John Podesta is about as "Washington insider" as it gets. Before serving as the campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton's current run at the White House, he was chief of staff for her husband during his presidency, acted as counselor to President Obama, is a Georgetown Law professor, and a member of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Oh, and he's pretty sure the truth is out there.
Speaking with CNN reporter Jake Tapper this week, Podesta was asked about his potential plans for famed UFO hotspot Area 51 should Secretary Clinton win the presidency, as well as whether the U.S. government is aware of extraterrestrial life in general. His answer?:
What I've talked to the secretary about, and what she's said now in public, is that if she's elected president, when she gets into office, she'll ask for as many records as the United States federal government has to be declassified, and I think that's a commitment that she intends to keep and that I intend to hold her to.
OK, so that's a fairly boilerplate answer about government transparency. But Podesta wasn't finished.
When pressed by Tapper about having actually seen any of the records in question, Podesta explained that President Clinton had, in fact, asked for documents regarding Area 51, and continued, saying:
The U.S. government could do a much better job in answering the quite legitimate questions that people have about what's going on with unidentified aerial phenomena, and they should, uh, you know, the American people can handle the truth.
Asked whether he believes personally in alien life, Podesta gave a wry smile and simply said,"there are a lot of planets out there."
Surprising as it may be to hear a high-placed political operative speak so candidly about UFOs (at least, as surprising as anything can be during this particular election cycle), Podesta's views aren't exactly new.
In 2002, speaking at a news conference for the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a government transparency group, Podesta made waves by reportedly urging "…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."
More recently, after leaving his role as counselor to President Obama, Podesta cryptically tweeted "my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the #disclosure of the UFO files. #thetruthisstilloutthere" (the account has since been assumed by current presidential advisor Brian Deese).
Will Podesta's quest to uncover the truth about UFOs actually make a difference? Perhaps it already has. Speaking with reporters earlier this year, Hillary Clinton was herself asked about UFOs, to which she jokingly replied, "Yes, I'm going to get to the bottom of it."
And while that's not exactly an X-Files-level of disclosure, the fact that she was asked the question at all can be seen as a testament to her campaign chair's longstanding open-mindedness.
So is the truth out there? Well, it remains to be seen. But John Podesta is here, helping to make sure we see it, nonetheless.