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If it wasn’t for the French dossier, UFOs might not have dominated Leslie Kean’s life for the past two decades.

In 1999, the independent journalist was handed a scoop by a French colleague: a 90-page report of UFO sightings by military and commercial pilots. The document, called UFOs and Defense: For What Must We Prepare Ourselves? (in French: Les OVNI et la Défense: À Quoi Doit-On Se Préparer?), was eventually published by a French military thinktank.

“I thought, my God, this is huge. Generals and admirals saying that they think it’s likely that we’re being visited by craft that are extraterrestrial … They didn’t say they could prove it. But they said it’s a very good hypothesis for what they studied for three years,” Kean told the Guardian during a phone call from her family’s country home in Massachusetts.

“That was just a major story. What if they’re right? What if the equivalent stature of people in America said what these people are saying?”

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