Political action in Bethesda for aliens
Jul. 28, 1999

Lobbyist starts group dedicated to UFOs

by Tricia Thompson

Staff Writer

Stephen Bassett has guts.

As the person who started the nation's first political action committee dedicated to extraterrestrials and UFOs, he'd have to possess some intestinal fortitude.

For the 52-year-old independent researcher and consultant with a physics degree, destroying what he considers excessive government secrecy on the issue far outweighs any criticism he might take for the nature of his work.

Basset has devoted his life to exposing government cover-ups of extraterrestrial phenomena by forcing public input on the topic at congressional hearings.

His most recent effort is the formation of Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC), a tool he hopes will amass the needed political pressure to force Congress to allow dozens of witnesses of extraterrestrial phenomena tell their stories with guaranteed immunity.

Some of the witnesses, Bassett said, are afraid of the potential consequences of leaking intelligence information.

"Government cover-ups have been leaking like a sieve since 1989, 1990," said Bassett, who has conducted his extraterrestrial research and consulting work out of his Bethesda home since 1996.

A political action committee (PAC) is a lobbying tool used to amass political influence through monetary contributions. Any citizen or corporation may register a PAC with the Federal Election Commission.

Bassett sees a political action committee as a key to driving his message home to Congress.

"The fact is, political action committees are a very powerful tool ... and there has never been one centered on this issue," he said.

For Bassett, forming a PAC was driven by the same goal as his appearances on national talk radio stations, his lectures, his story pitches to the media and his assistance in the launch of a national petition for an open congressional hearing on modern UFO evidence -- exposing UFO secrets.

His primarily pro-bono consulting work reaches around the country to clients like the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence in Asheville, N.C., The Enterprise Mission in Albuquerque, N.M., Stargate International in Tucson, Ariz. and Operation Right to Know in Schaumburg, Ill.

He is publicizing X-PPAC on the Web (www.x-ppac.org), and updates the PAC's finances every 48 hours. The PAC has received $100 since it was created Feb. 13.

One of his boldest endeavors is a joint effort with Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in supporting ballot initiatives in 16 states that proclaim 2000 the Year of UFO Awareness, and to demand open congressional hearings for witnesses to extraterrestrial phenomena.

Maryland does not allow ballot initiatives.

Maryland's MUFON Assistant Director Thomas B. Burch of Poolesville said he supports Bassett's PAC efforts, although he was unaware of them.

He said activists in the UFO community are smeared by the media and turned away by members of Congress on a regular basis.

"So we're desperately trying to make our arguments of the strengths of their merits," said Burch, a contract administrator for Boeing. "I wouldn't throw a rock at someone who wanted to try a PAC."

Bassett thinks the government is treating people like children by sheltering them from extraterrestrial information.

"You've got what amounts to the most significant information in the history of civilization ... being handled like a dirty little secret," he said.

He is convinced that by covering up the existence of UFOs the government is hiding the "significant technology" that accompanies extraterrestrials and is thereby doing the world a disservice.

"The government has been aware of extraterrestrials since World War II," said Bassett, who has bookcases and files and videos of thousands of pieces of what he considers to be evidence of UFOs and government cover-ups.

"The intelligence operations are massive and out of control," said Bassett, pointing to the country's so-called "black budget," which Bassett says is the $35 million to $37 million in intelligence funds so secret that only a handful of Congress members know what it's used for.

It's people like retired U.S. Army intelligence officer Col. Philip J. Corso and the extraterrestrial events he chronicles in his 1997 book, "The Day After Roswell," that Bassett feels lend credence to his government secrecy theories.

He said others like Dr. Edgar Mitchell, pilot of the Apollo 14 lunar landing module and Mercury pilot Gordon Cooper have either publicly or privately stated their concern that the public is not being properly informed by the government on the information it has on UFOs.

Bassett said he may have seen a UFO at a Laughlin, Nev., UFO conference in January. He described what he and hundreds of others saw as having no wings, no sound, a slightly irregular shape, and a dark color.

But he said the annual conference usually has such sightings, and he has wondered whether the annual sightings might be the local Air Force base "having some fun."

For Bassett, what the world doesn't know can hurt. His work is his life, and he doesn't care if some people think UFOs are bunk.

"If people can't handle it," he said, "that's their problem."