Lawmakers from both parties have expressed frustration about a lack of information regarding a string of objects shot down over U.S. and Canadian airspace over the past week and want President Joe Biden to publicly address them.
Since a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4 after traveling across the nation, U.S. F-22 fighter jets shot down an object over Alaska on Friday, in Canadian airspace on Saturday and over Lake Huron on Sunday.
“The president owes the American people an explanation, direct and on camera, of what we know about these ‘objects’ and what steps he’s taking to protect America’s sovereign airspace,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a news release Monday. “… No commander-in-chief should hide behind press secretaries and anonymous sources in a time of crisis.”
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who heads the Senate Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations, initially criticized the Biden administration for not shooting down the Chinese balloon over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. The balloon traveled over Montana, where Malmstrom Air Force Base, a command and control center for Minutemen III intercontinental ballistic missiles, is located before heading on a southeast course across the U.S..
Montana airspace was briefly closed Saturday night after an object was spotted. It was believed to be the same object that was shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday.
“The bottom line is, we need to take these incursions on our airspace seriously,” Tester tweeted Sunday. “And as Defense Chairman, I’m going to hold the President and military accountable to make sure of that.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., tweeted Sunday the increasing incidents of unidentified objects are troubling.
”We need the facts about where they are originating from, what their purpose is, and why their frequency is increasing,” she tweeted. “Our national security is of the utmost importance & we must work in a bipartisan way with the administration & relevant partners for answers and the appropriate reaction.”
After a White House press briefing Monday, it appears Biden will not be making any public statements regarding the incursions anytime soon.
“We have been, I think, as transparent as we can be,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said. “I won’t speak for the president’s personal speaking schedule. But, I mean, he has been deeply engaged in every one of these decisions. He has been kept informed, including as of this morning, on what’s going on with recovery efforts. And he’s very much staying on top of the issue and directing his team to make sure we are properly consulting and briefing not just members of Congress, but state leaders, as well.”
But U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, R-Ga., isn’t convinced.
“People are scared, upset, & are believing crazy things being said on the internet about the 3 objects shot down by our military,” she tweeted Monday. “There are not aliens & no evidence of them. But there is a lack of transparency from the Biden admin and simple explanations are owed to the people.”
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