The White House has opened up a new section on their website called "We the People," which allows citizens to post a petition about a matter they want the White House to address. If the petition obtains a certain number of signatures within a given time period, the White House says they will review the issue and make an official response. One of the first petitions they will need to respond to will be one which requests the president to "formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race."
Political activist Stephen Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group posted the petition on September 22, and five days later breached the 5000 signature mark. His petition reads:
We, the undersigned, strongly urge the President of the United States to formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race and immediately release into the public domain all files from all agencies and military services relevant to this phenomenon.
I emailed Bassett asking if he believed Obama really knew anything about extraterrestrials visiting the earth, and he responded that "Whether or not he knows it to be true, he could easily find out." However, believe it or not, past presidents have tried to find out and run into a dead end.
Bill Clinton's efforts to look into the UFO subject are well documented. The best archive of this material is at Grant Cameron's PresidentialUFO.com. One of the more interesting stories was printed in a book by Clinton's friend Webster Hubbell. Hubbell was a friend of the Clintons from Arkansas, and was indicted for fraud in the Whitewater scandals. Before his indictment he was assigned to the Attorney General's office as the Associate Attorney General. Hubbell wrote in his book Friends in High Places:
Clinton had said, "If I put you over at Justice, I want you to find the answers to two questions for me. One, who killed JFK? And two, are there UFOs?" Clinton was dead serious. I had looked into both, but wasn't satisfied with the answers I was getting.
Cameron told me he had amassed enough evidence to show that Clinton was very interested in UFOs, but that not even the president has the power to demand that sort of information. Clinton himself hinted that this might be the case. In an interview in Hong Kong, Clinton was asked about his UFO interests. He admitted that he had looked into Area 51 and the alleged Roswell UFO crash of 1947, but didn't find anything. However, he added:
I did attempt to find out if there were any secret government documents that revealed things and if there were, they were concealed from me too. I wouldn't be the first president that underlings have lied to or that career bureaucrats have waited out. But there may be some career person somewhere hiding these dark secrets, even from elected Presidents. But if so, they successfully eluded me, and I am almost embarrassed to tell you that I did try to find out.
Carter might have also taken a shot at gaining access to the X-Files. According to Daniel Sheehan, while serving as the General Counsel to the United States Jesuit National Headquarters in Washington, DC in 1997, he was approached by the then-Director of the Library of Congress' Science and Technology Division, Marcia Smith, to help with a UFO research project. He says that during the course of his participation with Smith, she had told him that President-elect Jimmy Carter had requested that George Bush, Sr., who was Director of the CIA at the time, brief him on the UFO situation. Bush refused, telling Carter that he did not have the need to know. Smith, Bush, nor Carter have confirmed this claim.
So what will the White House response be? Will they tell us they asked Bush and/or the career bureaucrats again, but they still say "Nunya" (slang for none of your business)? Or will Obama tell us something similar to what he has said before, that we have enough problems right here on earth he needs to contend with? My guess is something more akin to the later.
Some feel that asking the president to admit that we are interacting with extraterrestrials is taking things a little too far. Retired Air Force captain Robert Salas has offered up a more subtle petition, asking the Obama administration to "reveal the reality of the UFO phenomenon to the public and disclose information held by government agencies." He is adamant about the reality of UFOs because he says that in 1967, while in an underground nuclear launch facility at Malmstrom Air Force base in 1967, UFOs approached the facility at the same time the missiles malfunctioned and went offline. He says the malfunction has yet to be explained.