Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday criticized the classified briefings administration officials provided lawmakers about the flying objects recently shot down in and around U.S. airspace, saying they provided no “useful information.”
“It’s perplexing,” McConnell told Fox News’s Dana Perino. “We’ve been in these briefings, as you suggest, but they don’t seem to know anything.”
“I’ve never been in briefings where I learned so little,” he added. “If the president knows a lot more, time for him to tell us all about it, including the American people.”
The White House later announced President Biden would deliver remarks Thursday afternoon on the U.S.’s response to the recent aerial objects.
Three flying objects were shot down over the weekend after crossing into U.S. airspace, just one week after a Chinese spy balloon was downed off the coast of South Carolina. The Chinese balloon spent a week traversing the U.S. before being shot down, with the Pentagon citing safety concerns for those on the ground.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday there is no indication the three recent flying objects were part of China’s spy program, adding that a “leading explanation” is they were tied to a benign or commercial entity.
Senate Democrats have also expressed frustration with the Biden administration’s response in recent days, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) set to lead an investigation into the delay in detecting the recent Chinese spy balloon, as well as three balloons that crossed into U.S. airspace under former President Trump.
“We still have questions about why they didn’t discover these balloons sooner, these objects sooner,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday. “Sen. Tester is going to lead our caucus in investigating this. It’s a good question. We need to answer it.”
McConnell expressed a similar sentiment on Thursday, asking what the administration’s “game plan” is for protecting the nation’s skies.
“You get the impression they were quite surprised by all of this,” he said. “That would suggest that maybe we need a new plan to protect our own airspace.”