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EXCLUSIVE — Burchett on AARO chief's departure: “Obviously, he's going to greener pastures"

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EXCLUSIVE — Burchett on AARO chief's departure: “Obviously, he's going to greener pastures"

Ep. 80 — Rep. Tim Burchett (11-9-2023)

With another federal government shutdown looming, internal Republican Party politics are once again overshadowing most everything else on Capitol Hill. And, once again, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) is at the center of the budgetary storm.

Burchett hasn’t been able to look into current Tim Phillips who is slated to replace Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick as head of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) next month, but he’s not going to miss Kirkpatrick.

“Obviously, he's going to greener pastures,” Burchett, his eyes rolling, tells Ask a Pol.

After joining seven of his Republican colleagues in ousting former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month, Burchett and co. are now staring down a Friday, November 17th deadline to fund the government or its lights flip off. So he’s been tied up, even as he says he’s got a lot of questions on Phillips.

“I haven’t quite been able to break all that down. I'm a little confused over which one [he] is and what his track record is.,” Burchett tells us. “And I'm gonna find out, because that's a great concern to me.”

Phillips was only named deputy director of AARO this Wednesday, Nov. 8th, according to a release from the Department of Defense. He comes to AARO “on assignment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”

Screengrab of (11-10-2023) by Matt Laslo

Since 2006 Phillips has been “a member of the Senior National Intelligence Service,” the Pentagon release continues.

As for what Burchett and UAP Caucus members expect to hear in this coming week’s scheduled classified SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) briefing on UFO whistleblower David Grusch?

Burchett says the inspector general may allow lawmakers to read Grusch’s classified testimony, though, like other caucus members, he’s not sure.

“I don't know. I'm not sure yet,” Burchett tells us. “Could be. Could be. I’ll have to check with my staff. I got so much other stuff going on.”

PSA: Most fully rounded piece we’ve seen on upheaval at AARO is this from The DeBrief. Send us good reads!!!

Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, new media prof. & founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps, asking your lawmakers your questions at your US Capitol. @Ask_a_Pol (or @askpols). 

Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Rep. Tim Burchett, slightly edited for clarity.  

SCENE: With a(nother) government shutdown looming, Burchett’s one of hottest tickets in town for cable outlets now peddling pop politics from the formerly boring AF confines of your US Capitol. So I dart out from the pack that is the press corps to meet Burchett, ending a conversation he seemed to be enjoying with a colleague (sorry!). 

Matt Laslo: “Hey, do you know anything about the guy taking over at AARO for Kirkpatrick?”  

Tim Burchett: “Yeah. I haven’t quite been able to break all that down. I'm a little confused over which one it is and what his track record is.” 

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