Why is UFO related stuff classified?

Given how many scientific achievements have serious national security implications and are publicized, what’s the point of keeping classified the fact that our government is even studying this? I could understand if they had some alien technology or were confident they could get their hands on some, but why would they make study of the mere existence of UFOs visiting us top secret?

Sure, if they studied all these reports and found that one or two were probably actual aliens in flying saucers or whatever, that would be the scientific story of well, ever, but I’m not sure how having knowledge of that affects national security and why it would need to be kept from citizens and other nations.

Seems to me that UFO enthusiasts aren’t being totally wacky when they assume the government knows a lot more than they are saying. Treating aliens as a top secret thing implies that they have something worth keeping secret. If all they have is bupkis, there’s no rationale that I can think of for secrecy.

So assuming they have nada, which I think is a pretty safe assumption, what IS the point of it being classified?

UFO’s aren’t necessarily of extra-terrestrial origin. Whilst the latest revelations of a UFO research project seem to be due to the direct order of the politician in charge, and not based upon an internally generated perception of need, there seems to have been a clear reasoning that some UFO’s might be of Russian/Chinese/etc origin. As such you would not be advertising that you were launching a specific task to track the down.

Secondly, secrecy of the techniques and capabilities of your tracking and surveillance assets might be compromised even if the notion of what is being tracked is stupid.

In general, unless there is an explicit reason not to, any project is going to be classified by default.

The military’s UFO-related stuff is classified because it’s the military. NASA’s UFO-related stuff is not classified, because it’s NASA.

That isn’t really a satisfying answer though. What are the odds that “flashing lights” or saucer shaped craft flying impossibly fast has an origin in a country far less advanced than us? There’s only two broad explanations for such things: natural phenomena, or aliens. “Russian” is not a possible explanation.

That makes more sense.

And sometimes, the UFOs are our secret projects that got away from us and crashed in some field out in the ass-end of nowhere.

For example, the Roswell UFO Incident was related to Project Mogul, a classified project to try and detect Soviet nuclear weapons tests by listening for them in a “channel” hypothesized to exist due to an analogous channel existing in the ocean. (More info on Project Mogul) The details of Mogul don’t matter so much right now; the point is, keeping UFO sightings under wraps is just good operational security for existing classified projects involving stuff going into the air: Even if this UFO sighting was just Venus or some kid with a drone with lights on it or an odd atmospheric phenomenon, it could be a legitimately secret project, and even if there are no legitimately secret projects in that region, that much information (where secret projects are and aren’t) is, itself, interesting to spies.

And in fact, with the Roswell incident, the DOD deliberately encouraged the UFO rumors to distract people away from the real project.

Don’t kid yourself that Russia is “far less advanced” than the US. Not when it comes to aviation. They lack the economic and industrial might to match the US, especially now the Soviet Union is gone, which will always hamper their ability, but they have always had some of the best and brightest aviation guys on the planet. They had their own Kelly Johnsons, and they still make and design planes of remarkable ability.

T*hat UFO seen over the Washington State coast was not Aliens, but actually a Russian Spy drone *… So you have just told the Russkies that i) You can track their drone and ii) what the capabilities of your sensor are.

Can’t you imagine the US Military won’t be too keen to reveal that?

Take a look at this blog based on declassified UK files for some details of what UK and US intelligence agencies were looking at during the Cold War.

The earliest “modern” UFOs were the foo fighters in WW2. We knew that the Nazis were working on nuclear weapons. We knew that they had a successful rocket program.

Is it really such a stretch to think that they might have some other successful program that we didn’t know much about?

99.9% of them are nothing of the sort. But there’s a good reason for concealing those too. If they publicised 999 cases, and then classified the thousandth, it would show people that there is something very important about that one. Better to classify all of them.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but I once heard the claim that many (perhaps most) UFO sightings occur near military bases, or on lines connecting US military bases. if so, that’d imply the UFOs are test craft flying between military bases. I seriously doubt true aliens would care about our military hardware, anymore than a 21st century civilization visiting an indigenous tribe would care about the hut where a tribe in the amazon keeps their spears.

Again, i don’t have a cite and don’t even know if that is true, but it was a claim I’d heard before. If true, then I guess UFO issues would be classified because many are military secret technologies.

Also if alien technology is real, then any nation that obtains it would have massive advantages in not only war but possibly economics and other areas. So if alien craft is real, there would be a huge incentive to keep it secret to make sure no other nation gets a hold of it.

This is flat wrong.

Answers aren’t supposed to “satisfying”-They are supposed to be factual.
What answer would you find “satisfying”?

But it’s probably accurate, even if it isn’t satisfying to you.

When we first deployed the U-2 airplane, Russian radar operators said “nobody can build an airplane that flys that high”. With the first SR-71, Russians said “nobody can build a airplane that goes that fast”. But with repeated sightings, they saw that it was “those Americans”. So Khrushchev started a crash program to build an anti-aircraft missile that could go as high as the U-2. And succeeded, as Gary Powers learned.