UFO enthusiasts are pressing Barack Obama to release classified documents about sightings of alien spacecraft, encouraged by support from within the President-Elect's own White House team.
Photographed by an
anonymous French doctor on
March 23, 1974 in Tavernes,
Desperate to see the US emulate the British Government and disclose reported "contact" with UFOs, the enthusiasts have written to Mr Obama to ask that his administration comes clean about the contents of America's "X-Files".
They believe they have good prospects of success after public statements of support from both John Podesta, who is running Mr Obama's White House transition team, and Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico - a UFO sighting hotspot - who is expected to secure a cabinet post.
In the letter to Mr Obama, the Extraterrestrial Phenomenon Political Action Committee calls on the President-Elect to "end the six-decade truth embargo regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race".
The group wants the incoming president to insist on a "full briefing from your military services and intelligence agencies regarding what they know" and to open congressional hearings "to take testimony from scores of government witnesses who have already come forward with extraordinary evidence and are prepared to testify under oath."
The campaigners, who resent their common portrayal as nuts and conspiracy theorists, have high hopes of success due to their inside track with Mr Obama.
When he was the White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, Mr Podesta led a project to declassify 800 million pages of intelligence documents. In a press conference, still available to watch on the YouTube website, Mr Podesta said: "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 real nature of this phenomenon."
Gov Richardson, a former presidential candidate and fellow UFO aficionado, has written a forward to a book on the so-called Roswell Incident in New Mexico, where campaigners believe an alien spacecraft crash landed near the town of Roswell in 1947 and that the corpses of humanoid aliens have been kept hidden under lock and key by the government.
He has called for full disclosure by the Pentagon of what really occurred and reiterated his belief that there had been a "cover-up" during a presidential debate last year.
The campaigners, who want the truth "out there", believe that the British Government's decision to declassify thousands of UFO sighting documents this year has made it untenable for the US to maintain its policy of non-disclosure.
Only last week a US Air Force pilot, Milton Torres, whose testimony was released from the British archives, appeared on US television explaining how he was ordered to shoot down a large UFO over the UK in 1957 and then silenced by military officials, who told him never to speak of the incident.
Stephen Bassett, Executive Director of the Extraterrestrial Phenomenon Political Action Committee, expects to have gathered 40,000 signatures via email and fax by Mr Obama's inauguration day on Jan 20 in support of his calls for openness.
He told The Sunday Telegraph: "The truth embargo is now at the end of the line. The release of documents in Britain and France has put huge pressure on the US. It makes the government here look pretty stupid.
"I think we are seeing the Democrats moving towards disclosure. John Podesta has outed himself as an enthusiast. He thinks the American public can handle the truth. Bill Richardson thinks there was a cover-up."
Mr Bassett also believes that military and intelligence officials have studied the technology of alien spacecraft, material that would help the US develop new energy resources, as Mr Obama wishes, that will lessen US dependency on Middle Eastern oil.
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