The UK government is secretly investigating UFO sightings, according to a former Ministry of Defence official.
In 2017, America’s very own X-Files-esque team was revealed by The New York Times: up until 2012, $22 million in defence funding went to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). Three years later, amid leaks and speculation, the Pentagon officially released three declassified videos of UFOs – no aliens, but an emphasis on ‘unidentified’.
‘About time’, was the reaction of Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). Out of his 21 years in government, three were dedicated to a fascinating post that no longer exists. Well, officially, that is.
In an interview with UNILAD to mark UFO Week on BLAZE, Pope sat down with me to chat about his past experiences, investigations and thoughts on the earth-shattering Pentagon footage, as well as what to expect from the intelligence agencies’ report on aerial phenomena as part of the COVID-19 relief bill.
‘The irony is it could possibly come out on World UFO Day. They’ve asked for an unclassified report. If the media and public get any of this, that’s all they’ll get. Not even that, maybe just a summary of it. It can have a classified annex, and that’s where the good stuff is going to buried,’ he said.
‘There’s a debate whether AATIP is still in existence or if it’s running under a different name now that people know about it. What the Department of Defense (DoD) did admit is they have something called the UAP Taskforce, that’s set up in the Office of Naval Intelligence,’ Pope said.
He added, ‘There was a leak… saying they’ve shared some of their interim findings with other Five Eyes nations [in the intelligence-sharing alliance made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US], so GCHQ probably got to see some of this stuff on secure servers and things.’
The position Pope once held in the ‘UFO program’ was cut at the end of 2009. ‘But I have it on multiple well-placed sources that somebody, somewhere in government is still looking at this,’ he said.
Pope continued, ‘Definitely not calling it UFOs anymore, nor UAP now it’s out of the box – probably calling it something else. There are still question marks whether there’s active liaison between the UAP Taskforce and anyone in the MoD. There’s also a suspicion that you put it out into the private sector, to put it outside the scope of the Freedom of Information act. So that’s something else to throw into the mix.’
Now, Pope didn’t take part in the interview to leak information. ‘I always say to people, I’m not a whistleblower. I take my security oath seriously. The only reason I can talk about this is because the government has declassified and released a lot of my old case files, actually,’ he explained.
So, when it came to elaborating on how much the US and UK have worked together, he remained tight-lipped, wary of divulging a line beyond what’s permitted.
However, he did reveal, ‘There is close military and intelligence… collaboration. There’s intelligence sharing across a range of issues. There’s joint exercises; in the UK we’ve got the F-35, which is running into some problems right now. So there’s a lot of training. I think I can probably say… there’s been UK participation in some of the testing of cutting-edge technologies. But when we get into UFOs, that’s still a bit of an unknown.’
Philip Mantle, director of investigations for the British UFO Research Association, described the Pentagon’s footage as a ‘turning point’ – not just because of the videos themselves, but the legitimacy with which they were released and the questions it raises over what’s known between the Five Eyes countries.
Mantle told UNILAD, ‘What was interesting is what colleagues have been saying for years, and it really was only a suspicion, that the US authorities are studying UFOs somewhere. And of course, they were proven right – they had a hunch, and it was the DoD. You then ask, if the Americans are doing it, then who else? The answer is we don’t know, but we can’t rule it out of course.’
But exactly what are we seeing in the likes of the Gimbal footage and other reports? ‘Some of these things are going to be secret, prototype aircraft missiles and drones,’ Pope said.
However, he aired caution on this argument, saying, ‘I think that’s kind of overstated, sometimes, because those sorts of things are exclusively tested in really remote and off-limits ranges, danger areas, training grounds etc. Places like Area 51, and a few British equivalents.’
He continued, ‘I don’t rule out the extraterrestrial hypothesis… apparently, in these interim reports [from the UAP Taskforce], they’ve not ruled out the extraterrestrial hypothesis.’
Whether or not more videos are released to the public in the wake of the impending Intelligence Authorization Act report, to say those three Pentagon clips are just the beginning would be an understatement. ‘They must surely have more than three videos. There’s been little hints dropped here and there, more will surface at one point,’ Mantle posited.
Pope also said, ‘I knew and many people who did this officially knew there’d been hundreds of these sorts of incidents over the years. That’s another misconception about this; we’ve seen these three videos, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.’
UFO Week returns to BLAZE tonight with dedicated content starting from 8pm until 2am every single evening. Blaze is available on Freeview channel 63, Freesat 162, Sky 164, Virgin Media 216, My5 and on demand.
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