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Photo: Getty Image artwork

Three senators received a classified Pentagon briefing on Wednesday about several reported U.S. Navy encounters with unidentified aircraft, Politico reports, citing congressional and government officials.

Details: The outlet noted it's part of a growing number of requests from members of key oversight committees into unidentified flying objects (UFOs). A spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to Politico he had received a briefing.

What they're saying: "If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of," Warner's spokeswoman Rachel Cohen, said in a statement to Politico.

Why it matters: The Navy announced in April there had been a rise in reports of UFO sightings. Although the Navy isn't saying aliens are out there, it is concerned about the increasing number of reports alleging highly advanced aircraft flying near sensitive military facilities and in military-controlled ranges.

The big picture: In December 2017, the Pentagon officially confirmed the existence of its $22 million program to investigate UFOs. Then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) requested the program's funding in 2007. Much of it came from Robert Bigelow, the billionaire behind an aerospace program who currently works with NASA.

Go deeper: The interstellar object Oumuamua is almost certainly not an alien spaceship

Go deeper

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.