Opinion

Commentary: UFO files aren't exactly proof of intelligent life

Fort Worth's greatest mystery remains unsolved, no matter what you heard this week.

Yes, some armchair researchers found a 1950 FBI memo about flying saucers in New Mexico and three tiny aliens in metallic flight suits.

No, it wasn't a secret document. And no, it didn't involve the debris brought from Roswell, N.M., to what is now Naval Air Station Fort Worth in 1947.

Most of all -- no, the memo didn't prove UFOs are real.

All it proved is that some readers -- and even some reporters -- will believe almost any story.

London's excitable Daily Mail tabloid republished an old agent's report from the FBI "Vault" of public information at vault.fbi.gov, most of it never secret but now searchable.

In 1950, Washington-based FBI Agent Guy Hottel filed the report about an "informant" and a story about a saucer crash and bodies.

We've known about the report for around 30 years. It never mentions Roswell.

The report is connected to a 1948 hoax about a crash near Aztec, N.M. Two men wound up convicted of fraud in a Colorado court.

But why let facts get in the way of a good fake UFO story?

The Daily Mail headlined: "The memo that 'proves aliens landed at Roswell' ... released online by the FBI."

Even Yahoo.com couldn't resist: "FBI's UFO File: Proof of Roswell?"

In that New Mexico city, Mayor Del Jurney is already using the story as fodder for the 20th anniversary Roswell UFO Festival July 1-4.

"This might add a little more credibility," he said.

"When people find out you're from Roswell, they know what happened here."

Or what didn't happen.

Back in 1947, the original "Roswell Incident" story began when an Air Force spokesman there said the 509th Bombardment Group had found a "flying disk."

Reporters gathered in Fort Worth to see the debris. It was nothing but a pile of foil and sticks.

Base officials called it a weather balloon. In recent years, an Air Force report called it a secret surveillance balloon.

But the world would much rather read about little green men.

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