Members of Congress demand Biden address nation over UFO incursions as rumors swirl
Less than a week after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon, fighter jets shot down three other unidentified "objects" in the space of three days -- the first over Alaska on Friday, the second over Canada on Saturday, and the third over Lake Huron on Sunday.
Now a growing number of elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, are demanding that President Joe Biden directly address the nation about these incidents and to both answer questions and calm fears, The Hill reported.
When that might occur is unclear, as the White House -- which has been decidedly circumspect in providing details about the incursions into sovereign U.S. airspace, even as they claim to be completely "transparent" -- has refused to say when the president might be made available to do so.
White House insists it has been "transparent;" won't say when Biden might speak
During Monday's White House press briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked directly if the public should be hearing directly from President Biden about the "unprecedented" incidents.
"I have -- we have been, I think, as transparent as we can be," Kirby replied. "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."
One particularly pressing question, among many, is in regard to the revelation from Kirby and the Pentagon in recent days that, in the aftermath of the Chinese spy balloon incident, the military's radar systems were enhanced to better detect slow-moving and small objects at high altitudes, which has led some to wonder how many similar "objects" may have been previously missed before the sensitivity of the radars was increased.
"The president owes the American people an explanation"
In a statement issued on Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said, "After allowing a Chinese spy balloon to fly across America when we could’ve downed it off the Aleutian Islands, President Biden has now downed three ‘objects’ despite claiming last week that would’ve posed unacceptable risks to public safety."
"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," he added. Canadian Prime Minister "Justin Trudeau did that, so surely Joe Biden can. No commander-in-chief should hide behind press secretaries and anonymous sources in a time of crisis."
Also weighing in on the topic on Monday was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who said in a tweet, "In its 65 year history @NORADCommand never shot down an aircraft over U.S. airspace. Over the 10 days they have shot down 1 balloon & 3 'objects.' Americans need to hear directly about this from their President today."
The Hill noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also demanded answers from President Biden during a floor speech, particularly in regard to reported radar adjustments last week. The outlet also noted that a number of Democrats have also called for more details and information from the White House, including Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Gary Peters (D-MI), as well as Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-06).
"We need answers from the President himself"
Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08) issued a press release on Monday about the shootdowns of the Chinese spy balloon and three other "unidentified aerial phenomena," or UAPs, the preferred new government term for "unidentified flying objects," or UFOs, the most recent of which "transited over the district I represent in Northeast Wisconsin."
"We need answers from the Pentagon. We need answers from the President himself," the congressman said. "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. Where are these UAPs coming from? What is their purpose? Are they related to the CCP's spy balloon or other CCP-directed espionage programs?"
"The Washington Post reported that these objects were identified after 'we basically opened the filters' on radar and sensory equipment data. If true, we are potentially looking at one of the most staggering intelligence failures since 9/11," he added. "How long have these objects operated in our airspace with impunity? How long has the Pentagon been aware of them? 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. It’s time for answers."
Indeed, the lack of any forthcoming and detailed answers from the White House and Pentagon to those and other questions has allowed for and even encouraged increasingly wild speculation among the American people and the media, including that the unidentified crafts could be extraterrestrial in origin.
That was duly noted by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), who tweeted, "People are scared, upset, & are believing crazy things being said on the internet about the 3 objects shot down by our military. 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."
Biden needs to address concerns and calm fears
All of those members of Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, are correct to insist that President Biden himself deliver an address to the American people to set the record straight and allay their concerns about any potential invasion or further violations of sovereign U.S. airspace.
Whether that actually occurs in the coming days, or if, as Sen. Cotton said, Biden continues to "hide behind press secretaries and anonymous sources," is something that remains to be seen.