Top House Intelligence Democrat expresses ‘concerns’ White House not ‘more forthcoming’ about balloons
Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that he has “real concerns” about the Biden administration not being “more forthcoming” about the recent shoot-downs of objects flying over American airspace.
The U.S. military earlier this month at the direction of President Biden shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon after it spent days traveling across the U.S. — and two more aerial objects were shot down over North America Friday and Saturday.
“I have real concerns about why the administration is being not more forthcoming with everything that it knows,” Himes told moderator Chuck Todd on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
“But part of the problem here is that both of the second and the third objects were shot down in very remote areas. So, my guess is that there’s just not a lot of information out there yet to share.
Himes said the Gang of Eight, a group of Democratic and Republican House and Senate leadership plus top lawmakers from Intelligence committees in both chambers got a “very extensive briefing” on the first suspected surveillance balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina, which was followed by a full congressional briefing.
“So we’re pretty good on that one. You lose track of these things. Since then, of course, there’s been the shoot-down over Alaska and the shoot-down over the Yukon. Congress has been out of session, and so we have not been directly briefed on that,” Himes said.
The top Intelligence Democrat said he’s troubled about a “pattern” of “all-of-a-sudden massive speculation about alien invasions” and concerns about Chinese or Russian action.
“In the absence of information, people’s anxiety leads them into potentially destructive areas. So I do hope that very soon the administration has a lot more information for all of us on what’s going on,” Himes said.
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