WASHINGTON - A dozen U.S. senators have been "exposed" as space aliens, and many of them - tongues firmly planted in cheeks - have admitted it.
The news, such as it is, came from the June 7 edition of the "Weekly World News" supermarket tabloid.
"It's all true," it quotes Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, as saying. "We are space aliens. I'm amazed that it's taken you so long to find out."
Others named as space aliens are: Sens. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; Bennett Johnston, D-La.; Howell Heflin, D-Ala.; Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.; William Cohen, R-Maine; John Glenn, D-Ohio; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan.; Sam Nunn, D-Ga.; and Alan Simpson, R-Wyo.
The final five "came out of the alien closet two years ago," the paper quotes author and UFO specialist Nathaniel Dean as saying.
Gramm's press secretary, Larry Neal, confirmed yesterday that his boss did verify his alien status. Asked where in the universe Gramm is from, Neal said, "It's Remulak in our case. I don't know where the other guys are from."
Neal joked that it could cause problems for Gramm's presidential aspirations since U.S. presidents must be born U.S. citizens. After further research, however, he backtracked, saying Gramm's parents came from Remulak, but the senator was born on U.S. soil.
Simpson spokesman Charles Pelkey remained mysterious about his boss' status.
"We've got only one thing to say: Klattu barado nikto," Pelkey
said. That was an alien code from "The Day The Earth Stood Still," a 1951 science-fiction movie about a robot-aided alien who lands in Washington and warns of the dangers of war.
Director Robert Wise provided his best guess yesterday of how to spell the words, adding, "Don't ask me what it means, because I don't know."
DeConcini spokesman Bob Maynes confirmed that the senator issued a statement saying, "As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am quite distressed. My highly classified cover has been blown."
The newspaper was open about its intentions when it called senators' offices several months ago.
"They called us up and said, `This is real tongue-in-cheek and we're doing this for fun," said Heflin spokesman Tom McMahon.
A Heflin statement did not confirm any alien status but said, "Yes, my parents were Heaven sent."
The newspaper said Cohen admitted being an alien but spokeswoman Kathy Gest said he actually said, "It is preferable to be a space alien than a space cadet."
Hatch spokesman Paul Smith said the senator "can't afford to talk about it because (fellow) aliens are watching his every move."
Taking a different tack was Johnston, who said, "At last the cat is out of the bag, although this isn't exactly the way I intended to tell my family and friends."