Just a few days after three unidentified objects were shot down while flying over North America, Republican lawmakers are speaking out about the Biden administration refusing to provide Congress and the public with sufficient information on the matter.
Three more objects shot down within the past three days, and not a peep from the president. He hasn’t even met with Congress! WHAT IS HE AFRAID OF?
Americans are outraged. We deserve answers! #BidenUFOshttps://t.co/6TksznrHYY
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) February 13, 2023
Speaking with the Washington Free Beacon, several GOP lawmakers expressed frustration over the limited information being provided by the Biden administration about what is happening and who is responsible. They argued that the lack of information is making it difficult to perform emergency oversight work and to determine how to deal with the incidents moving forward.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, noted that the Biden administration’s lack of communication has added to fears that the U.S. is ill-equipped to deal with the new national security threat they are facing.
“It’s hard to say whether the administration is trigger happy or prudent because Congress hasn’t received a substantive briefing since the first spy balloon was shot down,” Banks told the outlet. “The Biden DOD has said that these three objects threatened our national security, and if they did it’s unacceptable for Congress to be kept in the dark.”
Panic began to spread across the U.S. recently as airspace over several states had to be shut down in order for the military to destroy the unidentified objects.
While the Biden administration has reportedly confirmed that the balloon that started this whole issue was indeed a surveillance device from China, they have not provided information about the three other objects that were shot down.
The Biden administration was widely criticized for waiting until the surveillance balloon had completed its journey across the U.S. to shoot it down, but they have apparently acted differently on the subsequent objects.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, “The first was detected on Feb. 10 above Alaska and shot down, and then a second object flew near the U.S.-Canada border the next day, triggering a joint operation to destroy it. On Feb. 12, a third object was spotted over Lake Huron and was shot down at the White House’s request.”
Another member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), also spoke with the Washington Free Beacon about the matter — telling the outlet that lawmakers “just don’t know the extent” of what is happening.
“The Biden administration needs to tell us what exactly the policy is as it pertains to shooting down objects in our airspace,” Waltz added.
The Florida congressman went on to question why the surveillance balloon was allowed to complete its flight across the U.S. before being shot down.
“Why would the Biden administration allow a massive Chinese spy balloon to cross the continental U.S. at 60,000 feet yet shoot down smaller objects at 40,000 feet?” Waltz asked. “Joe Biden needs to be directly addressing this issue himself and be truthful with the American people about what we know and don’t know.”
Top lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee have sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, demanding the committee be provided with an immediate briefing on the incidents.
“Given the pertinent homeland equities involved in the Chinese surveillance balloon incident, it is unacceptable that we learned about these incidents through news reports,” the letter read. “As a coequal branch of the government, Congress deserves candid answers as to why these incursions have taken place and understand the steps the Executive Branch is taking to mitigate these threats in the future.”
A memo from the Department of Defense (DOD) about the matter has been circulating within congressional offices, but it reportedly includes little to no information about what the downed objects were.
“We have no further details about the object at this time, including the full scope of its capabilities, its purpose, or its origin,” the document states, referring to each of the three objects that were shot down.
The information given to Congress suggests that the objects may have been surveilling U.S. military installations.
According to the memo, the February 10 operation over Alaska had been conducted after “the Secretary of Defense determined the object was a potential surveillance threat to DOD facilities and assets.”
“Additionally, the object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet, posing a reasonable threat to safety of civilian flight,” the memo adds.
The third object that was shot down on February 12 had a “flight path and altitude [that] raised concerns that it could be a hazard to civil aviation and a threat due to the potential it was carrying surveillance equipment,” the memo continues. “Based on its flight path and data, NORTHCOM/NORAD assessed that the object could reasonably be connected to an earlier the [sic] radar signal picked up over Montana, which flew in proximity to sensitive DOD sites.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon that the Biden administration has “decided that since they don’t have good spin, they’ll provide no information at all to the country and the Congress. Not even close to good enough.”
On Tuesday afternoon, some senators were briefed about the issue. Following that briefing, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) downplayed the Biden administration’s lack of transparency — claiming that they are being “very careful and very thoughtful” about the details they reveal.
He went on to claim that much of the information cannot be made available to the American people because it is classified or “on the edge of classified.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Gallagher argued that the Biden administration’s secrecy is unwarranted.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), whose district was subject to airspace closures as a result of the weekend operations, said the Biden administration’s military secrecy is unwarranted.
“There are times to err on the side of secrecy in national security operations. But when our fighter pilots are shooting down presumably hostile aerial objects all across America, it’s long past time for transparency,” Gallagher, whose district was subject to airspace closures because of the military’s operations, told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement.
The Wisconsin congressman also noted that he was disturbed by reports that the objects had only been detected after the U.S. altered the filters in its radar systems in order to more easily detect slower-moving objects.
“If true, we are potentially looking at one of the most staggering intelligence failures since 9/11,” Gallagher said. “How long have these objects operated in our airspace with impunity? How long has the Pentagon been aware of them?”
Gallagher went on to conclude that Congress “has urgent and vital oversight interests in all these questions, and most importantly, the American people deserve to know what’s going on in the skies above their homes.”
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) also discussed the lack of transparency during a recent appearance on Fox News.