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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 23

MoD To Release 160 UFO Files

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 17:57:56 +0000
Archived: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 19:57:54 -0500
Subject: MoD To Release 160 UFO Files

Source: UK-UFO.Org


December 21, 2007

MoD To Release 160 UFO Files

Following sustained pressure by a small number of UFO
researchers during the last 8 years, the British Ministry of
Defence have decided to release all of their UFO files.

Gary Anthony, Dave Clarke, and Joe McGonagle have been making
full use of the Freedom of Information Act and it's precursor,
the Code of Practice on access to Government information. At
considerable personal expense, effort, and investment of time
the three of us have submitted a steady stream of requests. As
well as making requests ourselves, we actively encouraged and
assisted other ufologists to make their own requests.

Dave Clarke obtained a listing of files held by the MoD on the
topic of Unidentified Flying Objects during 2003. In the course
of requesting the contents of some of those files, we discovered
that 24 files created by DI55 (the Defence Intelligence Branch
charged with the investigation of UFO reports) were contaminated
by asbestos, and their destruction was being considered. Not
only were the UFO records contaminated, but a total of 63,000
files estimated at between 6 to 12 million pages, most of them
classified above Secret were facing the same fate. The files
covered a wide range of topics from a key period of military and
political history.

We campaigned to ensure the salvage of the file contents by
gaining the active support of MPs, academics, the media, and
ufologists. It didn't take long for the MoD to realise that
destruction of the files would be inexcusable and they
instigated a project to digitally scan the files before they
were destroyed at an estimated cost of 3 million pounds. We
continued to monitor the progress of the project, requesting
periodic updates from the Departmental Records Officer at the

Another significant achievement in the course of our activity
was identifying the existence of the 'Condign report' in 2005
and securing it's release in 2006. This was the first document
obtained under the FoIA with a 'SECRET' classification.

Scanning of the 24 contaminated UFO files owned by DI55 was
completed in the early part of 2007, and this prompted a
dialogue within the MoD as to the future release of files. Due
to the volume of requests about UFOs received by Defence
Intelligence, they discussed the viability of a staged,
wholesale release, and concluded in April 2007 that this was the
preferred way forward. This encouraged the Directorate of Air
Space (DAS, the MoD agency charged with filtering reports before
passing those thought to be of defence interest to other MoD
branches including DI55) to make a similar evaluation and they
have now also reached a decision for a staged release of all of
their UFO records.

Our enquires have established the following details about the
intended release;

1. There are a total of 160 files managed by DAS and DI55 which
will be released. These cover a period from the late 1970s up to
2007, including a series of files containing FoIA requests and
their responses on the subject of UFOs from 2005 to present.

[Link to a pdf file of the list of files scheduled for release.
There is a pagination error in the file, but most of the
information is visible.] http://www.uk-

2. It is expected to take 3 years to review, redact, and release
the files, but release will occur in batches as they become
available. It is currently intended to process the files in
chronological order.

3. Personal details of officials and members of the public will
be redacted, but the unredacted versions will be released under
the terms of the Public Records Act, normally after 30 years.

4. The files will not be generally published on the MoD web
site, but will be released to the National Archives in both
paper and digital form. TNA will publish them on-line, but there
will probably be a fee charged for their download in accordance
with existing TNA policy.

5. It is likely that the MoD will respond to many future FoIA
requests about UFOs along the lines that publication is
scheduled via TNA, and the requester will have to wait until the
information is available from TNA (covered by section 22 of the
FoIA, "Information intended for Future Publication").

6. The first tranche of documents are expected to be released
during spring 2008.

The following is a direct quote from an FoIA response from the
MoD explaining the rationale behind the release. Elsewhere in
the response, the release was described as "a major exercise,
which I believe is unique in MoD history".

"The subject of UFOs is one of the most popular subjects for FOI
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. 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."

Within the next three years, everyone will be able to see the
true level of interest and effectiveness demonstrated by the MoD
on the topic of UFOs for themselves. This release will be a
source of disappointment or vindication for some, and
embarrassment for others. Conspiracy theorists who believe that
the various governments of the world are hiding secrets about
the 'reality' of alien visitation will see this move as another
whitewash effort by the MoD and will probably continue their
self-sustaining 'campaign for the truth', when the 'truth'
really will be 'out there' - just that they don't believe it!

Gary Anthony
Dave Clarke
Joe McGonagle

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