ALIENS, UFOs and death rays sound more like the stuff of science fiction than the subjects of top-secret government briefings… but I know from my 21 years at the Ministry of Defence that our leaders take these threats more seriously than they let on.
I also learned from my time there that UFOs are real. And I should know, because my job throughout the nineties was to investigate them.
World UFO Day fell last week, and it was very clear that the usual scepticism and ridicule had been replaced with a far more serious tone.
This may be helped by the fact that details recently emerged of MoD documents showing the UK government’s interest and involvement in UFOs — and suggesting that we had spent 50 years investigating the possibilities of developing alien technology.
I worked on these files and came out of retirement to help with the MoD’s release project — the decade-long declassification of top-secret papers — which concluded in January.
And while the Official Secrets Act binds me for life, now that the government itself is releasing more details of my old MoD job, I can give people an insider’s perspective on what we really got up to.
From UFOs almost crashing into planes to alien abductions
The bottom line was that we knew UFOs were real, but we didn’t know what they were.
The majority of UFO sightings could be explained, but around five per cent remain mysterious.
The cases that concerned me most were the near-misses between UFOs and commercial aircrafts — there are several such cases in the MoD’s UFO files.
What was much more fun was the other weird stuff that came our way simply because there was nowhere else in government to send it: crop circles, claims that people had been abducted by aliens, ghost sightings and people who claimed to be psychic and volunteered their services to British intelligence.
But is it really true, as the latest declassified files suggest, that we were racing against the Russians and the Chinese to acquire alien technology and develop some sort of super-weapon?
Not quite, but the reality is almost just as bizarre.