The 30 Most Shocking Government Secrets

Turns out there’s a whole file on Bigfoot.

There are enough conspiracy theories online to keep you reading for a lifetime—and trust us, you don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole. But what does it mean when some of the rumors and secrets are actually confirmed?

Thanks to declassified documents, government leaks, and revealing reports, we’ve learned more about our government’s secret programs than ever before. From the FBI’s file on Bigfoot to the CIA’s covert dragonfly, sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction.
The Pentagon does have a UFO program.

Among some of the Pentagon’s most secretive programs is the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The program was dedicated to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs)—but for years, it was never formally acknowledged by the Department of Defense. The agency claims the program stopped receiving funds in 2012, however, many believe it continues to operate to this day.

Apple’s top-secret iPod?

According to former Apple software engineer David Shayer, the tech company worked with the U.S. Department of Energy on a covert project back in 2005. The “special iPod” was allegedly supposed to act as a Geiger counter by testing radiation levels in the air, he shared in TidBITS. “You could walk around a city, casually listening to your tunes, while recording evidence of radioactivity—scanning for smuggled or stolen uranium, for instance, or evidence of a dirty bomb development program—with no chance that the press or public would get wind of what was happening,” Shayer wrote.

The FBI was tracking Bigfoot.

Apparently, the FBI really does have a file on everyone—including mystical creatures like Bigfoot (or Sasquatch). Deep within the FBI’s Freedom of Information Library, you can track down the agency’s file on Bigfoot. Files are released only when a subject is deceased, which not only points to the figure being real, but also suggests that the agency believes it is dead.

The playing card escape.

During World War II, the U.S. and Britain snuck Allied prisoners of war escape maps using playing cards. The papers, containing detailed escape routes, were hidden in between the layers of cards. The Geneva Convention stated Christmas care packages were allowed to be delivered to POWs, which is how the decks of cards went undetected.

The Navy UFO videos weren’t supposed to be released.

There are at least three videos released by the U.S. Navy documenting UFO activity. However, those videos were never supposed to have leaked. Along with a confirmation that the videos were taken by Navy pilots and capture unexplained aerial phenomena, the agency also admitted the footage was never intended for the public to see.

Witnesses claim there’s more to the Nimitz UFO Encounters.

Most people were astonished after watching the three Navy UFO videos, a.k.a. the Nimitz UFO Encounters, but many speculate that there’s way more to the incident than previously seen. After watching the videos in full, witnesses claim there is a longer video still yet to be released, in which the object performed a number of physically impossible maneuvers.

The CIA built a robot dragonfly...

Thanks to James Bond and other spy movies, our imaginations are filled with possibilities for covert devices on the spy trade—but the reality is so much better than imagined. At least that’s how we felt when the CIA released never-before-seen devices from the 1970s at The CIA Museum in Washington, D.C. Among the gadgets was a drone-like dragonfly known by the CIA as the “insectothopter.”

And a robot catfish.

Meet Charlie, the CIA’s top-secret catfish. The agency built the robotic part-submarine in the ’90s to see if it was possible to build an uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV). Charlie’s purpose was to collect water samples without being detected, but it is unclear if it ever succeeded. Since the agent controlling the unmanned vehicle needed to be nearby for it to work, as well as catfish not being very common in the ’90s, it can be assumed that the invention wasn’t too useful.

The military’s attempt at weaponizing lightning.

Imagine a weapon that couldn’t be traced to the attacker. That was the idea behind the CIA’s past attempt at weaponizing lightning, according to a declassified document from 1967. While the invention turned out to be functional, the agency never fulfilled the program.

The Pentagon is (possibly) in possession of off-world vehicles.

The Pentagon has always remained tight-lipped on whether or not there even is a funded UFO program. That being said, claims have been made that the government is in possession of off-world vehicles. Astrophysicist Eric Davis, who consulted for the Pentagon’s UFO program, examined numerous materials that he deems “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

Lost plutonium in the Himalayas.

The United States and India came together for a joint mission in the 1960s that, if successful, would monitor China’s nuclear development. The goal was to install radioactive isotope Pu-238 powered sensors, but hazardous conditions forced the team to evacuate the Himalayas before the installation was complete. When they returned, the sensors had vanished. No one has tracked down the plutonium devices, but locals believe they are still active in the area and are responsible for melting mountain caps that are causing massive floods.

The mysterious dark mass (that wasn’t a submarine).

Retired Navy Commander David Fravor recalled an unusual experience that can only be described as terrifying. In the 1990s, he was assigned to retrieve BQM aerial target drones and submarine telemetry torpedoes from the ocean. A helicopter pilot was tasked to do the same. Both men witnessed a large dark mass, circular in shape, descend towards the surface when they were attempting to hook the torpedo—and both swear it wasn’t a submarine. In the helicopter pilot’s encounter, the object sucked up the torpedo, never to be recovered.

The existence of Iran’s military dolphins.

While many are concerned over Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the military is also keeping a watchful eye on its sea. In 2000, Iran purchased a fleet of military-trained dolphins from Russia—and no one knows whether they’re alive or not today. The dolphins were originally trained by the Soviet Union to kill and attack enemy ships.

The unknown location of a Russian anti-aircraft missile.

The United States experienced a huge win for the intelligence community in June 2020 by acquiring Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft missile, the Pantsir S-1, from Libyan forces. The Pantsir S-1 is a low-altitude air defense system, mounted on the back of a military truck. It has recently been used in Libyan and Syrian war zones. The U.S. Air Force transported the weapon out of the country and has since moved it to an unknown location.

The U.S. military once funded a “Flying Saucer” program.

While the public has always been fascinated with the government’s investigation of UFOs, the fact that the military once funded the design of its own flying saucers hasn’t been made public until recently. The secret program was launched by the military in the 1950s and was titled Project 1794. The mission? A supersonic aircraft that could uniquely combat Soviet bombers.

The Air Force built a secret fighter jet.

The U.S. Air Force surprised the public when it announced the arrival of a new fighter jet in 2020. The aircraft was secretly designed, built, and tested by the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. No other information about the fighter jet has been released—other than the fact that it’s here and, supposedly, breaking records.

The Cold War-Era’s “Constant Peg” program.

Although it’s declassified now, the government ran a top-secret training program during the Cold War known as the “Constant Peg” program. In said program, U.S. pilots trained with the MiG jets—former Soviet fighter jets. Not only did the government acquire these aircrafts secretly, they were purchased so the USAF’s best pilots could familiarize themselves with the enemy’s technology and learn how to beat the jets in combat, in case World War III occurred.

The CIA used secret drones against Soviet SA-2 missiles.

A very real threat to the United States during the Vietnam War was the Soviet Union’s SA-2 missiles (shown here in this 2003 photo). To defeat them, the CIA concocted the secret mission, United Effort, to steal pertinent data information. The mission only lasted 200 milliseconds, and at first glance appeared to be a Soviet victory. However, the CIA’s “Sam Sniffer” was really a “suicide drone”—an unmanned drone disguised as a U-2 spy plane to lure a Soviet missile strike. The goal was to record the radar guidance and proximity fuse information of the attack. After a successful mission in 1966, all of this information was used to create a warning receiver to prevent the SA-2 missiles from hitting their aircrafts.

The Air Force’s unmanned spaceplane.

Since 2010, the United States Air Force has been launching an unmanned spaceplane into orbit to carry out classified tests. The aircraft, known as X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle-5 (OTV-5), has carried out five missions since it initially launched—the last spending a record-breaking 780 days in orbit.

The CIA’s Soviet-era bird drone concept.

With the Cold War brought tons of covert inventions—some of which were only recently declassified. The CIA’s Project Aquiline, for example, was intended to create a fleet of bird drones that would act as spy planes and couriers in the Cold War. The invention, although never completed, was intended to be nuclear- powered so they could stay in the air for up to a month.

The A-12 “Oxcart” aircraft tested at Area 51.

The A-12 “Oxcart” aircraft was created by the United States in 1963, and was built for reconnaissance missions—especially those at high altitudes requiring quick maneuvering. Throughout its design, construction, and testing phases, the A-12 was housed at Area 51. It was considered the top-reconnaissance aircraft until 1968, when the government favored the SR-71 for its longer range.

The Air Force’s top secret space station.

Back when the NASA space program was all over the news in the ’60s, the USAF was simultaneously working on a more covert program. The Manned Orbiting Laboratory was a top-secret United States Air Force initiative, with the main objective being to serve as a manned satellite to spy against the Soviet Union. The shuttle never officially launched and the pro gram was shut down in 1969. However, thanks to declassified documents, we can see how the government intended to keep a watchful eye over the Soviet Union.

A drone attack from the Congolese.

As the Cold War dragged on, the Soviet Union and United States began fighting for control of a newly independent Congo. Throughout the conflict, the CIA sent in a number of drones for reconnaissance. Thanks to CIA declassified documents, a previously unknown attack on these drones has been released—and it’s not what you’d think. The CIA spy plane was attacked with a thrown spear, and the event was even included in President Truman’s briefing.

The quality of United States satellite capabilities.

There are thousands of satellites in Earth’s orbit right now, and hundreds are operated by the United States military. While the public has known of their presence for years, the actual capabilities of our spy satellites were unknown until former President Donald Trump tweeted a classified image in September 2019. From the image of the exploded rocket launch in Iran, experts were quick to identify the satellite as one of the United States’ KH-11 reconnaissance satellites—which for obvious reasons, there is not a lot of known information about.

The end of “Project Bluebook.”

In 1952, the United States Air Force launched its third UFO program, Project Bluebook. After the previous program marked nearly 23 percent of UFO cases “unexplained,” it became the mission of Project Bluebook to debunk UFO inquiries and make them go away. Although the Air Force shut down the program in 1969, the government continued to record encounters.

An unclassified object was caught on film in 2018.

The world was shocked when a leaked video of an unidentified aerial phenomenon appeared in 2020—but the government was far less surprised, as they knew about the footage for two years. Taken from what is believed to be a F/A-18 pilot, the object is described as “cube-shaped.” Reports that show both the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the Department of Defense’s UAP unit were investigating the matter.

The leak of “psycho-electric” weapons documents.

It cannot be confirmed or denied that the government dabbles in psycho-electric weapons and remote mind control. However, a Washington State Fusion Center official did accidentally share diagrams about these subjects with a journalist in 2018. While it seems to be a massive oversight, the documents were not deemed official and the WSFC did not return requests for comment.

The Russian spy who leaked atomic bomb information.

With documents finally declassified, the identity of a fourth Soviet spy was recently revealed. Oscar Seborer worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory during the nuclear bomb development in the 1940s. Although Seborer was most likely first identified in 1956, he successfully provided information to the Soviets about the development of explosive triggers for a nuclear bomb.

The Hazardous Devices School in Alabama.

As the amount of improvised explosive devices in the United States continues to increase, the FBI created the Hazardous Devices School in a remote area in Alabama to train bomb squad officers across the country. Nearby in Huntsville, Alabama is a neighboring facility, the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.

There are no aliens inside of Area 51.

While heavily guarded and secure, Area 51 has been a place that has long fascinated the extraterrestrial–obsessed. However, the big secret of the protected base is that there are no aliens there. Instead, the remote location is used as a test site for American-made, classified devices like aircrafts, communications, and weapons.

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