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Biden administration distances itself from Pentagon official who bashed UFO hearing

Top Pentagon official tasked with investigating UFOs ripped witnesses' testimonies during last week's "insulting" congressional hearing. The DoD said it was his personal opinion.

Behind-the-scenes tensions appear to be boiling to the surface after last week's congressional hearing on UFOs after a top Pentagon official's "personal opinion" ripping the witnesses' testimonies became public.

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), said the hearing "was insulting" to the officers in the Department of Defense and intelligence community who joined AARO, which is a specialized department of the DoD tasked with studying UFOs.

"Many (joined AARO) with not unreasonable anxieties about the career risks this would entail, have been working diligently, tirelessly and often in the face of harassment and animosity, to satisfy their Congressionally mandated mission," Kirkpatrick said as part of his lengthy statement. 

AARO's top man's comments are his "personal opinions expressed in his capacity as a private citizen," DoD spokesperson Susan Gough said in an email to Fox News Digital. "We won't comment directly on the contents of the post."

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Kirkpatrick took offense to UFO whistleblower David Grusch's under-oath statements that alleged whistleblowers faced physical assaults and threats to their lives, including his own.

"I can't get into the specifics in an open forum but … what I personally witnessed myself and my wife was very disturbing," said Grusch, a former U.S. intelligence officer and Air Force veteran. "I've faced brutal, unfortunate tactics" of retribution that he called "administrative terrorism." 

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Grusch said he couldn't divulge specifics in an open forum, like last week's House Oversight Committee hearing, because there's an open whistleblower reprisal program case against him, but he told lawmakers that he can detail them in a classified setting.

Grusch, along with Navy pilots Ryan Graves and David Fravor, testified about their firsthand encounters with UFOs, or UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomena) as they're called now. 

"Allegations by (the hearing's) witnesses of retaliation, to include physical assault and hints of murder, are extraordinarily serious, which is why law enforcement is a critical member of the AARO team," Kirkpatrick said. 

He called his team at AARO "truth-seekers."

"But you certainly would not get that impression from (last week's) hearing," he said.

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He went on to say a "central source of those allegations" refused to speak to AARO. The statement didn't specifically mention Grusch, but it was clear that's who he referred to.

Grusch said in interviews and during the congressional hearing that Kirkpatrick or AARO never spoke to him or reached out to him.

Kirkpatrick's statement shifted to address Congress, specifically the bipartisan House Oversight Committee that said it's pushing to uncover the truth about UFOs and extraterrestrial life

"Furthermore, some information reportedly provided to Congress has not been provided to AARO, raising additional questions about the true commitment to transparency by some Congressional elements," said Kirkpatrick, who said the House subcommittee never asked AARO for an update.

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"A rational person watching the hearing might reasonably assume that both the witnesses and the members had an understanding of the Department's and the IC's progress since the establishment of AARO around this time last year, only naturally leading to conclude that AARO has been ineffective, non-transparent and delinquent in its legislated mission."

Kirkpatrick appeared before Congress in April and joined NASA's May presentation, which is running its own UAP investigation that runs on a separate but parallel track as AARO.

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"I am deeply disappointed at the denigration of AARO's dedicated men and women hailing from the Department of Defense, intelligence community and civil partners who are pouring their hearts our working this issue on the behalf of Congress," Kirkpatrick said.

He ends his lengthy statement by saying AARO has yet to find any credible evidence to support allegations of a reverse engineering program for non-human technology. 

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That's in direct conflict with Grusch's allegations that the government "absolutely" has UFO tech and "biologics" of "non-human origins" since the 1930s, and he knows the exact locations where they're being held. 

Gough, on behalf of the DoD, emphasized Kirkpatrick was speaking as a private citizen, and the DoD "has no information that any individual has been harmed or killed as a result of providing information to AARO."

"Any unsubstantiated claims that individuals have been harmed or killed in the process of providing information to AARO will serve to discourage individuals with relevant information from coming forward to aid in AARO’s efforts," she said in an email.

AARO doesn't have any "verifiable information" to substantiate claims that a reverse-engineering program of alien tech "has existed in the past or exist currently," according to Gough.

"We do want to reinforce the Department’s unwavering commitment to openness and accountability to the American people and Congress," she said.

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"The dedicated military service members, civilian personnel, and federal contractors who support AARO’s efforts are deserving of the full confidence of our lawmakers and the American public. While much remains to be done to fulfill AARO’s mandate, AARO’s committed team has made great progress since its establishment only a year ago."

She said AARO welcomes the opportunity to speak with any former or current government employee or contracted who believes they have information relevant to the investigation.

"AARO looks forward to increasing the public’s understanding of UAP through the declassification of historical and contemporary UAP information."

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPA

As of May, AARO was investigating about 800 cases, according to Kirkpatrick. About 2% to 5% of those 800 cases are "truly anomalous," he said.

NASA is also investigating UAPs, running on a separate but parallel track as AARO.

Both NASA and AARO are expected to release separate reports this summer.

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