U-2 spy plane
U-2 spy plane US Air Force

Apparently, the inspiration behind some of the most memorable sci-fi movies of the last century including ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars – was not really UFO sightings (as initially believed), but just some secret CIA planes flying around!

"The Central Intelligence Agency has admitted that it was responsible for at least half of reported UFO sightings in the middle of the last century due to its secret, high-altitude reconnaissance flights," states an RT.com report.

This week, the CIA took to Twitter to claim responsibility for a number of UFO sightings in the 1950s and 60s.

The agency posted the following tweet while acknowledging that the section on UFOs on their website attracted the most attention in 2014.

CIA tweet
CIA tweet CIA/twitter

The CIA tweet linked to a 272-page document, entitled 'The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974' that described reconnaissance missions at altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet that sparked speculation on the ground.

"High altitude testing of the U-2 soon led to an unexpected side effect – a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs)," the 1998 report stated.

According to the CIA, several reports of UFO sightings around the time came from commercial pilots, who caught occasional glimpses of the high-altitude U-2 aircraft while flying considerably lower.

The silver wings of the U-2 spy planes "would catch and reflect the rays of the sun and appear to the airliner pilot, 40,000 feet below, to be fiery objects," the report revealed.

"At this time, no one believed manned flight was possible above 60,000 feet, so no one expected to see an object so high in the sky."