Top Intelligence Committee Democrat expresses ‘real concern’ over Biden officials not ‘more willing’ after unknown devices shot down over Alaska and Canada
- Democrat Rep. Jim Himes is part of the ‘Gang of Eight’ legislators with access to important national security issues and other classified matters
- He said he has not yet been informed about two unknown objects shot down recently
- The US announced one in Alaska on Friday, Canada ordered the other on Saturday
The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat expressed “concern” on Sunday about a lack of transparency from the Biden administration about two unknown objects shot down over Alaska and Canada in the past two days.
It comes after US fighter jets shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) told NBC News’ Meet The Press that he has not yet been made aware of the incidents, though he attended the House of Representatives’ secret update on Beijing’s spy balloon crash last week.
Himes also received an additional secret briefing about the balloon as part of the powerful ‘Gang of Eight’.
“You know, since then, of course, there’s been the shooting over Alaska and the shooting over the Yukon. Congress has been out of session and so we have not been directly informed about that,” the congressman added.
Connecticut Representative Jim Himes is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the powerful “Gang of Eight”
“And by the way, I’m really concerned about why the government isn’t more forthcoming with everything it knows.”
However, he admitted that the last two pieces fell “in very remote areas” of Alaska and Canada.
“So I guess there’s just not a lot of information to share yet,” Himes said.
It is not yet clear whether all three incidents are related.
Many unanswered questions remain about the objects brought down over Alaska and Canada, such as who sent them and for what purpose.
Himes warned on Sunday that those unanswered questions could lead to dangerous public speculation.
“I kind of see a pattern when I looked at social media this morning, you know, all of a sudden massive speculation about … Chinese action or Russian action,” the Democratic congressman said.
“In the absence of information, people’s fear leads them into potentially destructive areas. So I hope the administration has a lot more information for all of us very soon about what’s going on.”
The suspected Chinese spy balloon floats towards the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, USA on Feb. 4, 2023. Hines received a housewide classified briefing about the incident, as well as a separate Gang of Eight briefing
But he said the Biden administration has yet to inform lawmakers about the most recent targets shot down over Alaska and Canada, as far as he knows.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that he has ordered the operation of the North American Aerospace Defense Command that brought down another unknown object in the Yukon Wilderness on Saturday
The White House announced that an unknown object was shot down over Alaska on Friday.
A day later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had ordered the NORAD operation that brought down another object in the wilds of the Yukon Territory.
On Sunday morning, a US report appeared to contradict details of Ottawa’s initial findings on the object.
A Defense official was quoted by Fox news describes the object as a “small metal balloon with a tethered charge.”
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said it was “cylindrical” on Saturday and “appears smaller than the one the United States shot down” off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month.
While Republicans particularly praised President Joe Biden’s administration for acting quickly to bring down the object over Alaska, Democrat Himes warned against shifting the U.S. security stance toward uniform shooting of all unknown aerial phenomena.
“If we go there, there will be an accident, you know?” he said.
“At some point, we’re going to shoot down something we don’t want to shoot down, whether it’s civil aviation or whatever.”
China’s spy balloon that upset millions of Americans across the country earlier this month is part of a larger global surveillance plot by Beijing’s authoritarian government, the Pentagon claimed.