UFO Debunking Strategy

In response to another question, when local forester Vince Thurkettle first suggested that the Orford Ness lighthouse might have played a part in the Rendlesham Forest incident, and when astronomy buff Ian Ridpath then turned this possibility into a certainty, MoD found this useful. Neither of these people ever worked for us, but we quoted their spec
ulations to the media and the public, in the hope that the lighthouse theory would become the accepted wisdom. Our policy was always to downplay the UFO phenomenon, and this fitted our strategy nicely. I apologize for any offence caused”.
-Nick Pope, Directorate of Defence Security, Ministry of Defence

This is a 1958 document calling for the forming of a group to address the requests for declassification of CIA files ...specifically declassification of the entire Robertson panel committee. The Robertson Panel was a committee commissioned by the CIA in 1952 in response to widespread reports of unidentified flying objects, especially in the Washington, D.C. area. The panel was briefed on U.S. military activities and intelligence; hence the report was originally classified Secret. (

The requests for declassification were from UFO Investigator Leon Davidson. Notice Document Part 2 and how it is the same strategy the MOD used regarding The Rendlesham Forest Incident. Nick Pope is even quoted above confirming the MoD’s use of amateur astronomers to downplay UFO phenomenon.

he MoD used these strategies to downplay UFO reports...The "No Defense Significance.." was used in the late 40's and early 50's ...Well it looks like the use of amateurs and Professor's with PhD's continued into at least the 80's ....The CIA and MoD used these Strategies for a very long time probably because they worked so well casting the seeds of doubt in peoples minds."
-Nick Pope, Directorate of Defence Security, Ministry of Defence


Regarding the Cosford UFO Incident 

The Cosford Incident (Black Triangle Shaped Craft of Unknown Origin)
On 30 and 31 March 1993 there was a series of UFO sightings in the UK involving over a hundred witnesses. Many of these were police officers and military personnel. The UFO also flew directly over two RAF bases. What follows is the extraordinary story of what has been dubbed The British UFO Mystery. 

Given the MOD's "no defence significance" conclusion on UFOs, it seems fitting to conclude with quotes from MOD documents which contradict the usual stance. In a briefing that I prepared for my Head of Division on 16 April 1993 I wrote:

"It seems that an unidentified object of unknown origin was operating in the UK Air Defence Region without being detected on radar; this would appear to be of considerable defence significance, and I recommend that we investigate further, within MOD or with the US authorities".

My Head of Division was normally sceptical about the UFO phenomenon, but on this occasion he agreed with my conclusion. His 22 April 1993 brief to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (one of the UK's most senior RAF officers) stated:

"In summary, there would seem to be some evidence on this occasion that an unidentified object (or objects) of unknown origin was operating over the UK."

This is about as close the MOD will ever get to saying that there's more to UFOs than misidentifications or hoaxes. -
Nick Pope

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