Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) exclusively tells Ask a Pol her and a bipartisan group of senators are, quietly, pressuring officials in the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) to make the necessary reforms so whistleblowers start trusting the office—one she says Congress is dependent on for intelligence on UAPs (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, according to NASA, or UFOs).
“These claims are very serious, and I take all of them very seriously. And I want to make sure our service members know they can come forward and disclose all projects they worked on,” Gillibrand tells Ask a Pol. “And it's important that the whistleblower community feels comfortable talking to AARO and having those conversations in SCIFs [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities] so that AARO can do its job thoroughly. Otherwise, they can't. So if the whistleblowers don't come forward, they can't assess their claims, they can't find programs that they're talking about.”
Yesterday, Ask a Pol exclusively reported, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner and Vice-Chair Marco Rubio “recently” met with AARO Director Sean Kirkpatrick and told him Congress is “absolutely very closely monitoring” their work—or lack thereof.
And at the start of this month, once Congress returned from lawmaker’s monthlong August recess, we learned Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) also brought up UAP whistleblower protections in his classified meeting with the AARO director at the end of July.
All those separate meetings with AARO on whistleblowers are not coincidences, according to Gillibrand.
“They have to trust the process that Sen. Rubio and Sen. Rounds and I have set up to do this work, and if they don't trust it we can't get to the bottom of anything because we can't do all the interviews that are needed to figure out what's existing, what's not existing and, frankly, what creation of programs we need in the future to better to monitor our skies, have air dominance, have pilot safety,” Gillibrand says. “Things that really matter.”
Gillibrand and Rounds are two of only six senators who serve on both the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.
“I have to have a chance to talk to the whistleblowers to urge them to help us help them, because we're their best allies and we need them to work with us,” Gillibrand says.
As for why it’s taken so long? Unlike delays in the House of Representatives, Gillibrand says the slow up in the Senate is NOT over some need for Pentagon waivers to discuss classified information.
“No. Just getting the whistleblowers to come in and talk to us,” Gillibrand says. “So it's a matter of scheduling.”
See Ask a Pol’s: EXCLUSIVE — Rep. Nancy Mace: "I put a request in" to get House UFO witnesses in a SCIF
As you can hear at the start of our interview (well, after the puppy parent talk…), Gillibrand also backs up Intel. Chair Warner as she bats away rumors he’s singlehandedly been tying up the Senate’s ongoing UAP investigation.
“I've not heard that,” Gillibrand says. “Yeah. I've definitely not heard that before.”
Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s interview with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, slightly edited for clarity. Please reach out if you hear a discrepancy!
SCENE: I was leaving the Capitol Wednesday via one of the Senate Office Buildings, and I spotted Gillibrand—who I had looked for all week to no avail—sitting in a car. Immediately stopped. Think she saw me, but they had just parked! So, I waited, playing with my phone, as if it’s a secret that I’m a professional stalker…
Matt Laslo: “Oh, is that your puppy!?!”
Ask a Pol firmly believes: Puppies > pols
Kirsten Gillibrand: “This is Maple.”
ML: “Oh, hi Maple!”
KG: “She’s a good girl.”
I reflexively ditch the senator to pet puppers for next :20+ secs.
KG: “She just got her shots.”
ML: “My pups gonna think I’ve been cheatin on him.”
KG: “Or that you made a new friend!”
*My guy’s definitely jealous—even listening to me greet Maple while I’m transcribing this Gillibrand interview! Good boy.
ML: “Did you finally get the flu shot?”
KG: “Flu shot for her? I don’t think so.”
ML: “They were like backed up on flu shots.”
KG: “I just got her her lyme and then her Bora-bora Bora-whatever [Bordetella, which we had to look up], the ones you get every year.”
ML: “You’re perfect, girl.”
Definitely still talking to Miss Maple!
KG: “Good girl.”
ML: “I’m curious, there’s rumors floating around—I asked Warner about it earlier, but…—claims that Warner himself shut down any UAP hearings in the Senate. What do you…?”
Gillibrand’s face instantly says, “WTF?”
ML: “I know!”
KG: “I've not heard that.”
ML: “But he doesn't have that power?”
KG: “Yeah. I've definitely not heard that before.”
ML: “Any update on your…?”