In Search of UFO’s, Craft Beer and Frozen Animals – Some FOIA Requests are Stranger than Fiction | Sara Christiansen

The old mantra that truth is stranger than fiction may be single-handedly proven by the types of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seen by our government.


In the seriously strange and scarcely believable category, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton recently filed an FOIA request for UFO documentation, with the aid of a trusted advisor. Had the revelation of this application not come from her advisor, himself, one might completely discount it as fraudulent. Nevertheless, the application was submitted, just the same.

Former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff turned Hillary Clinton Campaign Advisor, John Podesta, has long been open about his push for the release of UFO paperwork. In an interview with CNN, earlier this year, Podesta revealed Clinton’s promise to release these documents, should she win the election this fall.

“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,” Podesta said. “I think that’s a commitment she intends to keep and that I intend to hold her to.”

Podesta’s fascination with science fiction is well-documented, as is his continual search for government information regarding unidentified flying objects. In fact, after leaving his position as special advisor to President Barak Obama to serve in Clinton’s presidential campaign, Podesta tweeted his disappointment at his lack of discovery of any hidden UFO files while working in the White House.

Not to be deterred by this separation from office, Podesta recently revealed his involvement in Clinton’s FOIA request for information regarding an incident involving a crash of “either a UFO or Soviet structure.”

“I worked with her and filed an FOIA case on it,” Podesta said. “The files had disappeared, but it was clear there’d been some investigation by the Air Force.”

While some would dismiss Clinton’s remarks on this subject as farcical, the presidential candidate, herself, noted in 2007 that her husband’s administration received more requests regarding UFOs than on any other subject.

In a 2015 interview with the Conway Daily Sun, Clinton renewed her commitment to this cause and her promise to Podesta.

“He has made me personally pledge we are going to get the information out,” Clinton said. “One way or another. Maybe we could have, like, a task force to go to Area 51.”

Clinton’s FOIA request is far from being unique in its search for unconventional documents. A small sampling of engaging applications includes the following responses:

  • In 2012, Hollywood released a movie entitled “Battleship,” involving the U.S. Navy and – well –aliens. An FOIA request for information concerning what the Navy received in return for their cooperation with filmmakers revealed a package of 10 DVDs of the final production, along with film credits and a private Washington, DC screening of the movie.
  • Did you know that the FBI maintains a dictionary of Twitter slang? They do. An FOIA request for this document reveals terms that taxpayers may seriously question their government’s necessity for. Abbreviations and acronyms such as “L8R G8R” (“later gator”), “DEGT” (“don’t even go there”), and “224” (“today, tomorrow, forever”) are – no doubt – keenly important when interpreting ISIS communiques.
  • President Obama’s love of home-crafted beer elicited an FOIA request for the recipe to the president’s “White House Honey Ale.” When the appeal was embraced by other beer aficionados, the White House complied by releasing the recipe in a blog entitled “Ale to the Chief.” Apparently, the recipe doesn’t violate the “trade secret” exclusion to FOIA requests.

When it comes to FOIA, Americans have nothing on the British Empire – which, too, has made a commitment to release government documents, upon request. In 2014, the United Kingdom released a list of some of their own unique FOIA requests received. Although the responses were not revealed, the queries, themselves, represent an impressive montage of nonsensical concerns, including:

  • a petition to the Cambridge City Council requesting a list of “all the types of animals [the Council has] frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal”;
  • a request to the Worthing Borough Council, seeking, “what precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in the case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields”;
  • a query to the Rossendale Council concerning, “[the number of] holes in privacy walls between cubicles [that] have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years”; and best of all,
  • the Wigan Council was asked to reveal information regarding “what plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack.”

Compared to dragons, UFOs don’t seem the least bit preposterous. Of course, the truth often is stranger than fiction.