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WASHINGTON, DC – Ronald Reagan misled the public when he claimed the “Star Wars” defense system was to protect us from a Russian nuclear attack.

In fact, the space-based system was created to shield America from alien invaders, according to Harold Sprague, author of the upcoming book Dawn of Deception.

“The Star Wars system has already been used to destroy at least 34 UFOs before they even reached Earth’s atmosphere,” claims Sprague, a former military intelligence officer.

The Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars, has been blasted by critics who charge the $30 billion-plus spent on the program in the 1980s was a giant waste of money.

“What the public doesn’t know is that the USSR was never the true target of SDI,” says Sprague.

“The real enemy is, and always has been, extraterrestrial.”

American officials have been aware of alien visits to Earth since at least 1947, according to Sprague, who says he has personally seen classified military documents that support his theory. “A crashed saucer was recovered at that time in Roswell, N.M.

“At first our government tried to work with the E.T.s – but in 1979, a group of human scientists were massacred by the aliens and officials realized that they were up to no good.

“When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, he proposed building an elaborate array of tracking satellites and powerful laser weapons in space to prevent any more UFOs from reaching Earth.

“At the time, Reagan told the public we were working on a huge nuclear ‘umbrella’ to protect us from a Russian sneak attack.

“By and large, gullible Americans bought that unlikely cover story.”

The most recent UFO downing took place early in September, claims Sprague.

“A satellite detected an oblong craft nearing the moon.

“The message was relayed to a high-tech laser weapon mounted on an orbiting platform – and a beam blew the UFO to bits!”