014”
The hyperlink — another science fictiony notion — takes you to a 1998 paper by CIA staffers, who imaginatively titled it “the CIA and the U-2 Program.”
Still heavily redacted, the report describes the development and testing of a high-altitude aircraft during the 1950s that could spy on the then-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from which commanders feared a surprise attack.
The U-2, developed in secret, flew at higher altitudes than typical aircraft. As it was tested, beginning in the mid-1950s, it generated what the CIA paper called “an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects.”
Air Force staffers who fielded the reports checked the sightings against the U-2 flight logs and found that U-2 and associated flights “accounted for more than one-half of all UFO reports during the late 1950s and most of the 1960s.”
So it wasn’t swamp gas or ball lightning. It was us.
At least half the time.