Home World He left the leadership of the Pentagon’s UFO office. Now one of his reports has shaken up ufology

He left the leadership of the Pentagon’s UFO office. Now one of his reports has shaken up ufology

by Alexander
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 He left the leadership of the Pentagon's UFO office. Now one of his reports has shaken up ufology

Sean Kirkpatrick doesn’t seem very keen to discuss UFOs with me. Since taking over the Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) in 2022 – the government speaks in favor of UFO hunting – Kirkpatrick has received violent threats, smear campaigns on social media and even had to call the FBI after a UFO fanatic showed up at his house.

“I’ve seen people threaten my wife and daughter and try to hack our online accounts – more than I ever did as deputy director of intelligence (of US Strategic Command),” Kirkpatrick says. “China and Russia didn’t try to come after me as much as these people did.”

So after 18 months on the job, Kirkpatrick resigned last December. Then, last week, AARO has released the first part of a report which he had worked on, concluded that there was no evidence “that any U.S. government investigation, academic-sponsored research, or official review board has confirmed that any observation of a UAP (aerial phenomenon unidentified) represented extraterrestrial technology.

The AARO findings threw the world of ufology – the study of UFOs, whose practitioners are known as ufologists – into a tailspin.

After all, it was only in July of last year that former intelligence officer David Grusch told a packed congressional hearing that for decades the U.S. government had been hoarding crashed alien spacecraft and attempted to reverse engineer them. True believers believed that we were getting closer than ever to full revelation; It was only a matter of time before the government rolled flying saucers onto the White House lawn.

David Grusch, center, testifies during an in-home hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena in Washington, DC on July 26, 2023. Photography: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Kirkpatrick watched this audience. For three hours, and thanks to the testimony of two former US Navy pilots, David Fravor and Ryan Graves, Congress heard about unknown aircraft performing impossible maneuvers, or the government’s possession of “non-human biological products » recovered from crashed spaceships. At one point, Rep. Tim Burchett asked Grusch if he was personally aware of anyone who had been injured in efforts to cover up or conceal extraterritorial technology. Grusch replied: “Yes. » Burchett then asked Grusch if he had heard of anyone being murdered. The former intelligence official responded: “I have directed people with this knowledge to the appropriate authorities. Grusch also claimed that the Men in Black were pursuing his case and harassing other witnesses.

Crucially, Grusch said he hadn’t seen the spaceships and “biologicals” with his own eyes; someone in the intelligence community told him the story.

Naturally, Kirkpatrick tried to talk to him. But although Grusch had dropped most of these bombshells months earlier on the cable channel NewsNation, when he was asked to discuss them with the one man in the U.S. government who really needed to hear the news, he didn’t did not respond. “We tried to contact him four or five times to get him to come,” Kirkpatrick says. “And by the time I left, he had refused to come for various reasons.”

Kirkpatrick – who has sharp features, a thin goatee and speaks in a measured monotone that makes even this subject slightly boring – says the evidence against Grusch’s claims is conclusive. “There is no evidence to support the claims, neither alien reverse engineering, nor ‘human biologics,’ or whatever you want to call it,” he says. “You see this story come up every couple of decades, and it’s pretty much the same story.”

And it comes, he says, from the UFOlogists who have caused him so much grief – a group of people who can only be described as America’s new UFO lobby.

A new age

The 21st century UFO craze began on December 16, 2017 after the New York Times reported that the Pentagon had created something called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). This was supposedly a secret department investigating unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs (the Department of Defense’s preferred acronym for UFOs).

The Times article also included three videos, the most compelling of which showed an object eerily similar to a flying saucer, moving with no apparent means of propulsion.

The story went viral and UFOs became widespread. Serious people now took the little green men and their spaceships very seriously. Barack Obama told the Late Late Show with James Corden that things are happening in our skies that the U.S. government simply can’t explain.

A flying saucer photographed near Santa Ana, California, in August 1965. Photography: GRANGER/historical photo archive/Alamy

However, not everything in the Times story was accurate. Yes, the Pentagon had a UFO program, but it was called Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP), not AATIP, and it had a bizarre beginning.

Sitting next to Grusch at that congressional hearing was George Knapp, a journalist who in 2006 co-wrote a book called In search of the Skinwalker (a shape-shifting witch in Navajo culture). Knapp’s book tells tales of endangered livestock, “invisible objects emitting magnetic fields” and flying orbs zooming around the eponym. Skinwalker Ranch – a large property in Utah.

The book proved seminal for modern ufology. The story reached James Lacatski, a Department of Defense intelligence officer, who was blown away by it and contacted aviation billionaire Robert Bigelow, then owner of Skinwalker Ranch. Bigelow allowed Lacatski to visit the ranch and investigate; one evening, Lacatski claimed to have seen an apparition in the kitchen, described in Knapp and Lacatski’s 2021 follow-up book Skinwalkers at the Pentagon as “a supernatural technological device” which took the form of “a complex, semi-opaque, yellowish tubular structure”.

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Lacatski and Bigelow took their findings to the late Harry Reid, a senator from Nevada, who also had a keen interest in UFOs. Bigelow was a longtime donor to Reid’s campaigns and persuaded him that it was time to look into UFOs and related phenomena.

There was a problem: A defense program focused on UFOs wouldn’t loosen the Pentagon’s purse strings, so Lacatski buried the real goal of his research under a banal acronym: AAWSAP, which quickly launched a search for poltergeists , ET and “bizarre hybrids of small dinosaur (sic) and large beaver”.

The Pentagon gave $22 million to AAWSAP in 2008 – and AAWSAP gave those funds to none other than Bigelow and his company, Bigelow Aerospace, who used the money to hunt UFOs and the paranormal at Skinwalker Ranch.

A few years later, the Pentagon got wind of what was really happening and AAWSAP was shut down completely in 2012. There is no evidence that AAWSAP found any spaceships or aliens.

The Amalgamated Flying Saucer Club of America, headquartered in Los Angeles, released this photo taken by a member that reportedly shows a flying saucer estimated to be 70 feet in diameter. Photography: Bettmann/Archives Bettmann

But the myth had taken root.

In Kirkpatrick’s report, he says that all the stories – the alien bodies and crashed spacecraft that Grusch peddled to Congress – “come largely from the same group of individuals who have ties to the AAWSAP/AATIP program.” and “worked with each other cohesively across various PSUs.” -related efforts”.

Their beliefs, he now says, are as circular as their associations with each other. “Some members of this same group of individuals contacted one of these industry partners and convinced them to examine a piece of material that they believed was part of a crashed UFO. And then they turned around and pointed at this company and said, “Hey, are these reverse-engineered crashed UFOs?” Well, they gave it to them. Nonetheless, he and his team at AARO looked into the matter. “Turns out it’s not really a UFO. It is most likely a piece of missile casing from an Air Force test,” he says.

What about leaked UFO videos, like the one in the New York Times? Kirkpatrick says there isn’t enough data to provide a definitive analysis of each, but insists that, like all the stories that have come across his desk, they contain mundane explanations that don’t involve d ‘extraterrestrials. The spinning, flying saucer-shaped object is likely glare from a distant heat source. “The source could be several things. Even a weather balloon will emit this kind of glare if it’s covered in enough shiny metal and the sun is perfect,” he says.

But the question is not to prove. Some people will never let themselves be influenced. “There is the absolute true belief, which suggests that it is more akin to a religion than to an actual fact,” he says. “And these are people you will never convince, no matter what you throw at them. I can present the images of the classified programs that they confused, and they still wouldn’t believe it. They were like, “No, this is from alien technology. »

What if the government ended up getting its hands on aliens and their flying saucers? “It’s not their job (to keep the secret),” he said. “It would immediately be handed over to NASA, and NASA would immediately release it to everyone. It is their job.”

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