How to Download the CIA's 'Entire' Collection of UFO Documents

A massive archive of documents collected over the years by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detailing cases and information involving unidentified flying objects (UFOs) has been made available to download online.

The trove details cases involving what the government describes as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and date back to the 1980s. The agency says it is its entire collection of records on the matter—although that remains difficult to verify.

The files were released by a website called The Black Vault, which uses the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) to obtain declassified government documents.

John Greenewald Jr., who runs the website and spearheads that effort, said in a blog post announcing the drop that the CIA had housed the large collection of UFO-related files on a CD which his website was finally able to purchase in 2020 after years of formal requests.

He said that while the CIA suggested it amounted to its total collection, research will be ongoing to check if there are more documents being kept by the agency.

It is now possible for members of the public to download the documents from The Black Vault for free, including as a download of the CD it purchased, although it's not searchable and therefore "largely useless."

The more accessible option is a cache of the files that have been converted into the .pdf format, containing hand-photocopied versions of the CIA documents, although not all are legible. UFO enthusiasts can also read or download the individual files.

The release is separate from a UFO report being compiled by federal agencies as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2021—expected within six months.

As previously reported, the Select Committee on Intelligence asked heads of relevant federal agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence, to submit a congressional report detailing suspected UAP cases within 180 days.

The select committee said that the report should include FBI data about any probes into "intrusions of unidentified aerial phenomena" in restricted U.S. airspace alongside an analysis of potential threats to national security posed by the phenomena.

Greenewald Jr. told Vice Motherboard that there had been thousands of downloads of his CIA files in the 24 hours after the release last Wednesday. While he noted that not all the documents were in perfect form, he was proud of his ongoing work.

He said: "When I began researching nearly 25 years ago at the age of 15, I knew there was something to this topic. Not because of viral internet hoaxes. Not because of back door meetings wherein I can't tell you who, but I promise it was mind-blowing information. No, none of that.

"It was simply because of the evidence that I got straight from the CIA. And the NSA. And the Air Force. And the DIA. I feel I am achieving what I set out to do. Easy access to important material for people to make up their own minds on what is going on."

Central Intelligence Agency Logo on Floor
A man crosses the CIA's logo in the lobby of its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on August 14, 2008. The CIA's "entire" collection of UFO files have been made available to download online. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty