According to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, in the days just prior to his assassination, President John F. Kennedy asked the CIA to provide him with classified documents about UFOs.
The story is set out in two letters written by Kennedy to the director of the CIA asking for information about the spy agency’s file on alien activity.
The FOIA requests were made by author William Lester incident to the research that went into the writing of his new book A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier
In another memo, JFK told the NASA administrator that he thought it wise to cooperate with the government of the Soviet Union on mutual outer space endeavors.
It is in this context, that of U.S.-Soviet relations, that Lester believes JFK’s interest was piqued.
"One of his concerns was that a lot of these UFOs were being seen over the Soviet Union and he was very concerned that the Soviets might misinterpret these UFOs as U.S. aggression, believing that it was some of our technology," Mr Lester told AOL News
"I think this is one of the reasons why he wanted to get his hands on this information and get it away from the jurisdiction of NASA so he could say to the Soviets, “Look, that's not us, we're not doing it, we're not being provocative.'"
Despite such a plausible explanation of the president’s interest in outer space, the information revealed by the CIA in these memos has renewed interest in the so called "burned memo" that was allegedly leaked to a UFO hunter in 1999 by a CIA agent.
The letter was said to be written by the CIA responding to JFK's mounting interest in the extraterrestrial. Referring to President Kennedy's Secret Service code name "Lancer," the letter reads:
As you must know, Lancer has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow... Please submit your views no later than October. Your action to this matter is critical to the continuance of the group.
There is no independent verification of the authenticity of this letter and its contents frankly seem fanciful when compared to the more logical impetus for the former president’s inquiries.