Aircraft sketch (catalogue reference: DEFE 24/1985/1)

12 July 2012

The National Archives has today released its ninth batch of UFO files, containing over 6,700 pages of UFO policy, parliamentary questions, public correspondence and UFO sighting reports.

The files reveal the role of the UFO Desk Officers for the first time, including what they really thought about the possibility of alien visits, their ideas to harness alien technology as a weapon, and their briefings to Tony Blair on UFO policy.

'One of the strangest jobs in Whitehall'

Dr David Clarke, author of the book 'The UFO files' and Senior Lecturer in Journalism from Sheffield Hallam University, said: 'These records allow us to look behind the scenes of what must have been one of the strangest jobs in Whitehall. We now have a fascinating insight into some of the extraordinary reports and briefings which passed over the UFO Desk on a daily basis and how its officers used logic and science in their attempts to explain "the unexplained"'.

Described as a relatively junior role, the 'daily mechanics' of the UFO Desk Officer job included providing briefings on the Ministry of Defence's position on UFOs and extraterrestrial life, undertaking UFO investigations, handling hundreds of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, and managing UFO 'experts' and press enquiries.

Alien tourists

Among the files is a 1995 briefing by a UFO Intelligence Officer which states that although there is no hard evidence for alien craft, if sightings were indeed alien visitors there was a number of possible reasons for their visit, including 'a) military reconnaissance b) scientific c) tourism'.

The briefing paper also states that if the reports were to be believed, alien technology was far superior to ours and goes on to suggest that the Ministry of Defence could use the UFO technology, if it existed.

Further highlights

  • A lengthy briefing on UFO policy to Prime Minister Tony Blair's office at the time the government had just begun the implementation of the FOI Act
  • Findings of an Unexplained Aerial Phenomena study suggested that some UFOs were rare atmospheric plasmas that could be used by the military as 'novel weapon technology'
  • A 1982 memo notes a fall in numbers of UFO sightings since the beginning of the Falklands War but 'large numbers of UFOs have been seen in the vicinity of the Task Force - presumably Little Green Men in ponchos'
  • A late night visit by three 'men in black' to a person who reported having a UFO encounter in Spalding, Lincolnshire. The UFO witness later had no recollection of either the men or the UFO encounter

The files are free to download for a month at nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos.

You can also read a guest post by David Clarke about the files on our blog.

A new edition of David Clarke's book 'The UFO files' is also coming soon - sign up for our free e-newsletter to find out when this edition becomes available, and to receive notification on the latest UFO files releases.