Responding to a petition signed by thousands of Americans requesting the federal government disclose the existence of alien intelligences on Earth, the Obama Administration responded by issuing a terse statement denying any knowledge of the issue.
A carefully worded statement crafted by Phil Larson—member of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy—appeared on the official White House (WhiteHouse.gov) website:
"The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye."
The government was forced to respond to the request because of a policy it initiated, "We the People," an attempt at a greater level of transparency and open dialog with citizen complaints and questions. The new policy prompted a drive by UFO enthusiasts and researchers to elicit a definitive statement from Washington concerning the six decade enigma of UFO sightings and claimed extra-terrestrial (ET) encounters.
To prompt a response on an issue, the White House set a minimum threshold of 5,000 signatures within 30 days for online petitions. According to figures reported by MSNBC, the number of signatures "calling on the government to disclose any knowledge of or communication with extraterrestrial beings was signed by 5,387 people."
A second related petition requested White House comment concerning ET interaction with humans: “Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence. Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth.”
Some insiders consider the UFO and ET petitions a debacle and embarrassment. In an attempt to hamper such efforts in the future the bar has been raised to a minimum 25,000 signatures.
Considering the White House response
The official response to the two petitions was more of the same deflection and denial that has stonewalled serious investigation into the UFO phenomenon for decades. In many cases the mainstream media participates in the obfuscation and outright mockery.
This was not always the case. During the late 1940s and through the mid-1950s most of America's press took sightings of "flying saucers" very seriously. It was not until the federal government—especially the US Air Force—began a concerted campaign of disinformation and misinformation that the screws were applied to serious reporters and the issue transformed into one of kookiness and silliness. The circus atmosphere was encouraged by the government and cases were treated as burdens by tired government investigators that trotted out tattered "explanations" of Venus, meteors, atmospheric inversions, and swamp gas.
One government official found an answer within the pages of Charles Dickens' famous "Christmas Carol," suggesting a UFO witness suffered from hallucinations similar to Ebenezer Scrooge, brought about by a bit of undigested cheese.
Half a century of denial
Despite setbacks (like Northwestern University professor Dr. J. Allen Hynek's denouncement of official government policy towards the UFO phenomenon), government entities and spokespeople continue to divert the focus away from working towards real answers.
Regardless, citizen researchers have forged ahead—some actual scientists and aerospace experts—continuing their quest to solve the ongoing UFO riddle. It's a Herculean task with most of society's entrenched institutions fighting against the effort.
One organization, the "Disclosure Project" has made some headway and actually gathered expert eyewitnesses to testify at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. According to their website, on May 9th, 2001 "…over twenty military, intelligence, government, corporate and scientific witnesses came forward at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to establish the reality of UFOs or extraterrestrial vehicles, extraterrestrial life forms, and resulting advanced energy and propulsion technologies. The weight of this first-hand testimony, along with supporting government documentation and other evidence, will establish without any doubt the reality of these phenomena."
While such efforts help lift the veil of UFO secrecy, other organizations have acquired reams of redacted documents buried within the archives of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA and other federal investigation and intelligence agencies has been wrested from the government using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) during the past 20 years.
The staggering amount of material lends credence to some claims that actual government knowledge of the UFO phenomenon is probably the greatest secret in the world.
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