John Podesta: from Clinton's X-Files man to Obama's Transition Chief

Obama's Transition man is John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and the current President and Chief Executive Office of the Center for American Progress - a Washington, DC progressive think tank.

If anyone knows the truth about Roswell, N.M., it’s Mr. Podesta. He is said to be the only White House chief of staff ever to appear on the Sci Fi Channel. A fanatic jogger and marathon runner also known as a master chef who once wrote a monthly cooking column in a Washington magazine. Also known for occasional dark moods that prompt friends and colleagues to refer to his “evil twin, Skippy.”

He’s not kept it secret that he’s quite interested in UFOs, and is apparently friends with Stephen Bassett, the Washington “UFO Discosure lobbyist,” the Executive Director of the Paradigm Research Group that organizes the X-Conferences. Why Energy Secretary? There’s the interesting twist. Many in the UFO community believe that the U.S. Government possesses alien technology that would offer new forms of clean energy if it could only be wrested from the control of the military-industrial complex. The Washington Post also referenced Podesta's "fanatical devotion to the X-Files." They quoted Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry who stated, "John can get totally maniacal and phobic on certain subjects. He’s been known to pick up the phone and call the Air Force and ask them what’s going on in Area 51."

Podesta’s public position on UFOs is also conservative. In speaking with the Las Vegas Journal he simply stated, "I think it’s time to open the books on questions that have remained in the dark on the question of government investigations of UFOs."

When asked about Area 51, Podesta stated, "My tendency is to try and err on the side of openness rather than on the side of secrecy, and I think a thorough review about whether more information could be brought to light (about Area 51) would be a worthwhile enterprise." Asked if "Area 51 harbors government information about UFOs," Podesta said, "I can answer that, no."

On October 22 Sci-Fi Channel hosted a Washington UFO news conference. Podesta appeared as a member of the public relations firm hired by Sci-Fi to help get the government to open up documents on the subject. In reporting on the news conference, quoted Podesta as saying "It is time for the government to declassify records that are more than 25 years old and to provide scientists with data that will assist in determining the true nature of the phenomena."

The 25-year concept was a tenet of a Clinton administration policy embodied in the Clinton 1995 Executive Order 12958. This policy of classification and declassification was set up to deal with a concern shared by Podesta and President Clinton. They sought a proper balance of "openness in government" vs. what Podesta coined as "unthinking secrecy." In short the Clinton EO set up a policy that all government documents would be declassified after 25 years except in exception circumstances.

The 12958 Executive Order had exceptional success in moving government documents into public view. Between 1995 and 2000, 800 million pages of documents were declassified, compared to 188 million documents in the 15 years previous.

The Sci-Fi strategy of employing the high-powered John Podesta is part of an effort by the Sci-Fi Channel to gain release of secret government records on unidentified flying objects. According to Ed Rothschild, the coordinator of the new group formed by Sci-Fi to help achieve that end, ‘The Sci-Fi channel has had an interest in (UFOs) for some time. The difference here is that they are focusing attention to the serious, factual side of the issue, and that scientists have not had a chance to thoroughly examine it."

The strategy, however, comes with a few drawbacks. Firstly, Podesta is from a democratic administration, which appeared to have been cut out of the world of people who control the UFO secret. There are many stories told of how the Clinton administration attempted to initiate disclosure on UFOs but failed.

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