In letters sent by President John F Kennedy to the CIA, and revealed by author William Lester to AOL News, as reported byThe Daily Mail, Kennedy requests access to top secret information on UFO sightings, with particular interest in sightings reported over the former Soviet Union.
"It is important that we make a clear distinction between the knowns and unknowns in the event the Soviets try to mistake our extended cooperation as a cover for intelligence gathering of their defense and space programs," Kennedy wrote in a memo to the director of the CIA, the subject of which was labeled "Classification review of all UFO intelligence files affecting national security."
The top secret document was dated November 12, 1963. President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
Researching his new book, A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier, Mr. Lester received the documents from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr. Lester believes Kennedy's interests in the files were fueled by his desire to keep relations with the former Soviet Union on good footing.
"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," Lester told AOL News, according to the Daily Mail report. "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.'"
Of interest to JFK assassination and UFO conspiracy theorists alike, in a "burned memo," an undated document with scorch marks edging it, the CIA director references "Lancer," their code name for President Kennedy.
"As you must know, Lancer has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow," the memo begins.
UFO investigators contend that this memo may point to another motivation for the JFK assassination, and they are employing modern document dating technology to determine when this particular memo was authored.