Since Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick announced he was stepping down as director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) at the end of last year, Ask a Pol has yet to talk to a single member of Congress who’s met with Acting Director Tim Phillips.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) is the latest member to report to Ask a Pol they
“I've not met him yet — not the new head,” Warner exclusively told Ask a Pol Thursday.
Earlier this week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — a member of both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee — told Ask a Pol she wasn’t aware there was an acting director, because when she inquired, AARO "staff didn't know who it was."
That may change soon.
Intel Chair Warner alerted Ask a Pol, AARO’s next UAP report is in the final stages of being declassified and should be released publicly shortly.
“I think you’re going to see the report coming,” Warner told Ask a Pol. “It’s going through the last part of declassification. I think it should be very shortly.”
Ask a Pol waited some two hours for Sen. Gillibrand on Thursday morning after witnessing her press secretary enter the Senator’s only dining room in the US Capitol (we’re curious if they escaped out of a back way, but we caught her on the second floor in the afternoon).
That’s where we witnessed what seemed to be a classified parade.
While waiting in-between the Senate dining room and the entrance to the Capitol Thursday, we noticed a large presence of military officials holding sealed folders that usually contain classified material.
We have no idea where they were headed or what was in their folders, but it caught our eye.
Most congressional committees are housed in the Senate Office Buildings, though the Senate Intelligence Committee meets in the SCIF underneath the Capitol.
These military officials were walking in the opposite direction of it and the Foreign Relations Committee. Other than those, the Senate Appropriations Committee meets in the Senate, and they seemed to be heading in that general direction.
There were at least two other larger entourages of military officials walking through the Capitol Thursday with these protective classified folders, but we were 30 or 40 feet away from them and weren’t able to document them.
LISTEN: Laslo & Warner
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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), slightly edited for clarity.
TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Mark Warner
Matt Laslo: “How are you?”
Mark Warner: “Good.”
ML: “Do you know the new head of AARO?”
ML: “Do you know the new head of AARO?”
MW: “New head of?”
ML: “AARO — he took over for Kirkpatrick.”
MW: “I've not met him yet — not the new head.”
ML: “No? Will he come before your committee closed-door? Because don’t they owe you a report?”
CNN Reporter: “Senator, can I ask you about FISA really fast?”
Ask a Pol will not forget this rude interruption while we were having a one-on-one. Etiquette matters. Or it did before cable came to town…
MW: “Just one moment. Let me see this. One second.”
Warner pops his head in the Mansfield Room just off the Senate floor where Senate Democrats are meeting in a bit, but the rooms currently empty so Warner heads back towards the Senate chamber.
ML: “Because don’t they owe you a report — don’t they owe Congress a report?”
MW: “Yeah. I think you’re going to see the report coming. Like in the — it’s going through the last part of declassification. I think it should be very shortly.”
ML: “Oh nice. Sweet. Preciate it.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) walks into the corridor and is immediately swamped by the congressional press — and infotainment — corps, which was eagerly awaiting any update on (the now seemingly derailed) Senate immigration negotiations.
ML: “Oh, someone more popular than you came out!”
MW: “Oh, she missed!”
We think it’s a reference to the CNN reporter who ditched him for Murkowski.
ML: “Have a good one sir.”
I see the CNN producer after the Murkowski scrum.
ML: “He’s still over by those elevators if you need him.”
There weren’t many senators around Thursday afternoon, so I helped another reporter find Warner after they gave us space to chat one-on-one.
ML: “Hey, if you need Warner, he went that way.”