The decade's most triggering comedy
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told The Daily Wire on Thursday that he’s already spoken with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to gauge support for his endeavor to get Congress more access to secret UAP information.
“He seems very receptive,” Burchett said in an interview. When asked if he thinks Johnson might be open to a select committee, he replied, “I do — because he’s not beholden to the defense contractors.” When pressed on whether he would ask for a select committee, Burchett noted that he has already done so informally, but would need to make the request officially.
Another lawmaker, Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO), told The Daily Wire he also wants to press Johnson for a select committee and he would like to see Burchett as chairman of the panel.
“Give him the authority, let him chase this rabbit,” Burlison said of Burchett. “And I think that, at the end of the day, there’s a lot of money being spent, a lot of tax dollars being spent, and the American people and members of Congress know what is going on.”
Burlison explained that a select committee would give members a “need-to-know” authority on UAP. “Because right now, a lot of the intelligence is only available to individuals who are on committees that ‘need to know.’ And those committees are not focused on this topic at all. And so, if we create a committee that has a purpose for this, it’s hard to deny us that we should not have access to the information,” he added.
A request for a select committee would be the second one this year.
Burchett joined with a bipartisan group of fellow House members in late July, formally requesting a select UAP committee right after the bombshell testimony of retired Air Force Maj. David Grusch, a former U.S. intelligence and military official who claims the government is covering up a UFO retrieval program and wrongfully keeping Congress in the dark. Grusch left members wanting to know more as he cautioned there was only so much that could be said outside of a classified setting.
The letter from Burchett and his colleagues, which specifically asked that their proposed select committee be given subpoena power, was addressed to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who served as speaker at the time. Burchett told The Daily Wire in September that the request had been denied. Since that time, the House voted to remove McCarthy as speaker. Johnson was picked as the new speaker on Wednesday.
Before The Daily Wire spoke to them on Thursday, Burchett and Burlison, as well as other members of the House Oversight Committee, attended a classified briefing on Capitol Hill with representatives of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DOD OIG) — one of two government watchdogs Grusch had approached with classified information and claims of retaliation related to his disclosures.
Some lawmakers walked away from the SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) lamenting how they learned nothing new. Reps. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and Anna Paulin Luna (R-FL) told reporters they were told that they lacked the proper clearance to get certain information. This “defeats the purpose” of government oversight, Luna said.
“Nothing unexpected, and nothing new to report,” Burchett told The Daily Wire. “I mean, these guys, their offices are so compartmentalized. It’s like looking down the barrel of a .22 rifle — and they’re not lying, but they are so compartmentalized.”
In a statement posted to X by NewsNation’s Joe Khalil, the DOD OIG said, “The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General is not responsible for determining the classification of the information in our oversight work, nor do we determine the level of security clearances for congressional leaders,” adding, “The DoD OIG is committed to being as transparent and communicative as possible with our congressional leaders, and welcome and further opportunity to discuss our body of work.”
Because the briefing was classified, members were restricted in what they could divulge.
Burlison told The Daily Wire that the briefing did not alter his “perspective” on the UAP issue, but did emphasize that he thinks “we need to get more information” on the topic.
Asked if “some degree of answers were provided based on what was alleged,” Burlison replied, “Some degree — but, and it’s really frustrating because I can’t say what was said, but I’ll just say, my viewpoint about the UAP phenomenon has not changed. My worldview of what we’re seeing, what we’re experiencing, is that it’s likely U.S. experimental, whether it’s from the private sector or being done through a black operation within the Department of Defense or Energy.”
He also commented: “I’ll just say this: UFOs are not keeping me up at night. They weren’t before, and after this meeting, they weren’t. They aren’t now. I told a constituent that what keeps me up at night is the national debt, the war in Ukraine, and the war in Israel, and the potential for World War III. And so there’s nothing that shattered my worldview today.”
The other inspector general with whom Grusch had engaged as a whistleblower was Intelligence Community Inspector General Thomas Monheim. The Debrief reported in June that Monheim found Grusch’s claims to be “credible and urgent” in July 2022 and a whistleblower reprisal investigation was opened. The report also noted that Grusch got in contact with staffers for the congressional intelligence committees, but Grusch reportedly indicated that he was limited in what he could share because staffers lacked the proper clearances and authority.
In a recent letter to the UAP Caucus, Monheim said his office “has not conducted any audit, inspection, evaluation, or review of alleged UAP programs within the responsibility and authority of the DNI [Director of National Intelligence] that would enable this office to provide a fulsome response to your questions.” Monheim is now expected to meet with members of Congress for a UAP-focused classified briefing in mid-November.
At least one House lawmaker isn’t getting his hopes up just yet.
“I don’t expect anything from this,” Burchett told The Daily Wire. “Until we get some private government contractor who’s ticked off about something, that’s dealing with some of this stuff, [who] comes forward. A lot of it’s farmed out to them because it’s un-FOIA-able. We’re never going to get anywhere — just going to be our word against theirs. And people in Congress don’t have the guts to take them on because the defense contractors grease this place incredibly well.”