John Podesta is a distinguished Washington insider. He is currently the president of the liberal Center for American Progress, and previously served as co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential transition team (2008-2009) and White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton. Podesta is also a visiting law professor at Georgetown.

Not included on his official resume is a peculiar position he’s long-supported – investigation into UFOs.

Podesta has written the foreword for a book that will be published next month, titled UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record, by Leslie Kean. In the foreword, Podesta plays defensive from the very beginning: “As someone interested in the questions of UFOs, I think I have always understood the difference between fact and fiction. I guess you could call me a curious skeptic.”

The president of CAP goes on to tout his skepticism, taking particular care to note that he’s “dedicated three decades of [his] life … to the fundamental principle of protecting openness of government.”

So it is under the guise of open-inquiry that Podesta defends his support for an organization called the Coalition for Freedom of Information: “Because of this commitment, I have supported the work of investigative journalist Leslie Kean and her organization, the Coalition for Freedom of Information, in their initiative, launched in 2001, to obtain documents about UFOs through the Freedom of Information Act.”

“The time to pull the curtain back on this subject is long overdue,” Podesta claims, arguing for the academic legitimacy of the book he’s endorsing. “It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there. The American people – and people around the world – want to know, and they can handle the truth. UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record represents a pivotal step in that direction, laying the groundwork for a new way forward.”

So what exactly is Podesta endorsing?

Well, for one, Kean herself doesn’t think that releasing government documents – which Podesta suggests is the reason he’s lent his credibility to this project – is a “useful focus.” Kean writes:

I believe that a demand for the release of yet more files—even in the United States—is no longer a useful focus. It’s an interesting sidetrack, but it does not speak to the heart of the problem. Undue emphasis on seeking further release of documents could even prolong the international stalemate we now face, and give governments a way out through claims that they have done their part by declassifying files or will be doing so in the near future.

But Podesta does believe this is useful. This, of course, plays into the longstanding paranoia of the UFO community, suggesting that there’s a big government cover up of all things UFO-related. Since Kean doesn’t put much stock in “the release of yet more files,” what is she trying to accomplish with this book? Kean thinks we need to rid ourselves of the taboo surrounding belief in UFOs, “bringing any and all fears to consciousness is our only choice,” she writes, and this can be accomplished “[w]hen we decide, as a society, to honestly deal with UFOs.”

The book is laced with paranoia, suggesting that government officials have long been responsible for covering-up investigation into UFOs and extraterrestrial activities.

For her part, Kean offers effusive praise for Podesta in the acknowledgements section of her book: “I extend a special appreciate to John Podesta for his eloquent foreword and for his ongoing public support of the Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFi). His brilliance and honesty are inspiring,” she wrote.

One would think that Podesta, having been in the highest levels of government, would be knowledgeable of big government cover-up. Why doesn’t he just spill the beans, instead of pussyfooting around the entire subject? Well, it could just be that there isn’t a big cover up, and that Podesta knows this very well.

The Center for American Progress has made lots of hay denouncing right-wing loonies. "The Conspiracy Nuts Take Over," ran one such article. Maybe they should launch an investigation of what's going on in their own organization's executive suite.