Top Biden administration officials briefed senators on both sides of the aisle Tuesday about the three unidentified flying objects shot down over North America in the last ten days.
Democrat and Republican senators listened to officials from the Department of Defense (DOD), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) surrounding national security concerns after U.S. officials shot down three objects over Alaska, Michigan, and Canada.
Lawmakers, however, reportedly left the briefing with more questions than answers, claiming the public should hear much of what officials disclosed in the classified briefing.
“95% of what was discussed in that room today can be made public without compromising security in this country,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Fox News.
Rubio, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the public should know such details immediately.
“We have to know what we’re talking about,” Rubio said. “But I do think that when you shoot things down over the airspace of this country for the first time in the 65-year history of NORAD — you owe the American people more than some hurriedly called press conference in the middle of the Super Bowl.”
Rubio and other senators spoke to reporters following the briefing, disclosing limited information, which alludes to questions surrounding the nature and origins of the objects, while denouncing any kinetic threat to American citizens. However, U.S. officials took down the objects since they entered civil aviation space without registering with Federal Aviation Administration.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) reportedly said he left the briefing with more questions than answers, adding that key takeaways included such mysterious objects in U.S. airspace have been “flying over us for years” and that the U.S. government has known about the activity.
“These objects have been flying over us for years, many years,” Kennedy said. “We’ve known about those objects for many years. We’re not sure that we’ve known about all of them, but we’ve known about many of them. Except for the Chinese spy balloon, we don’t know what they are. What’s different about the last two weeks is that we’ve started shooting them down. But we can’t find the remnants. Except for the spy balloon.”
Kennedy further said that officials cannot find the debris from those objects recently shot down, noting the remnants landed in areas with “difficult terrain, low temperature, lots of inclement weather.”
“They’re looking, but they haven’t been able to find them,” he said.
Rubio added that military personnel have reported “hundreds and hundreds of cases.” He also doesn’t think those objects pose a threat to the country unless they collide with an airplane.
“I don’t think there’s any indication that the objects were here to launch weapons against us,” Rubio said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reportedly said the American people “deserve and need to know more” after understanding the situation better himself.
“I am not in any way afraid that we are under a threat of attack or physical harm to our homeland. That’s my personal feeling. But the American people need to be reassured with more facts,” Blumenthal said, according to NPR.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said, following the classified briefing, that “a lot of people don’t understand the altitude challenges for going after a certain target.”
“There’s a lot of complexity in it, but I think they’ve done a good job of getting our situational awareness to where it is today,” Tillis said.
Tillis told reporters that the Biden administration has yet to designate what category the objects should fall under, but emphasized they are “not from outer space.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said although he appreciates military officials and the intelligence community briefing members of Congress, President Biden “owes” the American people an explanation.
“President Biden should speak on camera directly to the American people today,” he said.