(CBrief) – A report on Sunday noted that two balloon-like objects shot down by U.S. fighter aircraft over Alaska and Canada over the weekend were both carrying what was described as a “payload” and were smaller than the Chinese spy airship shot down a little more than a week ago off the coast of South Carolina.
The first object was downed over Alaska on Friday, according to the report, followed by another shootdown on Saturday in Canadian airspace.
According to Fox News, “details regarding the object that was flying through Canadian airspace were scarce throughout the weekend, but U.S. officials now describe it as a ‘small metallic balloon with a tethered payload,’” a U.S. official said.
According to the Washington Post, the object shot down on Friday was “more cylindrical and described as a type of airship.” In addition, according to CNN, another object was shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday, but details on that incident are scarce.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for more answers from the Biden administration regarding the sudden uptick in these kinds of incidents.
“I have real concerns about why the administration is not being more forthcoming with everything that it knows,” Rep. Jim Hines of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I do hope that very soon, the administration has a lot more information for all of us on what’s going on,” Hines added.
The Biden administration released a statement noting that lawmakers will be apprised of the situation as details become available.
“We will not definitively characterize them until we can recover the debris, which we are working on,” a statement from an unnamed official said, according to the Post. “I would note we have kept Congress continuously briefed and we will continue to.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday that he had gotten a briefing on the situation and was informed that the object downed over Alaskan air space on Friday was also thought to be a balloon, but they were “much smaller” than the Chinese spy airship downed more than a week ago, he told ABC’s “This Week.”
“Both of those, one over Canada, one over Alaska, were at 40,000 feet. Immediately it was determined that that’s a danger to commercial aircraft, which also fly at 40,000 feet. And so the second one, in cooperation with the Canadians, the first one with the Americans, took it down. And that’s appropriate,” he said.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) expressed concerns that American technology was discovered on the Chinese spy balloon.
“It will be one of my number one priorities as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in this Congress, to stop the export of technology to China that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems,” he said.
“In this case, a sophisticated spy balloon that went across three nuclear sites … It did a lot of damage,” he said.
During an appearance on CNN, Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) also called for many more details from the Biden administration.
The White House needs to “stop briefing Congress through our television sets and actually come and sit down and brief us,” he said.
“What we’re seeing here is a number of announcements by the administration without any real information being given to Congress,” he added.
Fox News added:
The object over Canada was the third aircraft that U.S. forces have shot down over North America in the past week. Biden first ordered an F-22 fighter to shoot down a Chinese spy craft off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4. The other craft of unknown origin was shot down over frozen water between Alaska and Canada on Friday.
The U.S. and Canada are currently working to recover debris from all three craft. Only the one shot down off of the U.S. East Coast is known to be of Chinese origin, however.
President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the objects shot down over the weekend. The White House released a readout of a call between the two leaders shortly after the Saturday operation.
“Out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of their militaries, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau authorized it to be taken down,” the readout noted. “President Biden authorized US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation and a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities.”