Politico reports that Kirkpatrick, who led the Department of Defense’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) since its inception in 2022, will be succeeded by his deputy, Tim Phillips, until a permanent replacement is found.
Kirkpatrick’s departure comes shortly after he conceded that some of the allegations made by whistleblower David Grusch, who accused the government of hiding evidence of alien encounters and reverse-engineered alien technology, might have some validity.
Kirkpatrick had previously dismissed Grusch’s claims as “insulting” and said they were based on “misinformation and speculation.”
“We’re investigating each and every one of [Grusch’s claims],” the now-resigned AARO director said during the off-camera Halloween meeting with the press. “We’re cross-referencing those. There are some bits of information that are turning out to be things and events that really happened.”
“A lot of it is still under review,” Kirkpatrick continued, “and we’re putting all that together into our historical report.”
Kirkpatrick, who delayed his retirement to take charge of the AARO, the department responsible for investigating and analyzing reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), also co-authored a paper with Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who is known for his controversial views on extraterrestrial life.
The paper, which was leaked to the public, suggested that a mysterious object detected by astronomers in 2017 could have been an “alien mothership.”
Kirkpatrick told Politico that the paper was a draft that was not intended for publication, but that he did not regret working on it. He said he was interested in exploring all possible explanations for UAPs, and that he hoped the AARO would continue to do so in the future.
“The best thing that could come out of this job is to prove that there are aliens,” he told the magazine. “If we don’t prove it’s aliens, then what we’re finding is evidence of other people doing stuff in our backyard, and that’s not good.”