Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Senate Briefing on The Skinwalker Ranch and AARO’s Sean Kirkpatrick

Senate Briefing on The Skinwalker Ranch and AARO’s Sean Kirkpatrick

The Skinwalker Strikes Back

Former AARO boss get clobbered by friendly fire

"But the first question we should ask is, why is this guy [Sean Kirkpatrick] still doing press interviews in the first place? Is it vanity? Are there rhetorical or other scores he feels the need to settle with real or imagined antagonists?"

     Well that interview didn’t go according to script, did it?

See, this is what happens when an ostensibly smart guy like Sean Kirkpatrick surrounds himself with hand-picked beat reporters who, in pursuit of access to power and sourcing, swallow each and every pronouncement on faith and refuse to call him out on anything. Like Muhammad Ali, Kirkpatrick should’ve been preparing for the unexpected juke with sparring partners like Tim Witherspoon or
Billy Cox
By Billy Cox
Life in Jonestown
Larry Holmes, not the housecat palookas who softened him up for what should’ve been a non-event last week. Instead, the former director of the Pentagon’s wretched All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office got inadvertently tripped up by one of his own media allies – and now he looks like just another tired cliche.

But the first question we should ask is, why is this guy still doing press interviews in the first place? Is it vanity? Are there rhetorical or other scores he feels the need to settle with real or imagined antagonists?

The former CIA operator left AARO in December after 18 months for a job more suited to his impulses, i.e., Chief Technology Officer for defense and intelligence programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He no doubt checked the “Exceeds Expectations” box of his year-end review by ignoring the really weird UFO cases and hyping the explainable ones, which nobody gives a shit about. And for good measure, he dropped a floater in the punchbowl on the way out with that “Historical Report,” which scrupulously avoided any mention of (among many other omissions) nuclear-base incursions and WMD tampering. And the Tic Tac incident, which rejuvenated the global UFO conversation in 2017? Forget about it, nowhere to be found in that masquerade of an official record.

But Kirkpatrick set the table for last week’s snafu by joining several round-table discussions – December 2022, October 2023, and last November – with oblivious and largely legacy-media homies who either didn’t know about or failed to ask what AARO’s position was on two of the most conspicuous and well-documented UFO cases this century.

And, um, what did the pilots say?

The most visually intriguing, of course, is the 2013 Aguadilla encounter, involving footage of transmedium UFO activity off Puerto Rico recorded by Customs and Border Protection. It was declassified by the Department of Homeland Security in 2023. More portentous, however, are the implications from a radar data harvest reaped by the 2008 Stephenville incident.

Eyewitness accounts of the spectacular UFO that buzzed the Texas cowtown 16 years ago rated international coverage, in no small part because FOIA action by Robert Powell forced the Air Force to reverse initial denials and admit that 10 F-16s from Carswell AFB were operating in the Stephenville region that night, per numerous folks on the ground. Plus, the unknown radar target (no transponder) was cruising like a dorsal fin for the no-fly zone around President Bush’s residence in Crawford some 70 miles southeast of Stephenville. Inexplicably, by time the bogey hit the perimeter, no jet fighters were in the area. But radar records did track a surveillance plane, likely an AWACS, keeping an eye on things at 41,000 feet by flying figure-8 patterns for nearly four hours.

During Bush’s presidency, at least three illegal breaches of restricted airspace over Crawford’s “western White House” made headlines, with private pilots being forced down by F-16s. According to FOIA-acquired FAA records, a total of nine violations occurred during Bush’s term, all from 2001-2005. Every violator was apprehended and cited. There is no mention of the 1/8/08 visitor from Stephenville in the data provided by the FAA. One also wonders: where was the air cover that confronted the other guilty interlopers? Given some hairy historical precedents about what can happen when combat aircraft mount aggressive responses to UFO activity, might there be some tacit military policy to back off in the absence of demonstrably hostile intent? That’d be one helluva story.

But during Kirkpatrick’s media Q&As, not a single reporter asked what the pilots or crew members who participated in Stephenville or Aguadilla incidents – reconstructed with federal data – had to say. Because nobody dared to mention either case in the first place.

A ‘UFO religion’ in the Pentagon

Enter New York Post reporter Steven Greenstreet.

Greenstreet is a tenacious journo on a mission. The UAP mystery insults his intelligence. He dismisses researchers as “true believers,” “spooky hustlers,” and “paranormal crusaders.” For the last few years, he’s been engaged in his own crusade to goad Congress into investigating the Pentagon’s credulous engagement with the UFO issue. He describes the $22 million for the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Applications Program (AAWSAP) in 2007 as a “misappropriation of funds.” The focus of his obsession is Skinwalker Ranch, a nexus of reported UFO and other paranormal activity in Utah, where ongoing investigations are now five seasons deep into a History channel reality series.

Greenstreet is, in other words, the perfect vessel for Kirkpatrick. In the interview he dropped last week, Greenstreet virtue-signals by blaming “the UFO hysteria of the past six years” on the New York Times. He accuses the media of being asleep at the wheel for failing to appreciate the sketchy (at best) UFO history report released by AARO in March. He attempts to score points with Kirkpatrick by describing AARO detractors as zealots.

“A UFO religion has infiltrated the Pentagon,” Greenstreet declares after getting Kirkpatrick to characterize even receptive DoD colleagues as part of “a religion,” a religion that even threatens national security. “This seems like front page news,” Greenstreet adds, “but you won’t find it on the front pages of the American mainstream media, who mostly ignored Kirkpatrick’s AARO report and who continued to publish stories about aliens and UFOs.”

The media ignored AARO’s report with headlines like these: “Pentagon finds ‘no evidence’ of UFO technology in new UFO report” – NPR; “Pentagon study finds no evidence of alien life in reported UFO sightings going back decades” – Associated Press; “Pentagon report says most UFO sightings ‘ordinary objects’ and phenomena” – Reuters; “Pentagon says no evidence of UFO cover-up by U.S.” – NBC; “Alien, UFO mothership is not being hidden from you: Pentagon report” – USA Today; “Pentagon finds no evidence of alien visits, hidden spacecraft” – Washington Post; “Pentagon review finds no evidence of alien coverup” – New York Times. But to itemize Greenstreet’s myriad inaccuracies is beside the point.

Whoops . . .

Twenty-two minutes through the half-hour split-screen interview (see below) Greenstreet asks if SK had “any interest at all in UFOs” prior to his appointment to lead AARO in 2022. Kirkpatrick says not beyond the movies. “Before AARO, did you perform any duties regarding UFOs or paranormal phenomena?” SK says no. “Did you attend a 2018 Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on Skinwalker Ranch?”

Kirkpatrick gets this blank deer-in-the-headlights look like Trump did when asked six years ago if he knew anything about payoffs to Stormy Daniels. SK pauses, gaze climbing the walls, and says “Nnnno . . . I attended a briefing at the request of Senate Armed Services Committee on what was at that time associated with the AATIP/AAWSAP research that was going (on) as an independent outside, uh, reviewer, and I gave them my opinions at that time.”

Because that’s just what the Senate does – invite people who know nothing about a subject to share their uninformed opinions.

Kirkpatrick tries a little damage spin by clarifying “this was not a government briefing” and winds up sounding like Trump trying to explain why he did or didn’t favor Putin’s word over American intelligence at a summit in Helsinki. During Greenstreet’s trip to Skinwalker Ranch a few years ago, he explains to SK, ranch owner Brandon Fugal claimed he attended the very same SASC meeting — and Kirkpatrick was there too. Moreover, Fugal insisted, Kirkpatrick actually ran the meeting himself, informing attendees that he, Kirkpatrick, “was already fully aware of the reality of UFO phenomena.”

The dead end blues

Kirkpatrick denies leading the meeting, or making “aliens are real” statements. In a subsequent email exchange, SK tells Greenstreet “I did not know that it was about Skinwalker Ranch until later. I don’t recall it being referenced by that name during the briefing.” Greenstreet responds with slides from Fugal’s 2018 Power Point briefing, which feature logos that read “Confidential Briefing/Skinwalker Ranch/U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.” Kirkpatrick denies being in on that particular meeting – the one he attended, he assures Greenstreet, “was less polished.” Kirkpatrick doubles down by saying he didn’t, in fact, attend any such briefing on The Hill in 2018 – “I believe it would have been 2017.”

“I don’t recall ever meeting Fugal,” SK adds. “Maybe he’s confusing the two meetings.”

Fugal responds to Greenstreet’s followup email query with the exact date of the meeting – 19 April 2018 – along with assertions that he (Fugal) possesses photos, videos, and the names of every witness in the room. “This is all very confusing,” Greenstreet confesses at the end of his piece, “and at this point, I simply don’t know who to believe.”

Fugal settled matters last Thursday by releasing a photo (below) from the 2018 briefing – with Kirkpatrick staring into the camera.

Don’t expect Steven Greenstreet to go to the dark side – his dragonslayer shtick compelled him to bury the lead of this surprising interview with an intro that allowed Sean Kirkpatrick to proclaim his victimhood, once again, at the hands of UFO crazies. As for the former AARO boss, who could and should have disappeared quietly into shadowland five months ago, a little advice – if you’re actually enjoying this public figure gig, get better sparring partners than the stroke jobs who helped pave the road to this dead end.

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