[UPDATED: November 24]

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick has announced that he is retiring from his position as Director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) in December 2023, 18 months after taking the position. Although Kirkpatrick’s departure was originally rumored to be due to numerous complaints made by potential UAP whistleblowers regarding the director’s fostering of an “atmosphere of disinterest” within the office, Kirkpatrick says that the timing of his exit was planned when he took the position, rather than being due to the more recent controversy.

“I’m ready to move on. I have accomplished everything I said I was going to do,” Kirkpatrick said while announcing his retirement in an interview with Politico on November 7. His retirement closes out a 27-year career with the Department of Defense and the United States Intelligence Community that included a posting at the Central Intelligence Agency, four years as the Defense Intelligence Officer for Scientific and Technical Intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and two years as Deputy Director of Intelligence of the U.S. Strategic Command, before being appointed as the Director of AARO at its inception in July 2022.

Although AARO Deputy Director Tim Phillips will become the office’s acting director until a permanent placement can be made, an anonymous former Pentagon official speaking with the Daily Mail said that “four major candidates” have already been interviewed to take over as Director of AARO, and the Pentagon has apparently already made their choice as to who will succeed Kirkpatrick.

During his tenure as director Kirkpatrick had drawn a great deal of controversy regarding how the AARO has dealt with potential UAP whistleblowers, some of whom are accusing him of maintaining a culture of “disinterest” in the office’s investigations and issuing false statements regarding what the witnesses are reporting, particularly in regards to secret UAP recovery and reverse-engineering programs.

In response to this, a change.org petition, titled “Demand the removal of Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, Director of AARO“, started by UFO researcher Lisa Fine, had gathered over 1,900 supporters since it was launched on October 22. The petition alleges that “there is a secret committee which directs” AARO’s actions, acting as “gatekeepers of the UFO/UAP secrets.”

“Dr. Kirkpatrick has repeatedly lied to the American people about a lack of evidence concerning UFOs/UAPs,” the petition asserts. “There is no doubt that he will continue to do so!”

On October 31 Kirkpatrick hosted an off-camera media roundtable, during which he announced the launch of AARO’s secure UAP reporting mechanism for government employees on the aaro.mil website, as mandated by the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

During the roundtable, multiple questions regarding the allegations of secret UAP recovery programs brought forward by David Grusch were fielded; the director responded that AARO has interviewed more than 30 individuals that, Kirkpatrick believes, represents “most of the people that [Grusch] may have talked to,” referring to the individuals that say that they were directly involved in UAP back-engineering efforts that Grusch interviewed as part of his investigative duties while assigned to the UAP Task Force.

Kirkpatrick went on to say that AARO “has 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;” this assertion was refuted by Grusch during an interview with  NewsNation the following day, saying that “I have zero emails or calls from them. That is a lie.”

Grusch is not the only publicly-known whistleblower dissatisfied with how the AARO is being run: after speaking to AARO personnel regarding a high-level incident that took place at Minot Air Force Base in September 1966, retired Air Force Captain David Schindele, who was the base’s Launch Control Officer and Deputy Commander at the time, said that he was “disappointed” that his interview with ARO representatives “took place in an atmosphere of disinterest,” with his interviewers seemingly taking no interest in key elements of an incident where no less than ten of the facility’s Minuteman ICBMs were deactivated by a UFO that appeared just outside the base’s gates.

Schindele also said that a former security guard that was even more directly involved in the same incident was also not happy with the treatment he received from AARO. Speaking on The Good Trouble Show, he said that the attitude of the AARO investigators was dismissive to the point that they were “not people I want to talk to again,” and that if asked, he would not advise other whistleblowers to contact AARO to report their experiences.

But despite the rumors surrounding the circumstances of Kirkpatrick’s departure, he says that his retirement was planned from the outset, and that he stayed on for an extra six months to oversee the completion of the first volume of the UAP historical record report, as required by the NDAA 2023.

“When I took the job, I promised going in that I would do a year, and we would reevaluate,” Kirkpatrick said in a separate interview with Politico. “I have decided to stay on until towards the end of this year because there’s a couple more things I need to finish.

“I deferred my retirement because I was asked to come do this,” he continued. “I set out those goals. It’s been about 18 months. I’m ready to move on. I have accomplished everything I said I was going to do.”

Kirkpatrick appears to have accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory—a move rumored before he announced his departure from federal service—with a listing for him briefly appearing on the ORNL website earlier this month before access to the page was curiously blocked from public access.

Although he has expressed his doubts about Earth being visited by non-human intelligences, when asked the question “are aliens real?” Kirkpatrick responded that “that is a great question. I love that question,” and went on to say that he hopes that non-human intelligences are behind UAP, because the alternative is a far less tenable prospect.

“Number one, the best thing that could come out of this job is to prove that there are aliens, right?” Kirkpatrick said. “Because if we don’t prove there are aliens, then what we’re finding is evidence of other people doing stuff in our backyard. And that’s not good.”

[NB: an earlier version of this article written when Dr. Kirkpatrick’s departure from AARO was just rumored was accidentally posted; it has been replaced with an updated article reflecting the situation following the announcement. We regret any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused. ~Matt]


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    1. Intriguing. I wonder if we’ll get news of this from a more reliable source than the Daily Mail?

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