|By Billy Cox|
Wonder what Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta had to say about his old boss’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night? It wasn’t exactly “Meet The Press,” but jeez, #42 still knows how to shimmy around potholes and leave his guys in a lurch.
In case you missed it, Kimmel asked Clinton if he had tried to get his hands on classified UFO files, which brought a huge obligatory laugh from the studio audience. “Sort of,” Clinton replied, which elicited even more bellylaffs. “I think it was at the beginning of my second term,” he went on. Then came another vintage performance in which he shifted the conversation to the “Independence Day” sci-fi flick, Area 51 — “There were no aliens down there” (more laughter) — and the inevitability of discovering ET life in the “ever-expanding universe.” Bottom line: I was on top of things and there’s nothing there.
De Void hates to keep kicking a dead horse, but god almighty, isn’t there anyone in this country besides comedians who can bring themselves to discuss The Great Taboo with a former chief executive? Or, even better, confront him with the facts?
The fact is (sorry, it’s dead horse-kicking time again), the paper trail on the Clinton administration’s UFO intrigues dates back to the very first quarter of his first term — March 1993 — when UFO-hunting fat-cat philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller began making overtures to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Rocky prepared a briefing paper for the prez, “Lifting Secrecy on Information About Extraterrestrial Intelligence as Part of the Current Classification Review,” which apparently reached Hillary Clinton’s staff in 1995.
“I had all the Roswell papers reviewed — everything,” Clinton told Kimmel. Well, no, that first-term initiative was triggered by Rep. Steven Schiff (R-NM) in response to constituents’ lingering suspicions about what happened in Roswell in 1947. Acting on Schiff’s request, the General Accounting Office reported in 1995 that the military had destroyed all outgoing messages and administrative records from Roswell Army Air Field from 1947 through 1949. To his credit, Clinton made his curiosity public in Belfast — same year, 1995 — after having dispatched associate AG Webster Hubbell on a UFO fishing expedition even earlier in his first term. Twenty years later, Hubbell still gets all hinky and weird about what he did or didn’t find out.
Then, of course, in 2012, there was the Chase Brandon kerfuffle. That’s when the veteran CIA officer went national about how, in mid 1990s, around the same time Hubbell was scrounging for documents, he found a stash of smoking-gun Roswell material in the Agency’s Historical Intelligence Collection archives. "I took the box down, lifted the lid up, rummaged around inside it, put the box back on the shelf,” Brandon told the Huffington Post, “and said, 'My god, it really happened!'" He didn't report it up the ladder, and not even his boss, retired CIA chief Robert Gates, attempted to question Brandon’s veracity.
All of which brings us back to John Podesta, who has famously and repeatedly called for the declassification of UFO data. As recently as last May, after listening to eyewitness testimony at the Citizen Hearing for Disclosure in Washington, Podesta told the New York Times, “They were interesting, credible people who had observed aerial phenomena that were unexplained and worthy of additional follow-up. Going back and looking at and declassifying whatever government documents exist is a smart thing to do.”
Clinton's Jimmy Kimmel laughtrax session this week made Podesta look like a conspiracy zealot who can't give it up. Now, as senior counselor to the Obama White House, Podesta has a choice to make. He could, for starters, get Hubbell, Chase, and any number of players in the same room and figure out where it went off the rails 20 years ago. Or, like his old boss, he could just walk away. Because it's easier. Same as it ever was.
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