AARO Media Roundtable

Sean Kirkpatrick conducted a brief off-camera media roundtable and has posted the transcript

AARO Round Table

Direct Reporting for Historical Information / UAP Programs​

Opening statement (emphasis mine):
External Quote:
AARO DIRECTOR DR. SEAN KIRKPATRICK: Thanks, Sue. Apparently, we have a bit of humor in our PA group by having a UAP briefing on Halloween. Thanks. Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming and joining on the phone. Today, per Section 1673 of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, AARO launched the second phase of our secure reporting mechanism on the aaro.mil website.

This phase of the reporting mechanism is 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 to contact AARO, to voluntarily submit a report. These reports will be used to inform AARO's congressionally directed Historical Record Report and investigations into alleged U.S. government UAP programs, due to Congress in June of 2024.

The form on the website is intended as an initial point of contact with AARO. It is not intended for conveying potentially sensitive or classified information. The form will take individuals through submission guidance, including determining their eligibility, and then will gather contact information, data on their affiliation with the U.S. government, and some basic information on the UAP program or activity that they have a direct knowledge of. AARO personnel will then catalog and review the submissions and follow up with the individuals as needed.

All information shared will be protected as personal and confidential and will only be shared with AARO staff for the purposes of contacting individuals for interviews. I'd like to emphasize that this contact form is for current or former U.S. government personnel to let AARO know that they have information of alleged U.S. government UAP programs or activities. We understand that members of the public are also interested in reporting UAP sightings to AARO. 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.

I'd also note that the secure reporting mechanism, now live on the aaro.mil website, does not replace the standard reporting procedures established in the May 2023 Joint Staff general admin message to the services and the combatant commands regarding how to report current operational UAP reporting and sightings. DOD personnel who observe a UAP should use the reporting procedures outlined in the Joint Staff message. Neither does this mechanism change the FAA reporting guidance for current observations from civilian pilots. And we encourage civilian pilots to properly report UAP sightings to air traffic control. AARO receives UAP-related pilot reports or PIREPs from the FAA.

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. We want to hear from you. As I've said, the information you submit in the form will be protected.

Additionally, any information that you provide in a subsequent interview will be protected according to its classification. By law, AARO can receive all UAP related information, including any classified national security information involving military intelligence or intelligence related activities at all levels of classification, regardless of any restrictive access controls, special access programs, or compartmented access programs.

Moreover, there is no restriction to AARO receiving any past or present UAP related information, regardless of the organizational affiliation of the original classification authority within the department, the intelligence community, or any other U.S. government department or agency. And with that, I will be happy to take questions.
 
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David Grusch​

The last time Grusch spoke with Kirkpatrick was 5 years ago.
  • Grusch has declined 4 or 5 invitations in the past 8 months to submit his claims to the AARO.
  • Kirkpatrick has interviewed more than 30 of the same people that Grusch had interviewed for his claims.
External Quote:
DR. KIRKPATRICK: So, Mr. Grusch, since AARO has stood up and since I've been director, has not come to see us and provided any information.

DR. KIRKPATRICK: So, the last time I believe I spoke with Mr. Grusch was when I was in the J2 at U.S. Space Command about five years ago, and it was not on this topic. Now, we have interviewed a whole range of people, over 30 people now. I think we've interviewed most of the people that he may have talked to, but we don't know that. 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 and has been declined.
External Quote:
Q: One quick follow up question. So, you said you think you've all talked to the same people David Grusch did. Are you able to expand on that? What did they share with you all?

DR. KIRKPATRICK: No. For a variety of reasons, so we -- we, obviously, we are obligated to protect all these people's identities for – for all kinds of reasons. What they are reporting, we are documenting. They are reviewing and then revalidating that this is what they want to say. We then research all of that collectively. There is a – there is a, if you think of it as a story arc, there's a number of people that kind of fit into this story arc.

But then there's these little offshoots and variations on themes. We're investigating each and every one of them. We're cross-referencing those. There are some bits of information that are turning out to be things and events that really happened. A lot of it is still under review, and we're putting all that together into our historical report.

Clandestine UAP Programs​

External Quote:
Q: Thank you. I just wanted to double check on a new thing, something you are asking current and former government employees if they have evidence of a former clandestine UAP program. What makes you believe that such a thing might have existed? And if the government kept it secret before, why should a government employee trust you now?

DR. KIRKPATRICK: Well, let's see, I currently have no evidence of any program having ever existed as a to do any sort of reverse engineering of any sort of extraterrestrial UAP program. 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. And why should they come to us?

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. And if it's not classified, then we can validate that as well.
 
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Sensors​

External Quote:
First, we have a lot of our reporting comes from military sensor platforms, F-35s, F-22s, Aegis radars, whatnot. All of those sensors have to be calibrated against known objects, right. 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 on 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. That's part one.

Part two is then looking at, where are our data gaps? So, our domain awareness gaps don't necessarily arise because we don't have a sensor. It arises because we have a lot of data that are tuned for missiles, aircraft, large things that we're looking at, coming over the poles, that sort of thing. There's a lot of data that's not looked at. And so, my team is going through all that systematically with a lot of our S&T partners and our operational partners to go, if I put a calibration sphere out in the middle of the U.S. and I have, say, FAA radar data on it, what does it look like? And can I pull those signatures out and turn them into something that we can then queue off of? 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.
Then when we have gaps, and by gaps I mean either operational gaps or a capability gap, then we will put a purpose-built sensor out in place to do search and track and ID and characterization. We have a couple of those already built and deployed. They've been calibrated against known objects, and we're using them to do pattern of life analysis. And what do I mean by that? We have a lot of our airspaces, for example, we don't understand, because nobody's measured it, what all of the stuff is that comes through the airspace on a daily basis.
So, we have to do that. Well, you can't just run the sensors 24/7, because it costs a lot of money to do that, because we pay, you know, staff to go out there and run them. But we can build some -- some dedicated sensors that are automated, that will just survey an area for a long period of time, couple that with some overhead collect, and now you can get kind of a picture of what's there, what's there 24/7 for three months at a time.
Then you'll know if there's a difference in that, and we can try to figure out if there are anomalies in there.
Satellites etc.:
External Quote:
DR. KIRKPATRICK: So, the answer to your first question is yes, I have access to all the overhead imagery I need. I have not seen any of them that have collected UAP. We have collected lots of UAP that turned out to be balloons and those look nice.
 
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Documents​

External Quote:
National Archives have been great partners in this. In fact, I'd like to highlight for you all that in our research, we have with them uncovered a whole bunch of new documents that they have digitized and put out on their website. And then we've got some more that we're going to be releasing here fairly soon.
External Quote:
DR. KIRKPATRICK: I think the one thing I'd like to leave you all with is the website is a living thing. It's going to evolve as we do more and more here. We've got a package of a lot of new material that we've got ready for release. We've uncovered some things that we are having declassified. Not just operational videos, but historical documents that we've had declassified that we're about to release in the coming days and weeks.

We've got some educational material that will help inform the public. So, you should expect to see things evolve on this platform every one to two months, I would say, just by way of how long it takes to get things through our processes.

Declassification:​

External Quote:
As far as the release of data, data release and footage is prioritized based on the geopolitical environment of the time. Right?
So, engagements with Chinese fighters, Russian fighters, have a much larger priority in getting it through the review process for declassification than UAPs or other similar engagements. We are, however, working through those processes which all exist, and we've got several of them actually already declassified and ready to update on our website.

And we'll be doing on the next update to the website, and we're putting them out as quickly as we can get them through that process. I think what is important for everyone to understand is the process for declassifying a video depends on who owns the platform. So, it's not just I have to go to the DOD, big DOD, and ask for declassification. I have to go to the Combatant Command or the service that was operating that at the time.

What operation was it doing when it engaged it? How do I then make sure that what we are declassifying doesn't give away, not just sources and methods, but also operational details? Why was this platform where it was, what was it looking at? These are the kinds of questions that have to be answered, but it has to be answered by the operational commander, which is the Combatant Command in which those things occurred. And because they all are different, the process and the timeline for getting each of these events declassified varies. And it will continue to vary until we can figure out a better way to do business.
 
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2004 Navy FLIR1 "TicTac" video​

External Quote:
Q: Hey there. Thanks for doing this. So, during that July hearing, there's obviously the appearance of Mr. Grusch that earned a lot of headlines. But also David Fravor, former Navy pilot. There's this 2004 video that has now become very famous because of the New York Times reporting on it.
And I wonder, I know that you don't necessarily have a priority list in terms of which of these incidents you need to get to the bottom of, like, first. But do you have any more information, or have you been able to come to any hints or – or – or inclinations about the nature of that now very famous 2004 video, purporting to show UFO taken -- or UAP, from sensors aboard an F-18 Super Hornet?

DR. KIRKPATRICK: Okay, so cases, the way we investigate cases, we really prioritize more the operational ones from today than we do going backwards in time. And the reason for that is there is no supporting data to actually analyze. Right? So, that video, that's all there is. There is no other data to put behind it. So, understanding what that is off of that one video is unlikely to occur. Now, whereas today, if we have a lot of data, somebody sees something, there's going to be a lot more data associated with it that we can pull that apart. Radar data and optical data and IR data.

As far as that particular one is concerned, there are some outstanding questions that I've had in talking with some of those pilots that we're going back to the Navy to do some research on as far as what happened with any of that other data that may have been there at that time. And a lot of that is going to be historical research. And I think one of the important things to note about that is, up until we issued new guidance to the forces to retain data, the way data is handled on these platforms is they don't retain them at all, ever.

I mean, they retain them for 24 hours, usually. If there was an incident on the platform, like there was a malfunction, they would reuse that data to analyze what that is. But then when they go back out, they essentially overwrite the data storage. They don't necessarily pull that off and keep it anywhere unless there's a reason to. Back in 2004, there wasn't much of a reason to because that wasn't part of the guidance and authority necessary to go off and do that. Right?

So, we have changed that now, again, with the Gen Admin guidance that we issued in May that directed all the services that should a report like that be made, they have to retain all that data and get it to us for analysis so that we have a better chance of actually getting into what is that thing? The farther back in time you go, the less data you have. It is highly unlikely we're going to get any resolution out of that that's going to satisfy anybody, just because there is no data to be looked at.
 
In his statement to the house, Grusch said that he had a classified conversation with Kirkpatrick in April 2022.

External Quote:
Yes. Him and I had a classified conversation in April 2022 before he took over AARO in July 2022. And I provided him some concerns I had.
That does not square with what Kirkpatrick is saying about the latest conversation being five years ago and about other things. One of them is either lying or misremembering. Anyway, is anyone finding it weird that the person who (in his own words, but as far as I know, no one has disputed that) was co-lead in his agency when it comes to UAPs, including reporting to the AARO, apparently only spoke to the director of the AARO, once and that time, whether five years or in April 2022, it was before he was the director and never afterwards?

Also, why doesn't he want to speak to the AARO? He is trying to paint himself as a "good" whistleblower, doing things by the book, so why not talk to the people he is supposed to talk to?

I can't find a good source for exactly when Kirkpatrick became Director (I assume it was when the AARO was founded since he's the first Director?) but Grusch says it was in July 2022 and Kirkpatrick's bio on AARO's homepage says it was early 2022. July isn't early. It's just a minor detail, but one more that disagrees between their respective versions of the story.

Grusch said his things under oath (which some people find to be significant in a way I personally I do not) so wouldn't that be rather easily provable perjury if he is the one that is lying about their conversations?
 
Grusch said his things under oath (which some people find to be significant in a way I personally I do not) so wouldn't that be rather easily provable perjury if he is the one that is lying about their conversations?
For it to be perjury, the statement would have to be material, and in the context of the hearing it's really not material when exactly Grusch had an exchange with Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick used the words "spoke with", so if Grusch emailed him "some concerns" and Kirkpatrick's office replied with "thank you for your input", maybe that counts as "conversation" for Grusch, but not for Kirkpatrick?

External Quote:
QUESTION: Kirkpatrick, head of AARO, had said that he did not find any evidence of UAPs. You also stated that you had in your interview that you had briefed him on information that you were uncovering, but that he did not follow up with you.

GRUSH: Him and I had a classified conversation in April 2022 before he took over AARO in July 2022. And I provided him some concerns I had.

QUESTION: Do you know why he might not have followed up with you?

GRUSH: Unfortunately, I cannot read his mind. I wish he did. I was happy to give sage counsel to him on where to look when he took the helm of AARO.
This sounds to me that it was mostly a one-way conversation.
In the "round table", Kirkpatrick made it very clear that AARO is looking for firsthand information. For all we know, Grusch seems to have very little of that, and that may well explain this lack of communication.
 
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I can't find a good source for exactly when Kirkpatrick became Director (I assume it was when the AARO was founded since he's the first Director?) but Grusch says it was in July 2022 and Kirkpatrick's bio on AARO's homepage says it was early 2022. July isn't early.
That's why Metabunk has a "no paraphrases" policy, requiring direct quotes. From the PDF you linked:
External Quote:
SmartSelect_20231101-192838_Samsung Notes.jpg
DoD press release:
July 20, 2022

Today, USD(I&S) Hon. Ronald S. Moultrie informed the department of the establishment of AARO within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and named Dr. Sean M. Kirkpatrick, most recently the chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency's Missile and Space Intelligence Center, as the director of AARO.

What happened is that in early 2022, Kirkpatrick was chosen to lead AARO, he sets up a staff roster and picks his personnel, and in July AARO is formally instituted and starts working. This fits both the quote from the bio and the press release with no contradiction, and makes sense.

It also explains why Grusch contacted Kirkpatrick back in April 2022—he'd have no reason to, unless he knew Kirkpatrick was picked to head up AARO (there had to be internal job listings etc. that Grusch would've been aware of).

P.S. Kirkpatrick's bio as linked from the DoD press release has the same phrasing.
 
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2004 Navy FLIR1 "TicTac" video​

External Quote:
Q: Hey there. Thanks for doing this. So, during that July hearing, there's obviously the appearance of Mr. Grusch that earned a lot of headlines. But also David Fravor, former Navy pilot. There's this 2004 video that has now become very famous because of the New York Times reporting on it.
And I wonder, I know that you don't necessarily have a priority list in terms of which of these incidents you need to get to the bottom of, like, first. But do you have any more information, or have you been able to come to any hints or – or – or inclinations about the nature of that now very famous 2004 video, purporting to show UFO taken -- or UAP, from sensors aboard an F-18 Super Hornet?

DR. KIRKPATRICK: Okay, so cases, the way we investigate cases, we really prioritize more the operational ones from today than we do going backwards in time. And the reason for that is there is no supporting data to actually analyze. Right? So, that video, that's all there is. There is no other data to put behind it. So, understanding what that is off of that one video is unlikely to occur. Now, whereas today, if we have a lot of data, somebody sees something, there's going to be a lot more data associated with it that we can pull that apart. Radar data and optical data and IR data.

As far as that particular one is concerned, there are some outstanding questions that I've had in talking with some of those pilots that we're going back to the Navy to do some research on as far as what happened with any of that other data that may have been there at that time. And a lot of that is going to be historical research. And I think one of the important things to note about that is, up until we issued new guidance to the forces to retain data, the way data is handled on these platforms is they don't retain them at all, ever.

I mean, they retain them for 24 hours, usually. If there was an incident on the platform, like there was a malfunction, they would reuse that data to analyze what that is. But then when they go back out, they essentially overwrite the data storage. They don't necessarily pull that off and keep it anywhere unless there's a reason to. Back in 2004, there wasn't much of a reason to because that wasn't part of the guidance and authority necessary to go off and do that. Right?

So, we have changed that now, again, with the Gen Admin guidance that we issued in May that directed all the services that should a report like that be made, they have to retain all that data and get it to us for analysis so that we have a better chance of actually getting into what is that thing? The farther back in time you go, the less data you have. It is highly unlikely we're going to get any resolution out of that that's going to satisfy anybody, just because there is no data to be looked at.
Just as I have long suspected, they do not have anything else but the videos we all have seen. No radar data, no longer uncut videos, Nothing.


The Black Vault got some documents via FOIA that seemed to say basically the same thing:
https://documents2.theblackvault.com/documents/navy/DON-NAVY-2022-001613.pdf
External Quote:
The staffers are generally disappointed that the Navy does not save any video of these encounters and the chain of custody is lacking
 
But then there's these little offshoots and variations on themes. We're investigating each and every one of them. We're cross-referencing those. There are some bits of information that are turning out to be things and events that really happened. A lot of it is still under review, and we're putting all that together into our historical report.

I found this interesting. As some have suspected, some of the detail in the reports of UAP programs is real but as confirmed by Kirkpatrick they are not related to UAPs. Some of the real reports may relate to classified activities like advanced propulsion research or recovery of adversary weapon systems which will certainly be redacted in any reports produced by AARO.

Sadly we'll have to wait until Jun 2024 until we can see the AARO report it seems.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Transc...patrick-holds-an-off-camera-media-roundtable/
External Quote:
This phase of the reporting mechanism is 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 to contact AARO, to voluntarily submit a report. These reports will be used to inform AARO's congressionally directed Historical Record Report and investigations into alleged U.S. government UAP programs, due to Congress in June of 2024.
 
What's with with AARO and the seeming unwillingness to do characterisation, given NHI/aliens is part of the official wording, adopting a public position of either 'we identified the specific plane' and 'no idea' just leaves gaps for aliens.
 
What's with with AARO and the seeming unwillingness to do characterisation, given NHI/aliens is part of the official wording, adopting a public position of either 'we identified the specific plane' and 'no idea' just leaves gaps for aliens.
That's how science works both believers and debunkers make this similar mistake. It's OK to say "we have no idea". Who cares if people fill in the gaps?
 
That's how science works both believers and debunkers make this similar mistake. It's OK to say "we have no idea". Who cares if people fill in the gaps?
I care, and a good many sensible people care, if the gap is filled with something that people have imagined. "The leprechauns have come to take back their pot of gold" has about the same validity as "The aliens from Alpha Centauri have come to bring us peace and enlightenment; let us worship them". A realistic view of the world is pretty much what Metabunk strives for, and a populace that ignores facts and invents their own is a body of people who can be easily led into ignorance.
 
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