The Pentagon’s UFO chief will resign by year’s end — amid a wave of complaints accusing him of making false statements about UFO whistleblowers and fostering an ‘atmosphere of disinterest,’ the DailyMail.com understands.
‘Four major candidates’ have been interviewed to replace the current director of the Pentagon’s UFO office, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, following months of heated public sparring between the former CIA physicist, UFO whistleblowers and activists.
The Pentagon appears to have already ‘made the decision’ on Kirkpatrick’s unnamed successor, according to one former Pentagon official with past involvement in related UFO investigation programs, who spoke with the DailyMail.com.
‘Given their public affairs track record,’ this ex-official said, ‘they may not put out anything to the press until well after the change, but who knows? They might surprise us.’
The personnel shift marks the culmination of months of accusations and counter-accusations traded between Kirkpatrick and former intel officer David Grusch, who has alleged widespread illegalities stemming from a long-secret UFO program.
This week, Grusch publicly accused Kirkpatrick of lying about his office’s efforts to investigate these claims, which had been laid out by Grusch last July under oath before Congress.
Previously, Kirkpatrick had described Grusch’s same testimony, made before the House Oversight committee, as ‘insulting […] to the officers of the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.’
But fellow UFO whistleblowers working with Grusch, some past and present DoD and Intelligence Community officers themselves, reportedly ‘don’t trust and never did trust Sean,’ according to an attorney aiding their efforts.
‘Four major candidates’ have been interviewed to replace the current director of the Pentagon UFO office, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick (above), following heated public sparring between the former CIA physicist and UFO whistleblowers, who sources say ‘don’t trust and never did trust Sean’
Air Force and intelligence agency veteran David Grusch (center) testified under oath before Congress this July alleging widespread illegalities stemming from a long-secret UFO ‘crash retrieval’ program. Flanking Grusch are two Navy pilots with knowledge of UFO incursions
While the precise reasons for his alleged departure remain murky, Dr. Kirkpatrick has faced vehement public criticism in recent weeks, from UFO enthusiasts and so-called ‘disclosure’ advocates seeking government transparency on UFOs and aliens.
A citizens’ petition calling for Dr. Kirkpatrick’s ‘immediate removal,’ hosted by Change.org, has garnered 1,739 signatures since its posting on October 22, 2023.
The petition’s author, Lisa Fine, accused Kirkpatrick of operating ‘a secret committee which directs the Department of Defense’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO)’s actions and public statements.’
‘Dr. Kirkpatrick has repeatedly lied to the American people about a lack of evidence concerning UFOs/UAPs,’ according to Fine, referencing the updated terminology for ‘unidentified flying objects.’
In recent years, Pentagon brass, NASA experts and others have taken to calling what were once known as flying saucers ‘unidentified anomalous phenomena’ or UAP.
Grusch, a former Department of Defense official, first appeared on camera for NewsNation to tell his story of deeply covert US programs that he says possess ‘intact and partially intact’ craft of non-human origin
The petition’s allegation that Dr. Kirkpatrick had assembled a secret advisory panel to run AARO, while still unproven, first emerged that same day via reporting by Matt Ford, host of ‘The Good Trouble Show’ YouTube channel, who had cited an anonymous source.
But the other recent accusations that Kirkpatrick has ‘lied to the American people,’ have come much more directly.
This Halloween, AARO hosted a conference call Q&A session between reporters and Dr. Kirkpatrick, in which the physicist fielded multiple questions about David Grusch and his allegations of a covert UFO crash retrieval and reverse engineering program.
On the call, Kirkpatrick told assembled media that he had interviewed ‘a whole range of people, over 30 people now’ in relation to the allegedly secret and illegal activity.
‘I think we’ve interviewed most of the people that he [Grusch] may have talked to,’ Kirkpatrick added, in reference to investigative work that Grusch reportedly performed while assisting AARO’s predecessor, the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force.
‘We have extended an invitation at least four or five times now for him [Grusch] to come in over the last eight months or so,’ Kirkpatrick told journalists on the call, ‘and have been declined.’
But Grusch quickly accused Kirkpatrick of inventing these outreach efforts by his AARO team in their entirety.
‘I have zero emails or calls from them,’ Grusch told reporters for NewsNation the following day. ‘That is a lie.’
Grusch accused Dr. Kirkpatrick of inventing outreach efforts by the Pentagon’s AARO personnel, during a Halloween conference call with reporters earlier this week. ‘I have zero emails or calls from them,’ Grusch told reporters for NewsNation on Wednesday. ‘That is a lie’
Similarly, one retired US Air Force Captain David Schindele, a former Minuteman ICBM launch control officer who reported his UFO encounter to AARO, said he felt that its personnel projected an ‘atmosphere of disinterest.’
Schindele told viewers of Matt Ford’s Good Trouble that Kirkpatrick and his AARO team were ‘not people I want to talk to again.’
The Mail’s former intelligence official — who has intimate knowledge of the military’s ever-evolving UFO/UAP investigation portfolio — cautioned against drawing a direct line between these controversies and any plans for Kirkpatrick’s departure, however.
‘Sean has directly told folks he is leaving by the end of the year,’ this former intelligence official told the DailyMail.com, under the condition of anonymity.
‘I think it’s completely a planned departure, he probably gave them a timeline when he took the job,’ according to this source, citing geographical stress on Dr. Kirpatrick’s family life.
‘I am sure he’s ready to go. I wouldn’t read into it any more than that, honestly.’
The source added that he has heard AARO’s first and current director would be moving on to a position with Oak Ridge National Laboratory — which briefly hosted the kernel of an apparent staff bio for Kirkpatrick before it mysteriously disappeared.
Veteran Australian TV news broadcaster and investigative reporter Ross Coulthart, who conducted the first televised interview with David Grusch, said that this staff bio ‘requires explanation’ in a series of posts to X (formerly Twitter).
‘The AARO boss is presumably also investigating possible @Battelle links w crash retrieval/engineering programs,’ Coulthart said, referencing military contractor UT–Battelle, which helps run the Oak Ridge lab on behalf of the Department of Energy.
Recent reporting by Daily Mail contributor Christopher Sharp and others has alleged that Battelle board member Stephanie O’Sullivan ‘has knowledge of a UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program,’ only to hide it from Senate investigators.
During her past years of government service, O’Sullivan was an associate deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), following successes managing parts of the US spy agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology.
Nevertheless, when reached for comment, Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough stated that, whatever his future plans may be, Dr. Kirkpatrick is not currently moonlighting for Battelle or ORNL in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Veteran Australian TV news broadcaster and investigative reporter Ross Coulthart, who conducted the first TV interview with David Grusch, said on social media that the apparent staff bio for Kirkpatrick at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s website ‘requires explanation’
‘Dr. Kirkpatrick remains the director, AARO,’ Gough said. ‘He is not currently employed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’
‘We have no AARO personnel announcements to make at this time,’ she added.
Outside official channels, however, news of Kirkpatrick’s planned departure have reached Daniel Sheehan, the Harvard-trained lawyer who represented past UFO whistleblower Luis Elizondo in his formal complaint to the DoD’s Inspector General.
‘He’s out at the end of the year — and that’s a big deal,’ Sheehan told the DailyMail.com, adding that he understands ‘four major candidates’ are up for the job opening at the top of AARO.
When reached for comment, Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough stated that Dr. Kirkpatrick (pictured above) ‘remains the director, AARO’ and is ‘not currently employed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’
Sheehan, whose history litigating progressive civil rights law cases dates back to the Vietnam War-era ‘Pentagon Papers,’ is now chief counsel, president and co-founder of the New Paradigm Institute.
The institute, a branch of the 501(C)(3) nonprofit Romero Institute, describes itself as dedicated to public policy advocacy on ‘societal, environmental, and cosmic objectives,’ which presumably includes UAP transparency.
Chris Mellon, a former official with the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and a passionate advocate for increased government diligence and transparency on the UAP issue, told the DailyMail.com that he too heard of similar developments at AARO.
‘As to Sean, I’ve heard some of the same rumors,’ Mellon wrote via email, ‘but they’re just rumors, I really don’t know his plans.’
Earlier this summer, prior to Grusch’s sworn Congressional testimony, Mellon told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo, ‘I’ve been told that we have recovered technology that did not originate on this Earth, by officials in the Department of Defense and by former intelligence officials.’
Sources with similar firsthand testimony to give, have become even more skittish about delivering what they know to AARO, despite the office’s new ‘second phase’ efforts to faithfully investigate hidden UFO crash retrieval programs.
‘This phase of the reporting mechanism is for current or former US government employees, service members, or contractors with direct knowledge of alleged US government programs or activities related to UAP dating back to 1945,’ Kirkpatrick told reporters this Halloween.
But with the future of AARO’s leadership in limbo, Sheehan told the DailyMail.com that many trepidatious UFO whistleblowers have opted to deliver their testimony to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, for now, instead.
Whistleblowers with knowledge of a classified UFO ‘reverse engineering’ program have opted to testify to the Senate intelligence committee, in part over their reported mistrust of Dr. Kirkpatrick and his Pentagon UFO office. Above, a page from Project 1794 declassified in 2012
Above, more documents from Project 1794: a Cold War-era US Air Force effort to build a supersonic flying saucer in collaboration with a Canadian defense contractor
‘What they were doing is they were going straight through to the Senate Intelligence Committee,’ Sheehan said.
‘That’s where the queue is forming of people who have real direct immediate knowledge — and Dave Grusch is in communication with these people, and our people are in communication with these people.’
‘We know that they don’t want to go into into Sean’s AARO group until it’s resolved as to who is going to take his place,’ Sheehan emphasized.
‘None of the whistleblowers want to go in there, because they don’t view it as stable or safe.’
The former intelligence official, who confirmed word of Dr. Kirkpatrick’s departure, weighed in with the opinion that ‘the public push back from Dave [Grusch] was probably unexpected.’
Despite a long summer of contradictory timelines detailed by both Grusch and Dr. Kirkpatrick, in other words, the official suspects that AARO likely did not expect to have its director called a liar in public.
Among other inconsistencies, Grusch testified under oath before Congress this July that his last personal interaction with Dr. Kirkpatrick occurred in 2022.
‘Him and I had a classified conversation in April 2022 before he took over AARO in July 2022,’ Grusch told Florida Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna, under oath during the hearing.
Grusch added that he had provided Dr. Kirkpatrick with ‘some concerns’ he had, related to national security issues relevant to AARO’s UAP mandate.
But, during AARO’s Halloween conference call on Tuesday, Kirkpatrick asserted that the two had not spoken in nearly five years.
‘The last time I believe I spoke with Mr. Grusch was when I was in the J2 [Directorate for Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff] at US Space Command,’ Kirkpatrick said, ‘about five years ago.’
‘And it was not on this topic,’ he added.
When faced with these and other discrepancies, the ex-intelligence official told the DailyMail.com, ‘I believe Dave.’