‘High-Altitude Object’ Shot Down Over Alaska, White House Says
President Joe Biden ordered the military to shoot down a “high-altitude” object flying over Alaska on Friday afternoon, the White House announced.
John Kirby of the National Security Council said the Defense Department had been tracking the object, which was smaller than the alleged Chinese spy balloon that made its way across the U.S. last week, for the past 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 said. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object and they did and it came inside our territorial waters and those waters right now are frozen.”
Kirby said this object — which was about the size of a car — did not appear to have a self-propulsion mechanism like the one that was downed off the Atlantic coast last week, and that it “virtually at the whim of the wind.”
Kirby added that it’s unclear where the object came from. “We don’t know who owns this object,” he said.
The announcement comes as Republicans have attacked Biden for not shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it entered U.S. airspace last week, while pushing a slew of unfounded conspiracy theories about Biden’s potential ties to the Chinese government. Unlike the object shot down on Friday, however, the Pentagon advised Biden against shooting down the alleged Chinese spy balloon, deeming that it didn’t posing any significant intelligence or physical risk to America. Biden ultimately ordered the balloon shot down after it crossed South Carolina and made its way into the Atlantic Ocean.