Britain’s Ministry of Defence has bowed to pressure and agreed to make public their own X-Files – formerly secret reports about UFO sightings. All 160 documents relating to “flying saucers” over the UK will be declassified and released over the next three years.
Believers in alien visitors hope the new documents, dating from the late 1970s to 2007, will unveil the truth about some of our own most baffling UFO sightings. But the MoD warn that those who believe in a cover-up will be disappointed by what they read.
The MoD decision follows sustained pressure from several investigators who used the Freedom of Information Act to pressure the Government over individual incidents.
Officials found that dealing with those they termed “UFO spotters” was taking up too much valuable time and resources. They therefore made the dramatic decision to reveal at last the UK’s secrets of the skies.
The files include 24 that DI55 – the Defence Intelligence Branch charged with investigating UFO reports – had been planning to destroy because they were contaminated with asbestos. The researchers campaigned successfully for the documents to be scanned along with 63,000 non-UFO military files numbering up to 12 million pages.
They were led by Dr Dave Clarke, a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, Gary Anthony and Joe McGonagle whose steady stream of demands for information put enormous strain on the MoD.
An earlier success for the team was to identify the existence of a secret MoD document about UFO sightings called the Condign Report and to force its release last year.
The first batch of reports are expected to be released in spring next year. But unlike in France, where their files were put on the internet for free, the UK files will be released to the National Archives who make a charge for providing documents to the public.
An MoD spokesman said: “The subject of UFOs is one of the most popular subjects for Freedom of Information requests. Answering requests takes a considerable amount of time and resources and can involve officials in days of work, which frequently means trawling through old files to find the information requested.
“By placing the UFO files on-line at the National Archive in a structured manner, the MoD is able to follow its remit for more open government and, by re-directing applicants to the National Archive site, reduce the amount of time it spends answering requests.”
But believers in a Flying Saucer cover-up might be disappointed by what they read, the spokesman suggests.
He added: “By opening our files in this way, we may also help to counter the maze of rumour and frequently ill-informed speculation that surrounds the role of the MoD in the UFO phenomena.”
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