A French minister discusses UFOs

On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, French Minister Delegate for Industry Roland Lescure responded to a public question about UFOs. His answer raised eyebrows, but may have revealed an intriguing point.


Published 2023-10-15 at 12:25

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When French Minister for Democratic Renewal Olivier Véran launched his direct democracy platform "Agora", he probably didn't anticipate that the most voted question on the platform at the time of writing, surpassing immigration, would concern UFOs.

Voted for by over 2,500 people and written by Léo, the question was prominently featured at the top of Agora:

"What is the French government's position on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAPs) and what measures does it intend to take to catch up with the USA in terms of legislation?
Since 2017, the United States has begun a major transparency movement on the issue of UAP. This resulted in an amendment to declassify a number of documents on the issue. NASA and the Department of Defense are also actively involved. France's GEIPAN does not have the necessary prerogatives to deal with the issue in depth. 
How does France intend to proceed?"

According to newspaper l'Opinion, Minister Véran then turned to the Minister of Research, who has authority over the French Space Agency, the "Centre National d'Etude Spatiales" (CNES), home to its UAP study group, the "Groupe d'Etude et d'Information sur les Phénomènes Aerospatiaux Non identifiés" (GEIPAN), responsible for collecting public testimonies. However, the Minister refused. According to L'Opinion, the question was later accepted by Roland Lescure seeing as space related matters have recently been integrated into the Ministry of the Economy, of which he is a member.

After announcing Minister Lescure's response later in the day at the official press conference of the Council of Ministers, Olivier Véran chose to answer another question, only saying that they had "worked hard" on both.

Minister of Democratic Renewal Olivier Véran, picture by Audran Demierre — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Response

Minister Lescure's response was later broadcast on the Agora platform. He stated:

"Hello Léo, and hello and thank you to the 2,500 agoranauts who have made it possible for me to answer your question today about UAPs, UAPs are Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena, not to be confused with UFOs, which are just a sub-category.”

It is noteworthy that here the Minister considers UFOs a sub-category of UAPs, suggesting there are real UFOs according to the Minister. He continues:

"Léo, you're asking us why France lags behind the United States in terms of legislation and transparency. Léo, let me reassure you: we're not lagging behind, we're ahead. What the Americans have voted for is transparency on these UAP declarations.”

For several years now, thanks to whistleblowers' declarations to the US Congress, an effort has been made to compel various branches and agencies of the government to communicate their information on UAP to the oversight bodies of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the executive branch. A new law signed by President Joe Biden, protecting whistleblowers on the subject of UAPs, allowed David Grusch to testify before the House Oversight Committee last summer.

He testified under oath that some U.S. government agencies, contractors and employees are involved in an unauthorized program to recover and reverse-engineer supposedly non-human craft. He insisted that he could disclose the personnel involved during a forthcoming classified hearing in a protected space (SCIF). Intriguingly, access to this SCIF was denied. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed a new amendment aiming to establish a committee to declassify UFO information under the President of the United States.

Minister Lescure continues:

"In France this transparency already exists. Just go to the CNES-GEIPAN site- everything is there. We have around 700 declarations a year of these UAP, and of these 700, 97[%] are very well identified, it could be a satellite, a reflection of the moon - it could be, between you and me, someone who's had one too many and reported something that doesn't exist."

Upon checking the GEIPAN website itself, it's not that simple. Official statistics indicate that 24.5% of cases are perfectly identified - not 97%. Even when including the cases that have likely been identified, that number goes up to a mere 64.2% of cases, far from those 97% mentioned by the Minister. Note the allusion to alcohol use, despite it not being mentioned in any of the psychological or psychosocial analyses available on the GEIPAN website, probably due to the fact that until recently testimonies were recorded mainly by the Gendarmerie, the French police military corps.  It seems doubtful that a witness under the influence of alcohol would wish to give evidence to a military police force.

The Minister went on:

"There are 3% who today are not identified. They are." [sic]

This statement seems to indicate that the so-called "D" cases of the GEIPAN, i.e. very strange cases, with many concordant elements, and remaining unidentified after investigation, representing 3.3% (100 cases) of investigations, are in fact identified.

He emphasized:

"These are not UFOs."

This seems to contradict his first definition of UFOs, mentioned above, where UFOs are a sub-category. He insists:

"They're not Martians."

Minister of the Armed Forces and Companion of the Liberation Robert Galley, Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération, under fair use for information

They are not Martians

Interestingly, when decorated journalist Jean-Claude Bourret, who revealed that France had been contaminated by the Chernobyl cloud, interviewed the Minister of the Armed Forces Robert Galley about UFOs, Galley replied:

"'We need to adopt an extremely open-minded attitude towards these phenomena. A certain amount of progress has been made in humanity by the fact that we have sought to explain the inexplicable. [...] these visual phenomena [...] that have come to be known as UFOs, [...] it is irrefutable that there are things today that are unexplained”

Galley went on to explain that France has had a section within the Ministry of the Armed Forces working on "these apparitions of unidentified objects" since 1954, confirmed that the French Army can track them by radar, and that fighter pilots have testified to observing them. Asked by Jean-Claude Bourret whether these data could be released to the public, he responded: "If anomalies occurred on Air Defense radars, there would be no reason for us not to communicate these observations."

This contrasts sharply with the position of Minister Lescure, who declared:

"but these are phenomena that are classified for national defense reasons, so I reassure you we are totally transparent, see you soon."


Given that all GEIPAN's D cases are all accessible, one might then wonder which cases are kept “Secret Défense”, and how this “Secret Défense” could be "totally transparent".

In his investigation for Le Parisien, Gaël Lombart provides several interesting elements. According to his exchanges with the Minister's office, there was an error in that these cases are, in fact, not classified - a mistake possibly due to lack of time, the Minister’s office having requested information from GEIPAN only a few hours before issuing its official response.

The question of these "classified" cases, as mentioned by the Minister, remains. If, as Minister Galley suggested, cases of military encounters with UAP can be communicated to the public, perhaps recourse to the French FOIA, the "Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs" (CADA) might be wise to obtain access.

As early as 1999, the report "UFOs and Defense", authored by the COMETA association, chaired by Air Force General Denis Letty and involving several military experts, suggested that "numerous manifestations observed by reliable witnesses could be the work of extraterrestrial devices". Here, again, there is a notable distance between what this committee of experts has to say and what the Minister for Industry has to say.

Study of UAP has not stopped since then. Even today, numerous groups are working on the subject, including the very serious "Association Aéronautique et Aérospatiale de France". Its Sigma 2 technical committee, headed by Luc Dini, continues its investigations. The latest 300-page report, published in 2021, is available here.

When asked by The Check why he had asked the Minister, Leo replied that he had discovered the application by chance, and that he saw it as an opportunity to question the government on a subject that was important to him, and that could bring together the multiple national groups dedicated to it.

Main picture: Par Llisluk — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Baptiste Friscourt

Born in 1986, this certified visual arts teacher started looking for reliable information on UAP in 2017 at the request of his students. Since then, he's been covering UAP research in France for The Debrief while vulgarizing international content on a demonetized platform of his own which was named Explorer Lab. After serving as Editor-in-Chief of UAP Check News between February 2023 and January 2024, he is currently editor-in-chief of Sentinel News.