Pentagon ‘Strongly’ Urges Military Members to Report UFO Sightings With New Website
On Halloween, the head of the Pentagon’s UFO investigation program held an off-camera press conference and took questions from the media. Over the course of 30 minutes, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the head of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) talked about UAPs, balloons, how government employees can report a sighting, and alleged UFO whistleblower David Grusch.
The first order of business was the announcement of a new website that will allow people with a connection to the U.S. government to report any UFO activity they’re aware of. According to Kirkpatrick, the AARO is only looking for “current or former U.S. government employees, service members, or contractors with direct knowledge of alleged U.S. government programs or activities related to UAP dating back to 1945.”
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to strongly encourage any current or former U.S. government employees, military or civilian, or contractors who believe that they have firsthand knowledge of a U.S. government UAP program or activity to please come forward using this new secure reporting mechanism,” Kirkpatrick said. “We want to hear from you. As I’ve said, the information you submit in the form will be protected.”
Kirkpatrick said that any information shared would be confidential and only shared with AARO staff. “We understand that members of the public are also interested in reporting UAP sightings to AARO,” he said. “We are exploring methods for how the public can do so in the forthcoming third phase of the secure reporting mechanism, but I don’t have anything to announce about that today.”
Part of the remit of the AARO was an official reporting mechanism for both government employees and the public. Several members of congress have criticized the AARO for the delay in creating that reporting mechanism. Startups like Enigma Labs have attempted to create an app-based reporting mechanism to sell to the Pentagon, but this new website is the first official resource for wider reporting.
Kirkpatrick said that the website is just a method by which a person can make contact with the AARO to tell their story, and won’t necessarily be the final time the agency talks to whoever is reaching out. The site has a disclaimer that explains filling out a false claim could lead to jail time.
“This form is to be used for official business with the Department of Defense. Knowing and willful false reporting can be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both (see 18 U.S.C. 1001),” it says. “Additionally, falsifying information may have a negative effect on your security clearance, employment prospects, or job status, up to and including denial or revocation of your security clearance, or your removal and debarment from federal service, if applicable.”
Kirkpatrick said the AARO had been busy sorting through images and determining what’s valuable to investigate and what has a simple explanation. As part of that project, they’re collecting data about what simple objects look like in the various sensors of military aircraft. “So, we’re running a campaign and have been for the last year or so on, here’s what a weather balloon looks like in an F-35 when you fly it at Mach 1 in all of the sensors. Here’s what it looks like from Aegis, and then take all that data and turn it into models that we can then put back into the trainers so that the operators can understand what they’re looking at,” he said. “The idea being we want to reduce the number of UAP reports that are actually just balloons or actually just drones. Right? I need to get those off of our plate because those aren’t UAP.”
Towards the end of the roundtable, a journalist asked about UFO whistleblower David Grusch. Grusch claimed to have knowledge of secret government UFO projects, the exact kind of thing Kirkpatrick said he wanted people to talk about. Grusch claimed he’d conducted several interviews with other witnesses and even testified before congress.
According to Kirkpatrick, he’s never talked to Grusch about UFOs despite the AARO reaching out several times. Kirkpatrick did say he’d talked to the man five years ago, but about other things and well before the creation of the AARO. “I think we’ve interviewed most of the people that he may have talked to, but we don’t know that,” Kirkpatrick said. “And we have extended an invitation at least four or five times now for him to come in over the last eight months or so. [It] has been declined.”
Kirkpatrick also addressed a few of the specific claims made by Grusch, including that the U.S. Government had reverse-engineered alien spacecraft. “I currently have no evidence of any program having ever existed to do any sort of reverse engineering of any sort of extraterrestrial UAP program,” Kirkpatrick said. “We do have a requirement by law to bring those whistleblowers or other interviewees in who think that it does exist, and they may have information that pertains to that. We do not have any of that evidence right now.”
Jeff Schogol, a Pentagon reporter for Task & Purpose, asked Kirkpatrick why whistleblowers should trust the AARO.
“Well, they should come to us because, well, it’s in law that we are the authorized reporting authority for them to come to, they are protected under the Whistleblower Act that they extended those protections to last year’s legislation and we have the security mechanisms by which to anonymously and confidentially bring them in, hear what they have to say, research that information and protect it if it is in truly classified,” Kirkpatrick said. “And if it’s not classified, then we can validate that as well.”
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