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The truth is out there: UFO fever grips Congress

The most embarrassing aspect is: what’s going on? Where do they come from ? Who is behind them? », sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asked Monday. “We get weather balloons, we understand weather balloons. But if they aren’t weather balloons, what are? Who sends them? That bothers me.

As the 118th Congress gets off to a slow start, Capitol Hill swirls with intrigue over the military’s downing of four objects that have hovered over US and Canadian airspace in recent days. In the absence of complete information, Senate Republicans on Monday criticized the Biden administration for what they called a lack of transparency about where the items came from and what they are. Even some Democrats have indicated the Biden administration could do more to quell concerns.

Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Monday night that he was “not yet satisfied” with the administration’s response but will wait for Tuesday’s briefing before making a final judgment. Meanwhile, Senator. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said it was possible for Biden officials to be more transparent without compromising national security.

The full Senate briefing scheduled for Tuesday on the unidentified objects comes days after another classified briefing on the Chinese spy balloon. And that’s in addition to another previously classified briefing scheduled for Wednesday that will broadly touch on China.

None of the three objects shot down over the weekend have been found. Murkowski said the brutally cold conditions in Alaska hampered the search, while Peters said the lake was deep enough to make the search extremely complex. The Biden administration already ruled out aliens on Monday, but that didn’t slow the pace of questions from lawmakers.

Summing up what’s on almost everyone’s mind, Peters remarked, “Why do we have these items now? Is it because we are simply not looking for them? Or something else?”

Senate Republicans, who previously lambasted the Biden administration for waiting too long to respond to China’s spy balloon, approach Tuesday’s briefing with low expectations. But they argued that any information, at this stage, would be helpful in keeping the imagination from running wild.

‘It’s just crazy what’s happened in the last few days,’ observed Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D.). “I don’t know if they don’t know what’s going on. And maybe either way, whether they do or not, at least tell us what they know — and try to reassure people about the things they’ve ruled out.

In the past four days, the U.S. military has shot down three unidentified objects: the first Friday near Deadhorse, Alaska, the second over Yukon, Canada, on Saturday, and the last Sunday over Lake Huron , Michigan. drops a Chinese spy balloon off South Carolina.

“I don’t think anyone really understands,” Sen said. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). “We all knew what the first one was… [The Biden administration] got so hot after the first one that they weren’t going to make the same mistake,” he added, and he let the items fly untouched.

While it’s unclear if the unidentified objects are all from China, the latest developments will almost certainly prompt the United States to get tougher on Beijing. After Thursday’s briefing on the spy balloon, GOP and Democratic lawmakers emerged demanding additional information.

Speakers for Tuesday’s briefing include Melissa G. Dalton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, according to a list obtained by POLITICO.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who held a defense spending subcommittee hearing on China’s spy balloon on Thursday, called the latest unidentified objects “worrying.” But he added that his level of concern will depend on “where they are from”. His subcommittee is expected to hold follow-up hearings as the Senate begins its annual spending process.

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters on Monday that improved radar capabilities “could at least partly explain the increase in the number of detected objects.”

In the absence of more information, however, Republicans are having fun with the incidents.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the court Monday that the administration had still “not been able to release any meaningful information about what was shot” and asked, “are these benign science projects or something most nefarious thing that we’ve been missing all this time?” Meanwhile, Senator. John Corny (R-Texas) said the administration is “creating a bigger problem for itself by the lack of transparency.”

Yet despite bipartisan concerns about China’s role in the incursions, some senators suggested on Monday that the response to Biden’s handling of unidentified objects could follow party lines.

“I have come to the conclusion that the administration handled the first one correctly,” the senator said. Angus King (I-Maine.), member of the intelligence committee. “There are people that if Biden went out, woke up in the morning, and walked across the Potomac River, they would say, ‘Biden can’t swim’.”


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