McConnell demands answers on unidentified objects shot down: ‘What in the world is going on?’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday demanded answers from President Biden about the spate of unidentified objects the U.S. military shot down in recent days after a Chinese spy balloon traveled across the country earlier this month.

After laying out the objects that were shot down over Alaska, Canada and Michigan on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, McConnell issued a series of questions aimed at administration officials. 

“What in the world is going on? Has the Biden administration just dialed the sensitivity of our radars all the way up? If so, what are the objects that we are just now noticing for the very first time?” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “Are they benign science projects and wayward weather balloons, or something more nefarious that we’ve somehow been missing all this time?”

“President Biden owes the American people some answers,” McConnell continued. “What are we shooting down? Where do they come from? Whether they are hostile or not, is there coherent guidance about when to shoot them down? … How did we get into a position where the greatest nation in the world doesn’t know what is traversing our own airspace?”

Administration officials indicated on Monday that they did not know exactly what the objects were. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters the U.S. had yet to recover any debris from the three objects. 

For members of the upper chamber, some answers could be forthcoming. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that there will be a classified briefing for senators on Tuesday morning on the trio of unidentified objects. 

McConnell’s remarks also came after a week of questions surrounding the Chinese balloon that made its way across the country before being shot down in the Atlantic Ocean. Senators received an all-members briefing on the surveillance balloon late last week, but it did little to settle frustrations and questions.

Tags Chuck Schumer Joe Biden Mitch McConnell

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