You know how sometimes you stake out a controversial or weird position solely for effect, using it to troll people you know, and then over time you sort of convince yourself that your position is right? For example, one time I was hanging out with friends and I decided that I was going to tell everyone I hated Stanford. There was no reason for it; it just seemed funny to me. But then I just … started sort of hating Stanford and its fancy campus and its “oh, we’re Ivy League but not weird and old and also no snow” thing. By the time I ended up actually moving to California, I legitimately thought Stanford was pretty lame. A tree mascot? Get over yourselves.
So every time there’s a news article about where Hillary Clinton adviser (and former Bill Clinton chief of staff) John Podesta talks about how President Hillary Clinton would release classified information about UFOs — as he did again on Thursday — I’m led to wonder. Is he just taking the joke too far? Has he committed so completely to the bit that now he just sort of answers the questions about space aliens without blinking? Or … does he think that the government has information about visits from outer space that should be shared more widely?
A little history is in order.
During the 1990s, there was an effort by Laurance Rockefeller (of the Rockefeller Rockefellers) to encourage the United States government to release any classified information it had about extraterrestrials, alien spacecraft and UFOs. The effort, referred to as the Rockefeller Initiative by UFO truthers, included meetings between Rockefeller and senior Clinton administration staff. In August of 1995, the Clintons stayed at Rockefeller’s ranch in Wyoming, and Hillary was photographed with him while holding a book titled, “Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life.” (A large number of documents pertaining to Rockefeller’s advocacy on this issue were released under the Freedom of Information Act several years ago.)
The subject was not an uncommon one for the White House at the time. That Christmas, Bill Clinton gave a speech in Belfast, in which he described letters he’d gotten from schoolchildren. He thanked a 13-year-old named Ryan for his letter and did his best to answer Ryan’s question. “No,” Clinton said, “as far as I know, an alien spacecraft did not crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. And Ryan, if the United States Air Force did recover alien bodies, they didn’t tell me about it, either, and I want to know.”
Podesta started as deputy chief of staff for Clinton in 1997 and stayed with the president until the inauguration of George W. Bush. He himself was apparently somewhat obsessed with aliens. In 1998, The Post quoted Press Secretary Mike McCurry. “John can get totally maniacal and phobic on certain subjects,” McCurry said. “He’s been known to pick up the phone to call the Air Force and ask them what’s going on in Area 51.”