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Coming so soon after the uproar over its discovery of Russian meddling in the US elections and its flipflop on Hillary Clinton’s email activities, it was very brave — or foolhardy —of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to declassify more data this month on its long programme of tracking UFOs worldwide. The four objects sighted over the Himalayas in Ladakh, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan in 1968 are just the latest revelations of what has obviously been a pet project, even as the CIA got on with its Cold War operations and other conventional spy stuff. The espionage agency evidently put in a lot of effort too, as its website not only has a section on UFOs but also helpful tips on what to do if people happen to see a “flying saucer”, presumably based on their own expertise in this very specialised field.
As the redoubtable CIA was keeping such a keen eye on this region, perhaps it managed to get a glimpse of the Yeti too, who is said to lurk in the same area and has proved to be just as elusive as UFOs. Hopefully the CIA investigated whether one or more Yeti could even be the source of those flying objects. That would certainly put paid to rumours that the UFOs were actually shiny American U2 spy planes, which (as other declassified CIA documents show) were also scanning India’s eastern border a few years later in 1971.