UK MoD to destroy future UFO reports
Britain’s official UFO investigation unit and hotline were closed down at the start of December.
Since then reports of strange sights in the skies sent to the MoD have been kept for 30 days before being thrown out, the newly released policy document shows.
This stance was adopted so defence officials would not have to publish the information in response to freedom of information (FoI) requests or pass it to the National Archives.
The memo, dated November 11, 2009, sets out the MoD’s reasons for shutting its UFO unit and ceasing to invite the public to send in details of sightings.
It notes that the number of reports the department received soared last year, taking up extra resources and diverting staff from "more valuable" defence-related activities.
The MoD recorded 634 UFO sightings in 2009, the second highest annual total after 1978, when there were 750, according to UFO expert Dr David Clarke.
This compares with an average of about 150 reports a year over the past decade.
The memo states: "The dedicated UFO hotline answer phone service and e-mail address serve no defence purpose, and merely encourage the generation of correspondence of no defence value.
"Accordingly these facilities should be withdrawn as soon as possible."
Article from: UKPressAssociation
UFO sightings will vanish in the ex files
The Ministry of Defence will destroy future reports of UFOs to prevent them from being made public, a memo has revealed.
The British UFO investigation unit and hotline were closed at the start of December. Since then reports have been kept for 30 days. It means that details of sightings will be exempt from freedom of information laws. The memo said that an increase in reports had diverted staff from “more valuable” defence-related activities. The MoD had 634 reports of sightings last year, the highest total since 1978.
The MoD is releasing its past UFO files through the National Archives. Five instalments have been made public, which is about a third of the total.
Dr David Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, obtained the memo through the Freedom of Information Act.
He said: “This is the final rubber-stamping of the decision — they just want to totally wash their hands of the UFO business altogether. It’s just been a millstone around their necks ever since the Cold War. They have decided that whatever they do, it reflects badly on them.”
The UFO expert said that the MoD’s new policy on destroying reports would make it much more difficult to uncover the truth about incidents in the future.
“It’s like they’re desperately trying to avoid having to answer FoI requests on this subject,” he said. “Even if something quite serious happened, perhaps where there was a near-miss with an airline, the MoD will say, ‘we may have had a report on it, but we’ve destroyed it’.”
The MoD is releasing its historic UFO files gradually through the National Archives. Five instalments have been made public so far, amounting to about a third of the total.
Nick Pope, a former MoD employee who worked on the UFO files, said: “It’s ironic that the UFO project was cut because sightings were increasing. MoD disengaged because they were inundated. It’s laziness as opposed to a conspiracy.
“Destroying UFO reports to avoid dealing with FoI requests isn’t illegal, but it’s a great shame. Who knows what fascinating material will be lost?”