Ask a Pol
Listening to lawmakers with Laslo, UAPs
EXCLUSIVE — Bipartisan calls for UFO transparency growing louder in Congress
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EXCLUSIVE — Bipartisan calls for UFO transparency growing louder in Congress

Ep. 170 — Reps. Mike Waltz, Andy Biggs and Robert Garcia (1-12-2024)
Transcript

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US Capitol Dome, as seen from top of stairwell winding down into the SCIF. Photo: Matt Laslo

One thing’s clear after Friday’s classified UFO briefing in one of the US Capitol’s SCIFs: Lawmakers in both parties — who are increasingly frustrated with stonewalling — are united in demanding more answers in both classified briefings and public hearings.

We didn’t see anything definitive on the existence of extraterrestrials, but definitely some concerns on whether things are being shared across the inter-agencies that should be,” Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) exclusively told Ask a Pol after leaving the SCIF briefing.

Waltz sits on both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, which have oversight over the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office — or AARO — Congress set up to track UAPs (or UFOs).

UFO whistleblower David Grusch warned the Inspector General and members of Congress that there are Special Access Programs — or SAPs — hidden from Congress. Waltz fears those programs may also be hidden from AARO officials.

“Well, I want to understand if the taskforce that Congress has mandated truly has access. I mean that’s what I think from the process standpoint, we need to verify,” Waltz said. “I mean, that was one of the key aspects of his complaint, right? Was that there were compartments that exist.”

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Members of both parties left Friday’s SCIF briefing demanding more answers — both publicly and in classified settings.

“I think there's additional hearings that should be had in public. I think there's additional classified briefings that we should have,” Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) exclusively told Ask a Pol while heading to vote on the US House floor Friday. “But I think the most important thing is to take this seriously, and to not turn it into a joke and to not dismiss it as fringe.”

While some powerful leaders on Capitol Hill laugh off the ongoing UAP investigation, rank-and-file lawmakers have taken the lead.

“The truth is, we don't know what UAPs are. It is a national security concern, and we should address it as such,” Garcia added.

While many lawmakers reported progress in Friday’s Inspector General briefing in the SCIF, attendees say they still have unanswered questions and they’re vowing not to let up anytime soon.

“Moderately interesting,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told Ask a Pol after the classified briefing. “Like every good meeting, I'm left with even more questions than before.”

Those sentiments are being echoed by members of the Congressional UAP Caucus, especially it’s leaders, like co-chair Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, who are frustrated by the foot dragging but who report trusting Grusch more and more after each classified briefing.

“We are going to continue to move forward, track down and do what we need to do,” Luna (R-FL) told Ask a Pol last week. “But if I'm at the point where I know that our witness is good, I'm going to then work with him directly, because I feel like that's the best way, not only to get information out to the American people but also to to ensure that we're not chasing ghosts.”

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LISTEN: Laslo & Waltz

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Skylight above SCIF in US Capitol Visitor Center. Photo: Matt Laslo

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LISTEN: Laslo & Garcia

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Press huddled outside SCIF Friday, January 12, 2024. Photo: Matt Laslo

LISTEN: Laslo & Biggs

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Rep. Robert Garcia speaks to reporters outside the SCIF Friday, January 12, 2024. Photo: Matt Laslo

Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, new media prof. & founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps.

Ask a Pol — asking your lawmakers your questions at your US Capitol. Follow us: @Ask_a_Pol (or @askpols on Insta).

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Below find rough transcripts of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Reps. Mike Waltz (R-FL), Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), slightly edited for clarity.

I. TRANSCRIPT: Rep. Mike Waltz

Matt Laslo: “How you doing? How’d it go in there?”

Mike Waltz: “What’s that?”

ML: “How’d it go in there — in the SCIF?”

MW: “Ahh, it was interesting.”

ML: “Was it — like Moskowitz told us it was illuminating.”

MW: “What’s that?”

ML: “Moskowitz told us it was illuminating — that some questions were finally answered?”

MW: “Ehh— it was very process oriented. There wasn’t, you know…”

ML: “Yeah? Cause you guys have had questions on…”

MW: “We didn’t see anything definitive on the existence of extraterrestrials, but definitely some concerns on whether things are being shared across the interagencies that should be.”

ML: “Yeah. Where do you guys press from here? Where do you want to go next?”

MW: “Well, I want to understand if the taskforce that Congress has mandated truly has access. I mean that’s what I think from the process standpoint, we need to verify. I mean, that was one of the key aspects of his complaint, right? Was that there were compartments that exist.”

ML: “Yeah.”

MW: “So I think that’s something to follow up on. But then, does that taskforce have the full authority that it needs [inaudible].”

ML: “Do you know much about Kirkpatrick’s replacement at AARO?”

MW: “I don’t.”

ML: “Me neither.”

MW: “I don’t.”

Laslo has no idea who he’s interviewing, so dusts off old NPR trick.

ML: “Can you remind me your district?”

MW: “6th.”

ML: “Preciate ya.”

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II. TRANSCRIPT: Rep. Robert Garcia

SCENE: Garcia stops and addresses reporters outside of SCIF, then him and his mini-entourage of aides start heading up the stairs.

Matt Laslo: “How you doing?”

Laslo gives them space, until…

ML: “Where do you guys go from here on UAPs?”

Robert Garcia: “I mean, I think that we have more, we have more questions. I think there's additional hearings that should be had in public. I think there's additional classified briefings that we should have. But I think the most important thing is to take this seriously, and to not turn it into a joke and to not dismiss it as fringe. The truth is, we don't know what UAPs are. It is a national security concern, and we should address it as such.”

ML: “Who would you like to testify in that hearing? Government officials — FAA folks?”

RG: “I think we’d want to hear from — I think there's a lot of people in DOD that would like to hear from.”

ML: “What about the IGs?”

RG: “And all these folks. All the inspector generals.”

ML: “Yup. Preciate ya’ll!”

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III. TRANSCRIPT: Rep. Andy Biggs

Matt Laslo: “How’d it go in there?”

Andy Biggs: “Moderately interesting.”

ML: “Yeah? That progress?”

AB: “In my mind there was some progress, yes.”

ML: “Do you feel like you got clarity on some of the things that Grusch testified on?”

AB: “I can't. talk about anything else. I won't talk about anything in specifics.”

ML: “Wise. I don’t want you in jail!”

Laslo laughs.

AB: “Yeah. I just thought it was interesting. A modest improvement. There was progress, and there's more work to do.”

ML: “Do you — does this bolster the case for more public hearings?”

AB: “Umm.”

ML: “Or are your questions answered?”

We arrive at an elevator bank in the Capitol.

ML: “House floor? Or?”

AB: “House floor, yeah.”

ML: “But were your questions answered?”

AB: “Uh, like every good meeting, I'm left with even more questions than before.”

ML: “So it's not going away, even if the intelligence community might want it to?”

Greetings exchanged with congressman and some people we pass.

ML: “Did you get any clarity on where the clogs are?”

AB: “Can’t talk about this.”

ML: “Fair.”

AB: “Can’t talk about that. Sorry.”

ML: “Preciate ya, sir.”

AB: “Have a good weekend.”

ML: “You too.”

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Ask a Pol
Listening to lawmakers with Laslo, UAPs
I cover Congress different. I listen. Learning daily. Even while throwing stones at all the glass houses. This will be a stream of my noteworthy interviews. They're conducted at the US Capitol, if not otherwise noted. Matt Laslo is a veteran congressional reporter, Johns Hopkins University lecturer, fmr. Vice News Tonight/HBO correspondent, etc.