A newly released letter shows that 10 days before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy wrote to the head of the CIA demanding to be shown highly confidential documents about UFOs.
Author William Lester, who is researching a new book about Kennedy, says the CIA released the letter to him under the Freedom of Information Act.
Kennedy's letter, dated Nov. 12, 1963, has the subject line "Classification review of all UFO intelligence files affecting National Security," and asks for access to those files.
A second Kennedy letter released to Lester, written on the same date, was sent to the administrator of NASA and expressed a desire for cooperation with the Soviet Union on mutual outer space activities, according to Britain's Daily Mail.
Lester told AOL News: "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 it was some of our technology.
"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.'"
The Daily Mail pushes the envelope in its coverage of the story, headlining it, "Was JFK killed because of his interest in aliens?" But AOL News acknowledges that the president's interest in UFOs shortly before his death "is likely to fuel conspiracy theories about his assassination."
The story has already sparked renewed interest in the so-called "burned memo" that a UFO investigator claimed he received from an unidentified CIA leaker in the 1990s.
According to the investigator, the leaker said he worked for the CIA between 1960 and 1974 and pulled the document, marked Top Secret, from a fire when the agency was burning some sensitive files, according to the Daily Mail.
The memo from the CIA director refers to a group of military officials and scientists allegedly appointed by President Harry Truman to investigate the possible presence of aliens on earth. It also refers to "Lancer," which was Kennedy's Secret Service code name, and states, "As you must know, Lancer has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow."