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The mystery behind the closure of the Ministry of Defence's UFO desk and hotline in 2009 has been solved with the release of declassified files.
The Government shut down its UFO operations because they served "no defence purpose" and were taking staff away from "more valuable defence-related activities", according to 25 files from the National Archives.
Documents reveal 643 sightings were reported in 2009, treble the previous year and the second highest recorded since 1978 when 750 sightings were logged.
They include accounts of alleged abductions, contact with aliens - including a person who claimed they'd been living with an alien - and UFO sightings near UK landmarks like the Houses of Parliament.
Despite these, in a briefing for then defence minister Bob Ainsworth in November 2009, Carl Mantell, of the RAF's Air Command, said in more than 50 years, "no UFO sighting reported to (MoD) has ever revealed anything to suggest an extra-terrestrial presence or military threat to the UK".
The memo said there was "no defence benefit" in the recording, collating, analysis or investigation of the sightings, adding: "The level of resources diverted to this task is increasing in response to a recent upsurge in reported sightings, diverting staff from more valuable defence-related activities."
Officials predicted a backlash from "ufologists" to the decision to close the UFO desk, and also noted that they had "deliberately avoided formal approaches to other governments on the issue" amid fears of "international collaboration and conspiracy". . . .
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