By Warren Rojas

Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON — Stephen Bassett, executive director of Paradigm Research Group and founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee, or X-PPAC, has devoted the past 18 years to overcoming the “truth embargo” about government involvement in alien affairs.

He’s now ready for Congress to officially weigh in.

“Once this evidence is properly looked at, the way it should be, any reasonable person will come to the same conclusion,” Bassett told Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill about the cumulative knowledge his advocacy group wants to share with interested lawmakers.

Bassett laid the groundwork for his latest congressional outreach a few years back, hosting a 30-plus-hour mock hearing (spanning five days) at the National Press Club in 2013.

He had copies of the recorded sessions of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure delivered to every Capitol Hill office — a bundle containing 10 DVDs, a letter signed by the participating witnesses and a request to meet with Bassett — immediately following the midterm elections.

The NPC event was chaired by a handful of former politicians Bassett recruited to the task. “Their presence gave it a great deal of gravitas,” he said.

He snagged ex-Reps. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.; Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; Darlene Hooley, D-Ore.; Merrill Cook, R-Utah; and ex-Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, to review the marathon-length testimony presented by Paradigm Research Group’s panel of experts.

Woolsey noted that her fellow panelists, now permanently off the campaign trail, had nothing to lose by participating in the self-funded gathering on extraterrestrials.

“This would be one of the issues that a sitting member would risk losing an election over,” she said, hinting that attaching one’s name to this effort is to invite attack ads — and possibly the revocation of security clearance.

Kilpatrick appeared genuinely interested in the intellectual exercise.

“I think the Congress has a role to play, and I think we ought to educate Americans as to what it is and what it might become,” she posited on the second day of the conference.

Getting retired legislators to listen was step one.

Bassett’s latest lobbying tactic revolves around flooding 180-odd members, including dozens of fax-enabled offices, with meeting requests.

The highest-value targets in this advocacy dragnet are the Republican leaders Bassett believes have jurisdiction over this particular issue: Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr; House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes; Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune; House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson; House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul; and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

“The goal is to get one of the committees to commit for comprehensive hearings,” he said of his endgame. “Not three witnesses come up (to) the Hill for half a day and give ’em a spiel. I’m talking about 25, 30, 35 witnesses, at least, testifying over a week, two weeks if possible. The reason is we’ve got those witnesses and the issue is not an issue that you can dispense with something trivial.”

None of the committee aides Heard on the Hill probed about Bassett’s info dump responded to inquiries about whether they had received (much less reviewed) the Citizen Hearing materials.

Per Bassett, the last time Congress delved into extraterrestrial issues was back in 1968 — but he maintains that was just for show.

“The government wanted this wrapped up. They were being driven crazy by the public,” Bassett said, noting the Air Force shot down everything lawmakers were presented with a year later in its report.

But Bassett believes recent developments, including former White House chief of staff John Podesta’s social media blast about the truth still being out there (“X-Files” fans’ mantra) and former President Bill Clinton’s out-of-left-field chat with late night host Jimmy Kimmel about Area 51, means the stars have aligned for a serious discussion about whether we’re the ne plus ultra of intergalactic governance.

“There is no doubt in my mind Podesta posted that tweet because of the faxes sent to the 70 congressional offices. He knows the Rockefeller Initiative is about to come into play,” Bassett relayed via email.

That’s why Bassett wants President Barack Obama to bite the bullet and formally announce that we have been — and continue to be — visited by otherworldly beings.

“Ultimately, it’s not that big a deal,” he said. “It’s a nonpartisan issue.”

Anyone tempted to wait on this would be a fool to do so, Bassett said.

He advised Republican strategists against dragging their heels until after the next presidential election because another prominent world leader — he mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping specifically — could swoop in and claim the pro-disclosure glory.

Same goes for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“As far as I’m concerned, Hillary Clinton is not going to become the president of the United States without going through the extraterrestrial issue. Period,” he asserted. “It’s time for these people to start talking.”

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