UK

MOD's Former Investigator: UFOs Now 'Into The Mainstream'

Nick Pope used to work on Project Condign - the Ministry of Defence's study of UFO phenomena.

Nick Pope is a man who knows about UFOs.

He should, he worked on Project Condign, the UK Ministry of Defence's study of UFO phenomena.

His view is that a US decision to publish video footage showing "unidentified" flying objects is "a hugely significant move".

Mr Pope worked on Project Condign in the early 90s, although he wasn't part of the team by the time it reported in 2000.

He and a defence intelligence colleague looked to escape the pop culture baggage of the term 'UFO' by introducing the term 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' (UAP).

UAP did not stick, and Mr Pope finds himself once again talking about UFOs, and most importantly now, his shock at the way the US Department of Defense has now officially released video that had previously only been leaked.

"For the Pentagon to make it official… just gives this whole subject, I think, a level of credibility it’s never had before," he said.

"It's come out of the fringe and into the mainstream."

The videos, one from November 2004 and two from January 2015, had previously circulated in the public domain following unofficial releases in 2007 and 2017, but have now been declassified and shared along with a public statement.

Video footage of the UFOs is accompanied by audio commentary from military personnel, apparently at the time of the sightings.

Watch: 'Look at that thing, dude': US personnel react to 'unidentified' flying object.

With multiple military witnesses, infrared camera data and radar evidence, Mr Pope believes the videos provide “something more substantial” than the usual aircraft or weather balloon sighting.

He believes the “US themselves” seem to have ruled out the UFOs as “some sort of foreign military drone”, and through declassifying the footage have also debunked the theory the objects are classified US military aircraft.

“The fact that these videos have been put out does suggest that this isn’t black project technology because, if so, why would you put this on show for all the world to see when normally you’d be covering it up, hiding it,” he said.

Additionally, Mr Pope believes the possibility that the UFOs could be extra-terrestrial "does not seem to" have been ruled out by the Pentagon

However, Mr Pope said his own experience in military briefings makes him dubious of the DoD’s official line on the footage claiming the UFOs remain “unidentified"

He said when briefing senior members of the military intelligence community, “you don’t go in and just say we don’t know.” 

Watch: Fast moving 'unidentified' flying object moves past camera.

“There will be, in the US military intelligence community, a best current assessment,” he said.

“That’s what I think everyone really wants to know and that’s what they’re not letting on.”

While suggesting that most of the UK sightings he looked into were simply misidentification Mr Pope did admit that: "We had a steady stream of these sightings that we couldn't explain and where you have something like this [the US videos]... with multiple military witnesses, radar evidence and forward looking infrared camera data obviously you've got something rather more substantial to hang your hat on.

"It is cases like this that really gave even us fairly hard core sceptics at the Ministry of Defence... pause for thought and made us look at this with an open mind and we didn't rule out some sort of exotic, possibly even extra terrestrial explanation for some of this."

Mr Pope’s own theory will not make him “popular with the UFO and conspiracy theory community”, but believes the release of the videos has “the hallmarks of some sort of intelligence operation - a psychological operation, a deception operation, something".

"It's as if the whole rule book on UFOs has been thrown out of the window and that makes me suspicious," he says.

One question remains, however: Does he believe the UFOs could be linked to extraterrestrial life?

“I’m sure there’s life out there, as to whether we are being visited or not, I’m undecided but cases like this really, I think, give one pause for thought,” Mr Pope said.