At a time when 21st Century Fox was enjoying the widespread success of its TV show, ‘The X-Files’, the British government was conducting an audit of a decade of UFO sightings and related phenomenon.


Called Project Condign, condign meaning a deserved punishment for a crime, the effort was handled by the U.K’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). Investigators and analysts studied a database of sightings between 1987 and 1997 to determine not so much the validity of the incidents (but they did offer opinions) but any patterns in the sightings. It was to be the U.K.’s version of Project Blue Book in the United States that was carried out decades before.

Nick Pope, a former MoD UFO investigator told Fox News, “The reason for the study was that while we’d been investigating UFO sightings on a case-by-case basis for decades, we’d done very little trend analysis. Project Condign was supposed to rectify this and be a proper intelligence assessment that would look for patterns in data we already had.

“We were trying to draw everything together and say in relation to UFOs: ‘OK, what’s our best assessment of what we’re dealing with, what are the threats, and what are the opportunities?’”

Threats? Opportunities?

Pope’s statements contrast sharply with what the project members said around thirty-years ago. It appears that Project Condign members were aware all too cognizant of the discrepancy between private investigations and public assurances of ‘nothing to see here’.

“The study was highly classified and extremely sensitive,” Pope told Fox, “not least because the MoD consistently told parliament, the media and the public that UFOs were of limited interest and ‘no defense significance’. Our concern was that if the existence of the study became known, it would have exposed an internal position on the phenomenon that was different from our public position.”

When the study team released the results of Project Condign in 2000, titled ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) in the UK Air Defence Region,’ they insisted that the sightings could be explained away using either known scientific phenomenon, like atmospheric plasma emanations, or man-made causes.

Interestingly, the study made it a point of noting, “No evidence exists to associate the phenomena with any particular nation.”

Since leaving the MoD, Pope has taken issue with the Ministry’s report, saying, “In places it looked like a conclusion-led study where data had been used to support a personal opinion.”

Pope’s disillusion with the MoD was heightened, he says, when he read in the report that the British government hoped to be able to use any uncovered information for “novel military applications”.


“This was essentially a reference to weaponization, including the construction of a directed energy weapon,” Pope exclaimed.

A recent statement from the British government stated, “The MOD continues to have no opinion on the existence, or otherwise, of extra-terrestrial life and does not investigate reported unidentified flying object sightings,” it said.

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