The issue of UFOs and potential extraterrestrial visits to Earth have attracted global interest in the last few years, after news reports in 2017 revealed a shadowy Pentagon office set up more than a decade ago to investigate incidents. Although U.S. officials have pushed back against speculation that the mysterious objects involve aliens, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged more research into the phenomenon as a matter of national security.
Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough declined to comment directly on the contents of the post, which she said Kirkpatrick wrote “as a private citizen.” However, she echoed his comments that AARO has not discovered “any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.”
During an explosive Wednesday hearing before a House Oversight subcommittee, retired Maj. David Grusch, a former Air Force intelligence official, testified about the existence of what he said was a decades-long program to retrieve and reverse-engineer alien craft. In 2019, while on a detail to the National Reconnaissance Office, he said he was tasked with identifying all the classified programs related to a government task force on UFOs.
“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,” he said, using the government acronym for unidentified anomalous phenomena.
He also said he had spoken with officials who had direct knowledge of craft with “nonhuman” origins, and that the U.S. government had recovered “biologics” from some of those craft.
Grusch told lawmakers he has faced retaliation for coming forward with his discovery, but would not go into specifics about that retaliation. The U.S. likely has been aware of “non-human” activity since the 1930s, he said.
But in the memo after the hearing, Kirkpatrick vehemently denied the allegations about the program Grusch described.
“To be clear, AARO has yet to find any credible evidence to support the allegations of any reverse engineering program for non-human technology,” Kirkpatrick wrote, noting that the whistleblowers have never worked for or acted as a representative to the office.
Kirkpatrick also took issue with Grusch’s comments about the Pentagon and intelligence community.
“I cannot let yesterday’s hearing pass without sharing how insulting it was to the officers of the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community who chose to join AARO, many with not unreasonable anxieties about the career risks this would entail,” he wrote.
He added that “contrary to assertions made in the hearing, the central source of those allegations has refused to speak with AARO.”
Further, some information reportedly provided to Congress has not been provided to the office, Kirkpatrick said, “raising additional questions about the true commitment to transparency by some Congressional elements.”
In a statement, Gough also disputed allegations that “any individual had been harmed or killed as a result of providing information to AARO,” and said the office “welcomes” the chance to speak with anyone who has information about UAPs.
At the subcommittee hearing, lawmakers also accused the government of hiding its work on UFOs.
“The devil has been in our way through this thing. We’ve run into roadblocks from members from the intelligence community, the Pentagon,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.).