Tell us how you really feel!
After leaving the government last month, the Pentagon's former UFO chief has had his fair share of media hits. And he's revealing more than he likely could've while still in the military's employ — but this latest one, we gotta admit, is a doozy.
In an interview with Politico, the former head of the Pentagon's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), Sean Kirkpatrick, seemed mighty critical of his ex-employer when discussing the impenetrable institution's closed-off attitude.
The decorated military man — who now serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Defense and Intelligence Programs at the National Security Sciences Directorate at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratory and runs his own intelligence consulting business — thinks that the Department of Defense's secrecy leaves space for all manner of ills. Including, apparently, conspiracy theories.
"If there is a void in the information space," Kirkpatrick said, "it will be filled with the imagination of the public right and the conspiracies and these accusations."
This is not, it should be noted, the first time the onetime professional UFO-hunter has taken on conspiracy peddlers.
In an op-ed penned for Scientific American and published last month, Kirkpatrick accused so-called government whistleblowers of spreading outlandish claims about extraterrestrial corpses and alien technology being reverse-engineered for human ends. To his mind, those fairytales did little more than derail the AARO's work.
"Our efforts were ultimately overwhelmed by sensational but unsupported claims that ignored contradictory evidence yet captured the attention of policy makers and the public," Kirkpatrick wrote in his editorial, "driving legislative battles and dominating the public narrative."
Now, however, his accusations have shifted from a loose cabal of government-employed conspiracists to, well, the government itself.
In particular, Kirkpatrick believes that the Pentagon should be "more forceful" when explaining what the AARO does and why it's important. As he's said repeatedly, the office's mission was less to hunt for aliens and more to figure out what those unidentified flying objects really are. More often than not, as he told CNN's Philip Bergen for the "In the Room" podcast, the things people are seeing are secretive military crafts.
As it's become abundantly clear since he left his role as the AARO's inaugural director, the career military servant thinks dialogue and transparency between government and media is important — and as he indicated in his discussion with Politico, which came in response to the DOD's watchdog slammed the UFO office's efforts as "uncoordinated," his former employer does not agree.
"There was a very strong concern to engage in the public discourse as often as I thought we needed to," Kirkpatrick said. "The fact that [the Pentagon's leadership] can’t figure out how to get at that message without concern for spillage into other areas has always been a frustrating point."
If an ex-spook is sounding off about the government secrecy, you know the problem might be worth taking seriously — though there's little doubt his objections will make much of a difference now that he's out the door.
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