The decade's most triggering comedy
On June 5, journalists Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal — who were responsible for the New York Times report published in 2017 regarding the Pentagon’s then-unacknowledged UFO investigation program — released a story at The Debrief on whistleblower David Grusch.
Grusch, a decorated military veteran and intelligence official, who served in Afghanistan and formerly worked at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has alleged that there are black programs in the U.S. government dedicated to the retrieval and attempted reverse-engineering of vehicles of non-prosaic origin.
Grusch was also the National Reconnaissance Office’s (NRO) representative to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force beginning in 2019.
Kean and Blumenthal spoke with numerous intelligence officials who vouched for Grusch’s credibility and integrity, and who have backed up his claims. Journalist Michael Shellenberger has also spoken with intelligence officials who have made similar allegations to Grusch.
In May 2022, nearly a year after reporting to the Department of Defense Inspector General that certain information relating to UAP (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) was not being provided to Congress, Grusch’s attorney filed a Disclosure of Urgent Concern(s); Complaint of Reprisal to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, under oath, which was later deemed “credible and urgent.”
In response to Grusch’s claims, a Congressional hearing will take place. I recently spoke with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) — one of the members of the Oversight Committee who will head up the hearing — in order to gain insight into how it will be conducted and what he expects to find.
Q: Do you plan to have David Grusch testify at the hearing? And do you plan to have other individuals with whom he’s spoken regarding the allegations he’s made — including the high-level officials who reportedly talked to him — testify?
Burchett: We would like to get him there. It’s premature to say who we will have there. We’ll release that when we get the okay from the committee chair of everybody that we’ve invited who’s been cleared to come speak.
Q: Are there plans to have people like former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon, National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s (NASIC) Jonathan Grey, or retired Army Colonel and current aerospace executive Karl Nell testify?
Burchett: We’re waiting on approval for several people — and then when we get that, we’ll move ahead with firming up a date. We have some ideas, but, you know, we’ve got security concerns and we just want to make sure we have our ducks in a row.
Q: In Michael Shellenberger’s recent piece, he said that a source told him: “We have non-disclosure agreements or secrecy agreements that we’re supposed to take to the grave.” Can Congress provide protections for those individuals? And how much has been done with the previous whistleblower protections from the last National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)?
Burchett: Well, that’s left up to interpretation. They’re gonna have to have a degree of bravery to come forward with anything because of the lack of trust. Frankly, I don’t trust our Justice Department or a lot of the higher-ups in our intelligence agencies because they have been the problem. And now, they’re coming forward saying that we need to find out what’s going on, when in fact, they know what’s going on. They have all the files. Just release the unredacted files and quit with all the nonsense — because that’s all they’re doing now.
They’re smelling billions of dollars in research, and you’ll have every branch of the military and every agency wanting some of those dollars. That’s where we’re headed, I think. They’re smelling dollars, they know they’ve — they’ve covered this thing up, and the public just wants answers, and that’ll be their next move.
But I’m telling you, I’m not going to vote for any more dollars for them. The Pentagon loses over a billion dollars; the Department of Defense is bigger than our Navy. You’ve got more people pushing pencils than are pushing bullets, and that needs to stop.
Q: Do you support Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s amendment that would require that no money be spent on Special Access Programs (SAPs) without being reported to Congress?
Burchett: I haven’t read that, but that seems like something I could support. I’d have to read the details of it though.
Q: AARO (All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office), as it stands right now, doesn’t seem to have, from what I’ve read, the ability to actually investigate things like the allegations made by Grusch and others like him because they don’t have the necessary clearance to access certain projects. So, will clearances like Title 50 clearance be discussed at all in this hearing?
Burchett: I don’t know if we’re gonna get that much into the weeds. I want to talk to people who have seen something and can provide some proof of what’s going on. In fact, if we can disclose some things, some new facts — but just get the people before us that have seen it, who have great credentials, and just stop with all the nonsense. Nobody cares about these reports, these numbers of reports and all that; they just want to get to the proof. And that’s what I’m after. I’m just after the facts.
Q: Speaking of proof, I was talking to a colleague of mine and they were lamenting that the only way the ball is gonna be able to move on anything like this is if Congress “kicks down the doors of military bases” where they’re saying these alleged things are — without notice — so they can actually get the proof.
Burchett: Yeah — and that’s correct, because as soon as we have a hearing and 12 years later, Congress acts, it’ll already be moved, there won’t be anything there. So we have to — I’m not going to disclose everything, but we will be in contact with some folks on the proper procedure for handling that legally.
Q: That was my next question because I was wondering if Congress has the sort of authority and the mechanisms to be able to follow up with the information that’s being provided.
Burchett: They do, but they’re so much on the take for all this stuff. They don’t want to rock the big military industrial complex, the people writing the big checks. I mean, we tell Ukraine we’re gonna give them some of our missiles out of our missile defense system, and then we deplete our system, which we know we have to keep at a certain level of readiness. And low and behold, we’ve got to buy billions more dollars in missiles, and it just so happens congresspeople from both parties are heavily invested in these companies. It’s just corruption, and nobody will call it out.
Q: In the piece from The Debrief, it was said that Grusch “provided Congress and the Intelligence Community Inspector General extensive classified information about deeply covert programs.” Does Congress have classified information relating to alleged covert programs? And if so, will Congress push to make that public?
Burchett: I don’t know. I think that the Intelligence Committee is basically spoon-fed; they don’t really care about this issue. They’ve made statements to me, you know, “Burchett, we’ve got much more important things to worry about.” And you know, we’ve documented 11 or 12 near misses with our multi-million dollar aircraft and our fighting men and women that could lose their lives. To me, something flying in our military air zones that we do not control is something very important. But then again, they’re told not to worry about it by some unelected bureaucrat, and so they don’t worry about it.
Q: Former Senator Harry Reid talked about attempting to get classified approval from the Pentagon to look at certain things and that they wouldn’t allow him to do so. What can Congress effectively change when a small group of powerful people overseeing these alleged black budget projects don’t want their work to be outed?
Burchett: We’ve got to change the system — and you know, talk’s cheap. Everybody puffs themselves up and talks real tough, but the end result is going to have to be: Congress is the government’s checkbook, and we need to stop writing the checks to these departments because they are rouge, they’re unelected bureaucrats, and they are the tail that’s wagging the dog.
Q: There are allegations that black budget programs outsource some of their work on alleged technology to one or more private aerospace firms. What are your thoughts on that? And will that be something that you’re discussing?
Burchett: I believe that’s accurate, and I would hope we would get to the bottom of that — but that stuff’s so deep, it’s hard to get ahold of. Again, that’s under the corruption within government and it’s so compartmentalized. And, you know, you have these chairmen in both parties that are chairmen just because they can raise money, and to raise the amount of money they’ve raised, they have to be there for a long period of time. And sometimes, their cognitive skills have dwindled and they’re spoon-fed by their staff, who, in fact, might as well just work for the other side. So they just — it’s just an endless cycle, and we’ve gotta start calling it out.
Q: I saw you speaking on News Nation about how the previous UFO hearings weren’t all that they could be.
Burchett: They were a hoax, man. They were a hoax. You saw a committee spoon-fed. You saw people who were running this so-called investigative agency that couldn’t spell UFO, that had no idea about any of the basic history of the situation in this country. They read Project Blue Book probably, or saw the TV show from the ’70s, and they quote that as fact — and preplanned questions.
I was told I was going to be able to ask a question; I was not allowed to. And you had some, in my opinion, very weak-ass video. And Schiff was the only one to ask a question that made any — he said, “What exactly am I looking at?” And he asked, “Can you stop the tape?” And there you had a 20-second tape or something, the guys couldn’t even stop the tape. The most technologically advanced country in the world — my daughter could’ve stopped that tape if they’d allowed her access to that computer.
They were just checking a box, so they could say, “Oh, look what we’re doing, but we’re gonna go back in secret and do our thing.” And people like me don’t get on those committees because I don’t kiss their ass and I don’t raise the money.
Q: What’s your hope for how this hearing will play out?
Burchett: I hope we show the American public that we’re serious about this issue — a recent poll showed that over half the people believe in this — and that we’ll get a little closer to getting to the bottom of it. And we’ll expose to the American public that this is a cover-up, that we are not being forthcoming, and that there is a group of us that want to make that happen — and hopefully, we don’t get corrupted.
And our opposition always uses this against us, and they downplay us and put stuff out against us, you know. “Oh, they’re worried about little green men and people are starving.” It’s the committee of jurisdiction where this is supposed to happen. We don’t necessarily deal with some of those other issues.