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In alien conspiracy theorist circles, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is being hailed as the “E.T. candidate.”
She gave such enthusiasts hope earlier this year when she promised to crack open government files on extraterrestrials, Area 51 and U.F.Os. Her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in March won props from the X-Files crowd when she insisted that the correct word for U.F.O was “unexplained aerial phenomenon.”
“U.A.P. That’s the latest nomenclature,” she told the late night talk show host.
Her approach on matters extraterrestrial differs from the Obama administration — which has often rebuffed questions with quips and jokes during the White House press briefings. Last month, when asked about whether the president planned to follow Clinton’s pledge to get to the bottom of some alien conspiracy theories, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he didn’t “have a tab in my briefing book for Area 51 today.”
Earnest continued that while the president “has joked publicly before about one of the benefits of the presidency is having access to that information. I don’t know whether or not he has availed himself of that opportunity."
By contrast, in a radio interview in April, Clinton declared “There’s enough stories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen making them up.”
Stephen Bassett, the executive director of Paradigm Research Group and a lobbyist on this issue posted a video on YouTube in October urging her to “speak truth to power” and confront head on “the most profound issue of our time.”
In her appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Clinton stated that she wanted to open up a number of government files on UFOs and extraterrestrial life. That came not long after her campaign chairman, John Podesta, said that one of the greatest regrets he had while serving as an advisor to President Obama was not convincing him to release such files.
Obama was the first president to publicly acknowledge Area 51, a government testing area that has long captured the imagination of alien conspiracy theorists. He joked about the move back in 2013 during a Kennedy Center Honors ceremony for actress and U.F.O-sighter Shirley MacLaine.
“Now, when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is what’s really going on in Area 51,” Obama joked. “When I wanted to know, I’d call Shirley MacLaine. I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51. How’s that, Shirley?”
As for Clinton, releasing such files would serve as more of a historical curiosity than a pressing scientific issue, said Jim Bell a planetary scientist at Arizona State University, and president of The Planetary Society.
"I imagine that there will be significant interest among historians and perhaps social scientists to get more information on what the government felt at the time was necessary to classify," he said. "Personally, I don't expect there to be any 'smoking guns' regarding aliens or extraterrestrial life in those reports."