The image from video provided by the Department of Defense labelled Gimbal, from 2015, an unexplained object is seen at center as it is tracked as it soars high along the clouds, traveling against the wind. “There's a whole fleet of them,” one naval aviator tells another, though only one indistinct object is shown. “It's rotating." The U.S. government has been taking a hard look at unidentified flying objects, under orders from Congress, and a report summarizing what officials know is expected to come out in June 2021. (Department of Defense via AP)
Steve Bassett speaking about UFOs on the DMV Download podcast with host Luke Garrett. (WTOP/Luke Garrett)
After 26 years of extraterrestrial activism and a wall’s worth of UFO books, Steve Bassett — D.C.’s first registered UFO lobbyist — is just getting starting.
“Only now am I about to do some real lobbying,” Bassett said on
the “DMV Download” podcast.
Last week, a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee
held a hearing on extraterrestrial life and “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAPs — a term the U.S. government uses for UFOs.
It was the first time Congress formally touched the issue since 1968. The hearing shocked the public when witness David Grusch, a former U.S. intelligence official, testified under oath that the government has been harboring extraterrestrial vehicles and “nonhuman” biologics.
“I was informed in the course of my official duties of a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program to which I was denied access,” Grusch said.
To Bassett, the hearing marked a significant win after a quarter century of activism that had gotten little to no attention.
“It took 55 years to get the hearing and I can tell you, there was effort after effort after effort, who knows how many times — refused, blocked every single time,” he said.
In some ways, last week’s hearing was too little too late.
“A lot of the people that wanted to testify in front of those people never made it, they died,” Bassett said. “I knew them, they didn’t make it.”
Yet on the whole, Bassett was “pleased and happy” with the hearing and the attention it brought to what he calls “extraterrestrial presence” on Earth.
‘It’s not a simple story’
Bassett decided to dedicate his life to the UAP issue in the middle of an existential crisis.
“At the age of 49, I hit the wall,” Bassett said. “I didn’t have the wife and kids, I didn’t have the bucks to buy the convertible, but a midlife crisis I was going to have.”
After growing up as a “military brat,” getting a degree in physics and dabbling in the anti-Vietnam War movement, Bassett described himself an “activist without a cause” in San Luis Obispo, California.
He then read the 1994 book, “Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens” by John Mack, and decided to drop everything to volunteer at Mack’s organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“I had to make a decision — this is it,” Bassett said.
After a few months of working with those who claimed to have seen aliens, Bassett decided that he needed to go to D.C.
“This needs a political solution, not a science solution,” Basset said. “What political activism of any formality is going on? Answer — none. No formal political actions.”
In 1996, Bassett drove down to D.C. with only 18 cents in his pocket, moved into his aunt’s attic and registered as the first alien lobbyist.
“I didn’t have much life to put on the line. You got to be in a special place to go and become the first UAP lobbyists,” Bassett said.
Over the next two decades, Bassett tried to lobby Congress, but was often turned away or offered a brief meeting with an “18-year-old intern.”
‘I am not trying … to build a cult’
Bassett said he believes that aliens exist, that they’ve made contact with humans and that the government knows it. He calls the purported government scheme the “truth embargo.”
When asked for evidence and why this shouldn’t be brushed off as a conspiracy theory, Barrett protested.
“It’s not a conspiracy,” he said. “The ‘truth embargo’ is real and as far as the extraterrestrial presence, that’s also true. It’s not a theory. It’s not speculation, and it’s definitely not a belief. It’s been proven 18 times over.”
As for his evidence for the “truth embargo,” he pointed to the
National Security Act of 1947 which limits the public’s access to information in the name of national security. As for alien contact, Bassett pointed to Grusch’s testimony in last week’s hearing.
“I’m not trying to convince everybody or to build a cult or anything else,” Bassett said “I’m just taking information, moving forward, doing the right thing.”
Since Grusch’s testimony, the Pentagon has denied the claim that the U.S. government is harboring UFOs and alien biologics.
Despite this, Bassett said he believes that after this House hearing, the cat is out of the bag and that the days of the alleged “truth embargo” are waning.
“They’re going to go through the process, even though they know what it is,” Bassett said. “It is basically a lie to get out from under a bigger lie looking good. So that when the president does make the announcement, people will be a little more generous and appreciative of the dilemma.”
When pushed for evidence, Bassett said, “it’s not a conspiracy … so throw that out the window.”