Britain's National Archives have released 25 files detailing government briefings on unidentified flying objects or UFOs.
The Guardian says the archive includes thousands of pages of highly-classified documents and shows the country's Ministry of Defense took the threat of aliens seriously. It is the ninth set of the government's "X-files" to be made public since the government decided in 2008 that keeping them secret was no longer justified, the newspaper explains.
Associated Press reports that one file describes the post of UFO desk officer, whose daily duties included providing briefings on the Ministry of Defense's position on UFOs, undertaking UFO investigations, handling freedom of information requests and managing UFO experts or "UFOlogists." The UFO desk was closed in 2009.
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Other documents show Ministry staff believed aliens could visit for “military reconnaissance”, “scientific” research or “tourism”, according to The Telegraph. The newspaper says that during a 1995 official briefing an unnamed desk officer said the purpose of reported alien craft sightings “needs to be established as a matter of priority”, adding there did not appear to be “hostile intent”.
The Daily Mail outlines some of the "stranger" investigations mentioned, including a UFO sighting by a police officer at Chelsea Football Club during the 1999 FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United. He said a "square to almond shape" yellow object with four lights floated above his horse.
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The release of the documents came after a Freedom of Information request by David Clarke, author of the book 'The UFO files' and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, reports AFP.
"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'," Clarke is quoted as saying.
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