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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 29

Re: Condign In The Commons Again

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 03:49:02 +0000
Archived: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 10:35:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Condign In The Commons Again

Hi Nick, List,

>From: Nick Pope <contact.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 14:04:36 -0000
>Subject: Re: Condign In The Commons Again

>>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>>To:  ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 04:18:14 +0100
>>Subject: Condign In The Commons Again


>In a post earlier this year I gave an assessment of why they
>didn't receive a copy:


>More detailed information on this is set out in an article that
>I've written for Stuart Miller's new magazine, Alien Worlds.

It's interesting to observe some of the twists and turns that are
evident here.

In September last year, you wrote at:


"...it would be inappropriate for me to comment on why DI55
apparently decided not to brief my successors on this, or share
with them the results of 'Project Condign'."

Yet in May this year, it seems that it had somehow become
"appropriate" for you to do so.

Your explanation at the link provided by you above cites:

"...a fundamental breakdown in the working relationship between
Sec(AS) and DI55, over handling of the UFO issue. Matters came
to a head in 1997. DI55 were pressing ahead with the work that
was to lead to the drawing up of the Condign Report, but DAS
were concerned that such work was inconsistent with the 'we
don't investigate UFOs' line on the subject that they were
taking with Parliament, the media and the public."

This may well have been a factor, but is not the only factor. It
is interesting to note that you acknowledge the official line
'we [the MoD] don't investigate UFOs', such a short time after
your own incumbency.

You then go on to cite:

"The 'leakiness' comment results from two Sec(AS) actions, again
dating back to 1997. In a document dated 14 January 1997 they
named the individual who had been contracted to undertake the
work, and copied the document to another MoD division, earning a
thinly-veiled rebuke from the individual concerned. Then on 27
January 1997 they again copied a document relating to this
project to other areas of the Department, and also attached a
DI55 document. To anyone in the Defence Intelligence Staff
(DIS), these are cardinal sins. Details of DIS projects and
copies of DIS documents should only be communicated to a third
party with the prior consent of the DIS."

Again, that may have been a factor, but there were other
factors. It was always the case that Sec(AS) (including it's
predecessors and successors) often had no "need to know" about
the activities of other departments. This was crystallised in a
document dated 27th May 1976 (file AIR2/18921 at TNA) which
clearly states:

"5. Since investigations into the defence implications of
alleged UFO sightings might involve highly classified material
it was agreed that S4(Air) has no "need to know" about the
enquiries made by any specialist branch in the course of an
investigation. It followed that detailed reports on such
investigations could not be included in the S4 files which would
ultimately be disclosed when UFO reports were opened to the

I would suggest that the Condign report qualifies as an example
of "detailed reports on such investigations". Furthermore, the
"need to know" aspect is repeated in another document from TNA
(DEFE24/1207) dated 13th December 1977 from S4(Air) to the head
of DI54, which states:

"It is always possible of course, that the considerable
correspondence addressed to MOD might contain some hint, not of
UFOs, but of something with a hostile terrestrial origin which
could have a bearing on national security. We have therefore
been careful to refer all UFO enquiries from the public to ADI55
and DD Ops(GE)(RAF) for any further investigation which they
might consider to be justified. As a Secretariat branch, S4(Air)
does not need to know about this type of enquiry and we do not
ask for further information; we tell the public flatly that we
cannot enter into detailed correspondence, and that enquiries
are not necessarily made to the point of positive
identification. The only exception to this is the occasional
case where a Member of Parliament shows exceptional interest or
concern and we seek ADI 55's advice so that the Minister can
reply more fully and specifically than the standard draft

I am right in assuming that Sec(AS)2a _was_ still a secretariat
branch during your incumbency, am I not? It hadn't been
incorporated into an Intelligence division?

A related document in DEFE24/1207 dated 14th December 1977
drafted by the head of DI54 to the office of the Chief of the
Defence Staff states:

"All UFO enquiries from the public are therefore referred by
S4(Air) to ADI DI 55 and DD Ops(GE)(RAF) for any further
investigation which they might consider to be justified".

All of this suggests that there was a general policy of not
sharing particularly sensitive material with Sec(AS) and it's
successors, primarily because of the concern that sensitive
material might appear in the Sec(AS) registered files on release
to TNA.

Other sources of concern must include the publication of "Open
skies, closed minds". Indeed, this is specifically mentioned in
the Condign report in the context of pilots being reluctant to
make UFO reports to the MoD.

In summary, although I would concede that the points you suggest
as causes for the lack of circulation are contributory factors,
there are also other factors at play, some of which have been
policy since the 1970's.

Incidentally, I noticed in the Raf Sanchez interview at:


"Although he [Pope] is quick to point out that his background is
defence intelligence and not science, Pope can be coaxed into
talking interestingly on scientific developments in man's search
for other life in the universe".

Since when was your background in Defence Intelligence?



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