(NewsNation) — A reporter from The Intercept who wrote about a UFO whistleblower’s mental health history says he received various “vague” tips and that the story was not given to him directly or “planted.”
David Grusch, a former Air Force officer and intelligence official, made claims this summer that the U.S. government has secretly been in possession of nonhuman spacecraft — something that quickly got the attention of lawmakers, who held a hearing on UFOs in July.
On Wednesday, news outlet The Intercept wrote a story about how Grusch was able to keep his security clearance after being in a psychiatric facility. The story detailed “suicidal statements” Grusch made, as well as his past struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Investigative journalist Ross Coulthart, who reported on Grusch’s initial claims for NewsNation, told anchor Chris Cuomo that he believed the government was behind the effort to release Grusch’s medical records in an attempt to smear him. Politicians also criticized what they thought was a leak, and any attempts to discredit Grusch.
However, Klippenstein, in his article, said he received the information on Grusch through publicly available law enforcement records that were neither confidential nor medical.
“The UFO whistleblower is accusing me of using confidential medical records leaked to me by the intelligence community,” Klippenstein said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Every part of that is false. I used publicly available police records I obtained under FOIA.”
FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act, a U.S. law providing the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Different states have different guidelines when it comes to making these kinds of requests.
In the story, Klippenstein posts email exchanges he had with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia while making his FOIA request.
On X Spaces Wednesday evening, Klippenstein said “multiple people” he knew in the area told him to look into any run-ins Grusch had with law enforcement from the past.
“Intel people, they’re vague — they’ll be like, ‘Look into his background,'” he said.
As a reporter, Klippenstein said, he can’t just post “innuendo,” so he tried to find an evidence-based way to look into these tips.
“I thought, ‘Oh, OK I guess I can do some local law enforcement searches,” Klippenstein said. “I just looked up his house in Nexis.”
Pushing back on the idea that the story was “planted” to him, Klippenstein said on Spaces that he’s not “super well-connected” with higher-ups, and that the people he knows in the intelligence community are “rank and file.”
No matter how Klippenstein got the information, though, Coulthart said on “CUOMO” Wednesday night that he’s still concerned, and questioned why the records were released and their relevance, as they did not affect Grusch’s security clearance.
“Why stigmatize somebody for a PTSD diagnosis that was fixed? That was no issue at all to the Defense Department. It’s just a pretty lame and quite frankly, dopey effort to try and discredit a good human being,” Coulthart said.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., agreed, saying of the story: “It doesn’t matter.”
“What matters is the fact that this man served his country and is suffering for it. And now, we’re stigmatizing this further,” Burchett said.