Thousands of people who believe in UFOs and think the U.S. government knows more than it admits were hoping for a breakthrough last month when they signed petitions on the "We The People" website. But they got what they've been getting for decades -- nothing.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced on the site there was no evidence of alien life and "no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye."
But Ufologists -- those who study the various possibilities of unidentified flying objects -- aren't giving up.
Two new petitions have begun collecting signatures, but unlike the original petitions in October, which required 5,000 signatures before the White House must respond, the threshold is now 25,000.
Of course, there's always been a tense relationship between those who believe the truth about alien visitation is out there and the federal government. The UFO community claims the government has engaged in policies to debunk and ridicule eyewitnesses.
Despite that, the Obama administration is being challenged again to reveal UFO evidence.
Stephen Bassett, author of the initial alien disclosure petition in September, now has a second petition up on "We The People" hoping to gather enough signatures by the Dec. 31 cutoff date.
"The second disclosure petition is intended to directly challenge the response to the first disclosure petition from the Office of Science and Technology Policy," Bassett, head of the Paradigm Research Group, told The Huffington Post in an e-mail.
"It names names and provides direct links to the documented history of the Rockefeller Initiative," Bassett added, referring to an effort in the 1990s by billionaire Laurance Rockefeller to get the Clinton administration to release UFO documents.
But what was it about the first petitions that didn't get the White House to respond in a more UFO-friendly manner? Some critics have complained about what they perceived as a UFO conspiracy attitude in the information requests.
In her previous HuffPost blog, Leslie Kean suggested the petitions weren't worded in a way that would compel President Obama's staff to reply differently.
"This is not something that government officials can possibly take seriously," Kean, author of the New York Times bestseller "UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record," told HuffPost.
"I know that from my years of experience in meeting and interviewing them, how to approach the government on this issue. First of all, clarity is incredibly important so they know exactly what you're talking about," Kean said.
Former nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman has spent 44 years lecturing and writing on the idea that some UFOs may be intelligently controlled extraterrestrial vehicles. He doesn't agree with the initial PRG petition that all UFO information should be released.
"I think there's a real national security concern here that PRG doesn't seem to want to address," Friedman said. "I don't want any technological data that we have gleaned from the study of either UFO wreckage or UFO instrument data. That could all be used for the development of classified, high-performance military systems and I don't think you should put that out on the table.
"Secondly, we already know that the National Security Agency and CIA have released top secret UFO documents -- we know they exist."
Friedman suggests how he'd like the government to respond to the UFO petitions.
"I'd be perfectly happy if they would say, 'Look, we have a ton of classified information which, you can understand, we cannot release because there are weapons implications, but do, indeed, have personal, instrument and satellite observations as well as observations of pilots chasing UFOs.'"
This request simply and clearly asks the Obama administration to "investigate unidentified aerial phenomena [UAP] as reported by citizens, police, astronauts, pilots and the military."
"Rich Dolan and I have tried to craft what we hope can become the precedent-setting petition language that is needed to turn the national conversation on this subject of UAP in a more serious direction," Zabel told HuffPost.
"Our petition says -- bottom line -- there's something that's been going on, we're not sure what, but a lot of really smart, honest, down-to-Earth folks have seen it, and we would like our government to take a stab at telling us the truth. That's basically something we should expect them to do."
Dolan is not only Zabel's petition co-author but his writing partner on the book "A.D.: After Disclosure."
"Why would the U.S. government want to acknowledge the reality of a highly advanced technology belonging to an unknown agency -- someone that can violate restricted airspace with impunity, disable advanced electronic systems of our best aircraft and even tamper with our nuclear stockpile?" Dolan said.
"That's certainly not a fun topic to broach to the public. Their only policy can be denial."
WATCH RICHARD DOLAN UFO PETITION VIDEO:
As the two new petitions begin to gather signatures, Bassett believes his request for information about the Rockefeller-Clinton connection will be the one that the government will have to respond to.
"The White House is faced with a very difficult task in responding to this petition. It cannot deny the [Rockefeller] initiative took place. Many of the principals are major players in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party," he said. "I would not want to be the staffer assigned the task of responding to Disclosure Petition II."
He also acknowledges that there won't be any response if his petition doesn't secure 25,000 signatures by Dec. 31.
But Kean disagrees with the contents of the new PRG petition, especially the part that asks Congress to get involved.
"Asking for a congressional investigation is completely the wrong thing to ask for, because it's never going to happen. There's nothing for Congress to investigate. The documents and letters surrounding the Rockefeller issue have already been released.
"My basic concern with this is the lack of clarity that it has and the fact that it's mis-stating things. It is stating that things happened that didn't actually happen."
One huge problem with this whole petition issue is that, by trying to get the government to admit anything about UFOs or possible extraterrestrial contact, it would be akin to opening up a Pandora's box.
"There's no question about that," agreed Friedman. "And I personally think that petitioners should request that the government provide amnesty for any military people who want to talk about things that happened, say, 30 or 40 years ago. And I'd limit it to military because those were guys who were working under security oaths."
WATCH THIS UFO PETITION VIDEO:
In the larger picture, maybe 25,000 signatures isn't impossible to obtain. After all, polls and numerous statistical studies have shown over the years that there are countless American adults who at least believe that UFOs should be further studied.
If only a small percentage of those people were to sign one or both of the current petitions, it could bring many -- believers, skeptics and in-betweeners -- that much closer to some sort of resolution on the whole UFO-extraterrestrial topic.
"No matter what the official response on their official website is, I hope the media will ask the presidential candidates about their positions on the content of the petitions," Zabel said. "What will those men and woman who want to run the country say? And what will President Obama say if he is asked about the content of this petition in a national debate next October?"
But in the end, would even a carefully worded petition lead to the White House finally admitting something extraordinary about UFOs?
"The only thing that will compel the White House to open up on this topic is overwhelming force," replied Dolan. "This might be some unforeseen event that forces their hand; perhaps an unauthorized release of files, or a UFO sighting that becomes too impossible to deny.
"But it can also come from public pressure, and a thoughtful petition can certainly help in that process."
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