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Epoch Times: Science writer Ian Ridpath disputes the claim that the radiation at the site was higher than the background radiation. He has said the conclusion that the radiation was unusually high was based on incomplete information about the readings taken by Col. Halt (it wasn’t taken into consideration, for example, that the device Halt used for detection was very sensitive, affecting the readings). Ridpath said that Giles Cowling at the U.K. government’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency agrees with him on this and so does the National Radiological Protection Board.
Pope: While Ridpath has written about science, he’s not a scientist himself, and is simply a ufologist who has tried to portray himself as an expert on this case. He has misunderstood how science works: One can only study the data one has, not the data one thinks one should have.
In other words, it’s no good trying to argue that the Geiger counter was over-sensitive, or that the readings might have been misread. The equipment used was the equipment available, and it was operated by a disaster-preparedness expert trained in its use.
The MoD’s defence intelligence staff assessed the radiation levels as being “significantly higher than the average background” shortly after the incident, and this assessment was validated by the Defence Radiological Protection Service in 1993 when I undertook a cold case review.
It’s not appropriate for ufologists like Ridpath, for whom this is a hobby, to second guess the scientists who do this sort of thing as part of their government jobs. … It muddies the waters of an already complex case.....
Epoch Times: Do the witness accounts (particularly those of the two primary military personnel witnesses, Jim Penniston and John Burroughs) contradict or do they agree on all points? Have they changed significantly over time?
Pope: There are differences between the accounts of some witnesses, and some stories have evolved over time. As somebody who has investigated hundreds of UFO sightings for the government, this doesn’t surprise me or trouble me at all, and indeed it’s exactly what I’d expect.
People’s memories and perceptions vary, in the same way as people have different characters and personalities. Moreover, everyone’s recollections and opinions change over the years, and it should be borne in mind that the Rendlesham Forest incident occurred 36 years ago. .....
.......It should also be remembered that the UFO was briefly tracked on radar.