Unidentified Flying Object Shot Down Over Alaska, White House Says ‘We Do Not Know Who Owns It’
The U.S. military shot down an unidentified flying object over Alaska waters on Friday, the White House confirmed. The shootdown comes just a week after the U.S. Air Force took down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the object was shot down under the orders of Joe Biden.
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“I can confirm that the Department of Defense was tracking a high-altitude object over Alaska airspace in the last 24 hours. The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight,” Kirby told reporters. “Out of an abundance of caution and the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object. And they did. And it came in inside our territorial waters.”
The White House offered limited information on the “object,” and Kirby refused reporters’ questions for specifics.
“The way it was described to me was roughly the size of a small car as opposed to a payload that was like two or three buses sized… We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned or privately owned.”
According to Pentagon press secretary Brig Gen. Pat Ryder, an F-22 fighter jet took down the “high-altitude airborne object” at 1:45 pm EST off the Northern coast of Alaska.
American pilots reportedly flew alongside the object and confirmed that it was unmanned. Ryder said the aircraft was not capable of maneuvering and that it did not resemble any kind of airplane. Ryder refused to speculate on whether it could have been another weather balloon of some sort.
“It wasn’t an aircraft per se,” Ryder told reporters. He also said that they had recovered “a significant amount of debris,” which had been cataloged and taken to multiple labs for analysis. “We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin.”
The shootdown is a dramatic change from how the Biden administration handled the violation of U.S. sovereignty by a Chinese spy balloon last week. The balloon, which first breached U.S. airspace above Alaska on January 28, was allowed to float across the United States uninterrupted until being shot down over the Atlantic.
The Pentagon reportedly tracked this latest object for 24 hours before receiving authorization from Joe Biden to take it down. The White House said that this object was flying low enough to threaten civilian aircraft, unlike the Chinese balloon. The White House also claimed that a shootdown of the Chinese balloon would have threatened civilians on the ground due to its size and resulting debris field.
Several GOP lawmakers noticed the difference in responses,
“Biden’s response to foreign instruments flying over our airspace vastly changed in a matter of days due to the American people,” Arizona congressman Andy Biggs tweeted.
Biden's response to foreign instruments flying over our airspace vastly changed in a matter of days due to the American people.
Your pressure convinced him to no longer allow these devices to fly freely across our great country.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 10, 2023
Kansas Senator Roger Marshall tweeted,
“So we can shoot down suspicious objects BEFORE they get over our border… Just as I suggested.”
So we can shoot down suspicious objects BEFORE they get over our border… Just as I suggested. https://t.co/eZcVmbMpDa
— Dr. Roger Marshall (@RogerMarshallMD) February 10, 2023
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Brig. Gen. Ryan denied that any congressional criticism played a role in the shootdown of the object over Alaska.
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