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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > May > May 12

Re: MoD Opens Its Files On UFO Sightings To Public

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 17:55:33 +0100
Fwd Date: Sat, 12 May 2007 08:00:47 -0400
Subject: Re: MoD Opens Its Files On UFO Sightings To Public


>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 18:12:14 +0100
>Subject: Re: MoD Opens Its Files On UFO Sightings To Public

<snip>

Hello Martin,

>Thanks Joe, the history of this affair seems very clear from
>these documents.

You're welcome.

>I'm struck by what you say here:

>"What concerns me most about this message is the intention to
>destroy the unedited original material after the redacted
>version is on-line...."

<snip>

>This is concerning. The author of the memo mentioning
>destruction is effectively asking someone "can we do this?",
>rather than stating an intention. So one can hope that the
>answer was a loud "no!" But it's important that you've raised
>the matter explicitly. I wonder why they should want to destroy
>the files anyway - it isn't pressure on storage space that's the
>issue after all, but pressure on office time, which the online
>archiving would presumably relieve.

This isn't the only example of excessive secrecy within DI55. In
a document related to the internal circulation of the Condign
Report was the following remark from a senior DI55 official:

"On archiving, we recommend that the files containing the lay
sightings are never released to public records, since they
contain personal details of individuals given in confidence."

I have also highlighted this comment to the Department for
Constitutional Affairs (they administer the Public Records Act,
the Freedom of Information Act, and the Data Protection Act). I
have asked DCA for authoritative guidance on the application of
the DPA in relation to records subject to the PRA. I also
queried with them the practice of removing the names of
officials from documents provided under FoIA, as the lack of
details makes it very difficult to understand the context of
dialogue in terms of departmental hierarchy in many cases. A
previous decision by the Information Commissioner (the body
which oversees FoIA) took the view that official's names should
not be redacted.

I copied my query in full to the FoIA point of contact at DI55.
If they destroy anything after the time that they received the
copy of my post, they can be held to account if DCA respond in
my favour.

It is a pity, other MoD departments have been very helpful and
co-operative in relation to FoIA requests. This is perhaps why a
DI55 official wrote in relation to the internal distribution of
Condign:

"In view of the 'leakiness' of Sec AS we would advocate only
releasing the report to them on request".

You may also remember the reference in Condign to the suggestion
that Pilots were discouraged from making reports to the MoD
following the publication of Nick Pope's first book.


Regards,

Joe



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