The UK’s Ministry of Defence has declassified the remaining three documents in a series of files regarding UFOs, releasing them to the UK’s National Archives after a series of delays that lasted half a decade. The files, consisting of 2,500 pages formerly classified as "SECRET", paint a picture of government officials tasked with uncovering the secrets behind the advanced technologies powering UFOs — fearing that the Soviet Union and China could unlock those secrets first.
The final three files cover a 50-year span of history, and refer to two separate ‘UFO desks’: one that collected UFO reports from the public, of whom UFO investigator Nick Pope was a member, and a secret one that was tasked with obtaining the advanced technology that powered these anomalous craft. Both desks were shut down in 2009 and 1997, respectively, when elements within the British government became concerned that the resources of their security services were becoming distracted by "investigating X-files stuff such as alien abductions."
"The MoD have been desperately trying to delay the release of these formerly secret and highly sensitive papers for more than a decade," according to investigative journalist and UFO researcher Dr. David Clarke, in an interview with The Sun.
"Even though they have been partly censored they can’t conceal the fact the UK military were interested in capturing UFO technology – or what they coyly refer to as ‘novel weapon technology’."
In January 2018, Clarke received the final three files ahead of their official release to the public. Clarke has been instrumental in securing the release of classified UFO files from the Ministry of Defence through Freedom of Information Act FOIA requests, including key documents on 1980’s Rendlesham Forest incident. In his May 2018 blog entry, Clarke outlined the secret debate that took place between civil servants, intelligence officers and military staff regarding how they should respond to the public’s growing interest in the UFO phenomenon.
The publicly-known UFO desk, known as Secretariat (Air Staff) 2, received UFO reports from the public, and copied all such reports to their counterparts in DI55, a section of the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) within the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS); however, the public desk never received word on what was being done with this information. In 1997, the head of the public UFO desk sought "get rid of" the UFO issue, as they considered it a "diversion from their main duties"; the official’s DI55 counterpart disagreed, saying that it wasn’t credible, and also politically risky, to claim that UFOs posed no "threat to the realm", considering that there hadn’t been any studies on the data collected since the 1970s. The DI55 head, a RAF Wing Commander, still considered UFOs to be a potential threat, on-par with intruding Russian aircraft: "They have never shown any hostile intent but they certainly represented a threat," adding that "It could be argued that UAPs pose a potential threat to the Defence of the Realm since we have no idea what they are!"
In 2000, the head of Defence Intelligence asked the UFO desk to stop forwarding their UFO reports to DI55, including ones from credible witnesses such as police officers and air traffic control operators; this move was due to the closure of DI55’s UFO unit that year. In a move akin to the use of the Condon Report as an excuse to shut down the USAF’s Project Blue Book in the United States in 1969, the DIS was using the results of the Condign Report to distance themselves from the UFO issue; although the report wasn’t released to the public until 2006, the 1997-2000 study concluded that no evidence has been found to suggest that what it referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) were "hostile or under any type of control." The public UFO desk and its reporting hotline would later be shuttered in 2009.
While sifting through the 2,500 pages of the newly-released files, Clarke uncovered the reason for the MoD’s initial interest in UFOs: they wanted to get their hands on the advanced technologies employed by the exotic craft. Clarke ran into "a number of intriguing references to ‘technology acquisition’", and one of the files’ authors makes a note to "Try to discover whether any scientific facts can be elicited from these phenomena – whatever they might be – which might be made use of by UK for military purposes." In particular, they felt that "propulsion, stealth and novel electromagnetic technologies [were] of particular interest."
In an email interview with Sputnik News, UFO investigator and former staff investigator for Secretariat (Air Staff) 2 Nick Pope discussed the inclusion of his former posting’s role in the newly-released documents, and confirms that the British government was aware of Russia and China’s attempts to acquire advanced technology from UFOs:
"I ran the British government’s UFO project and I’m pleased that a number of ‘UFOlogists’ have acquired documents about my old job, using the UK’s Freedom of Information Act. Actually, this is part of what’s been a wider 10-year program to declassify and release these files, and I’ve been working with my former employers to try to ensure that the final files are made available to the public as soon as possible, as part of our wider commitment to open government and freedom of information.
"I can confirm that we were aware of Russian and Chinese research into UFOs and into parapsychology more generally. We didn’t take a definitive view on the true nature of the UFO phenomenon (we remained open-minded but noncommittal about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation) and so we looked at the issue in terms of threats and opportunities. Even if UFOs were just exotic atmospheric plasma phenomena — as one of my colleagues in intelligence believed — we thought we might be able to derive some ‘novel military technologies’ from this, and weaponization formed part of our speculation, particularly the idea of some sort of directed-energy weapon.
"If such a thing was possible, self-evidently we didn’t want the Russians or the Chinese getting there first. While I don’t characterize any of this as being a race to acquire ‘alien weapons’, what we did was probably as strange as anything you can see in an episode of The X-Files."