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House Intelligence chair says he prefers ‘trigger-happy’ approach with unidentified objects

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner said Sunday he prefers how the US shot down unidentified objects over North American airspace in recent days to allowing them to traverse the country.

A US fighter jet shot down an unidentified object over northern Canada on Saturday, marking the third time in a week that the US military has taken down objects in North American airspace. On Friday, an unidentified object was shot down in Alaska airspace by a US F-22, and a Chinese surveillance balloon was taken down by F-22s off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.a.

“I would prefer them to be trigger-happy than to be permissive, but we’re going to have to see whether or not this is just the administration trying to change headlines,” Turner, an Ohio Republican, said of the Biden administration in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“What I think this shows, which is probably more important to our policy discussion here, is that we really have to declare that we’re going to defend our airspace. And then we need to invest,” added Turner. “This shows some of the problems and gaps that we have. We need to fill those as soon as possible because we certainly now ascertain there is a threat.”

There’s no indication at this point that the unidentified objects have any connection to China’s surveillance balloon but it seems that national security officials across the continent remain on edge. Airspace was briefly closed over Montana before being reopened on Saturday evening after a radar anomaly prompted a jet to investigate before the all-clear was given.

Turner said Sunday that there is some frustration among lawmakers over the lack of timely briefings from the Biden administration.

“This is particularly annoying about this administration. The Biden administration needs to stop briefing Congress through our television sets and actually come and sit down and brief us,” he said. “I do think that there needs to be more engagement between the administration and Congress.”

Senior Biden officials faced pointed questions last week on Capitol Hill from lawmakers in public hearings and classified briefings as Congress demands more information about why the suspected spy balloon wasn’t shot down sooner.

“It’s certainly a new, recent development that you have China being so aggressive in entering other countries’ airspace and doing so for clear intentions to spy with very sophisticated equipment. I mean, the very scale of this balloon and the technology that was deployed by China in spying on the United States is unprecedented,” Turner said Sunday.

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CNN’s Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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