Documents Provide Insight on 1979 Vela Incident
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Tue, 2016-12-13

On December 8, 2016, Georgetown University’s National Security Archive published declassified documents on a mysterious flash that was detected by a U.S. Vela satellite over the South Atlantic nearly four decades ago. In September of 1979, the Vela spy satellite registered a double flash of light off the coast of South Africa; investigation into the incident could not determine whether the signal was a result of a nuclear explosion or a reflection of a natural non-nuclear phenomena. The declassified documents now indicate that the 1979 findings of a CIA-sponsored panel have found evidence that a joint nuclear test was likely conducted by Israel and South Africa.

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