Ask a Pol
Listening to lawmakers with Laslo, UAPs
EXCLUSIVE — Sen. Heinrich on UFOs: "instead of just being a cultural issue, it's beginning to be a data issue"
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EXCLUSIVE — Sen. Heinrich on UFOs: "instead of just being a cultural issue, it's beginning to be a data issue"

Ep. 159 — Sen. Martin Heinrich (1-11-2024)
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Transcript

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US Capitol Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. Photo: Matt Laslo

Earlier today Ask a Pol broke news to Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) about the House UAP Caucus.

“They have a caucus?” Heinrich asked before we joined him for a quick ride on the tram running underneath the US Capitol.

Heinrich’s the third most senior Democrat on the US Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Heinrich'’s also an original sponsor of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s UAP amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which became the bulk of our brief interview and another subject we broke news to him on.

“That’s very interesting,” Heinrich replies upon hearing our reporting that the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), repeatedly told us he hadn’t discussed UAPs with House Intel. Chair Mike Turner throughout the fall.

As much disappointment as there’s been with newly-retired AARO (All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office) Director Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, Heinrich says he senses change is afoot in Washington.

“I do credit him for, like, creating a situation where instead of just being a cultural issue, it's beginning to be a data issue,” Heinrich told us. “That's what we should all have as a goal, irrespective of whether any of these things are actually unexplainable or not. The more you chase the data, more of them will be explainable.”

SORRY FOR ALL THE TYPOS! This is #3 of 6 stories I hope to pump out tonight — and I’m waaaaay behind on all the others but wanted to get it out ASAP before I huddle outside the SCIF early tomorrow am. Get some! Sleep when I die…

LISTEN: Laslo & Sen. Heinrich

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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), slightly edited for clarity.

TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Heinrich (1-11-2024)

Sen. Heinrich is alone, waiting for the tram underneath the Capitol

Matt Laslo: “You look lonely, sir. Happy new year!”

Martin Heinrich: “How are you?”

ML: “Tomorrow the House UAP Caucus is…”

MH: “They have a caucus?”

ML: “Yeah, they're going to the SCIF. They don't know if they're gonna get David Grusch’s initial IG report. They're hoping to, because they haven’t gotten briefed yet.

MH: “Interesting.”

ML: “Yeah, none of them are really on Intel or Armed Services.”

MH: “Interesting.”

ML: “Only Nancy Mace is on HASC. But they’ll at least get a second briefing from the IG. What do you make of that? It feels like it’s kinda dead over here? Am I wrong there? Or, maybe like, a lot of your guys questions were answered?”

MH: “I think what's not dead is the bipartisan effort to just create more transparency, and even though some of that language fell out of the NDAA it's got enough bipartisan legs that I think it's the direction we're heading.”

ML: “Yeah. Do you know how that got cut out? I mean, that’s Schumer's bill.”

MH: “Ummm. Yeah, my assumption would be, if you're two and two on trying to reconcile the two bills, and then that's a no. So you can make an assumption…”

ML: “Intel told me that they weren't even, like Jim Himes was like, ‘No, we haven't even discussed it.’ He said he never talked with Turner about it, and then they kind of came up out of nowhere.”

MH: “That’s very interesting.”

ML: “I know. Right?”

MH: “Yeah. I mean, the thing to do would be to ask the Four Corners…”

Four Corners = Senate majority leader, minority leader, House speaker and House minority leader.

ML: “I know. I’m working on it…”

MH: “…because, obviously, two of them were against.”

ML: “I know. Well, Johnson doesn't really count.”

MH: “Right.”

ML: “He's so new to the job, which kind of does empower people with their pet stuff over there. And then, with Schumer, because the House larded it up with so much social policy, I'm curious if that kind of took away some bargaining chips…”

MH: “Yeah. I don’t know.”

ML: “…because he said, ‘No abortion’ and ‘no’ to this…”

MH: “He had to say ‘no’ to so much stuff…”

ML: “…right out of the gates.”

MH: “Yeah.”

ML: “But we do kind of expect to see a redux to that? In the NDAA?”

MH: “Yeah. I think that, as a whole, we've gone a long way towards following data, instead of having a culture of just telling people to, like, if you see something that you don't understand just don’t talk about it. That's already paying dividends in terms of, you know, some of this stuff is weather balloons. Some of this stuff is ariel (ASK A POL: Did we hear this correctly?) vehicles from other national interest, right? Some of it is UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Like, there are a bunch of explanations — not all of which are UFOs — that, if you follow the data, you'll find your way to for the majority of these incidents. And then there are some that still have us kind of scratching our heads and being like, ‘What the — what was that?”

ML: “Do you know the person replacing [Sean] Kirkpatrick?”

MH: “What’s that?”

ML: “Do you know the person replacing Kirkpatrick at AARO?”

MH: “No, not yet.”

ML: “I don't think anyone does. I surely don’t.”

MH: “But he — I do credit him for, like, creating a situation where instead of just being a cultural issue, it's beginning to be a data issue and that's what we should all have as a goal, irrespective of whether any of these things are actually unexplainable or not. The more you chase the data, more of them will be explainable.”

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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.