Reply to the Speaker of the House Intelligence Committee on U.S. Airspace Security and Space Security Comments on an F-22 and a PRC Balloon Shot Down
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.
On Friday, an F-22 shot down another unidentified craft over Alaskan airspace . US pilots reported that the object they flew around did not appear to be carrying surveillery equipment.
Turner had told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he would prefer the Biden administration to be “trigger happy” instead of “permissive”.
“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. Turner added, “And then we need to invest.” Some of the problems and gaps are shown in this. We now know there is a threat so we need to fill those as quickly as possible.
The US Defense Department, however, later clarified that those two objects “did not closely resemble the PRC balloon” shot down last week. There are also signs that federal lawmakers may be getting information from military and local authorities that is incomplete, risking further confusion or politicization about what is going on.
“This is particularly annoying about this administration. The Biden administration should stop giving Congress briefings through television and instead come 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 on Capitol Hill from lawmakers in public hearings and classified briefings as Congress demanded more information about why the suspected spy balloon was not shot down sooner.
China is very aggressive in entering the airspace of other countries with the intention of using advanced equipment to spy on them. 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.
What the Pentagon and the Pentagon can do about the high-altitude objects that have been shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska, and Canada
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, Melissa Dalton told reporters on Sunday they were taken down out of an “abundance of caution.”
The range of companies, countries, and research organizations that can be used by high-altitude objects includes legitimate research.
“The American people deserve timely answers about the objects that were shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska, and Canada this weekend,” Bennet said. “We need to understand the nature of the threat to our national security. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I expect to be briefed on these incidents early this week.”
Canada’s chief of defense staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, also made mention of a “balloon” when describing instructions given to the team that worked to take down the object.
The objects that were shot down on Friday and Saturday were objects and not the PRC balloon, as was noted Sunday by the Pentagon press secretary. We have more for you when we can recover the debris.
The US developed a new method of tracking balloons in near-real time after the findings allowed them to establish a consistent technical method.
An Airborne Object Shot Down by a US Spy Balloon: State of the Art and Views from the Senate and House of Representatives
New speculation and criticism could be premature as officials work to fully understand the sequence of events and more about the objects. The NORAD had recently adjusted the filters it used to sift data, which were previously used to look for objects below a certain altitude. Early warning filters had previously been set to avoid picking up other objects, including birds and weather balloons, a source briefed on the matter said.
It is not clear but it seems to be large. Since news broke last week about the Chinese balloon that was floating over US airspace, new details have emerged about what’s now understood to be a global surveillance operation by China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army.
On Thursday, officials revealed that they believe the spy balloons the US has discovered are part of a large fleet that is conducting surveillance operations globally. The US has traced the balloons to 40 countries across five continents.
A US F-16 fighter jet shot down the latest airborne object over Lake Huron on Sunday afternoon at the direction of President Joe Biden, the Pentagon said.
“Because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these recent objects are, we have acted out of an abundance of caution to protect our security and interests,” said Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs.
The object was flying at 20,000 feet over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a senior administration official told CNN on Sunday. The official and another source briefed on the matter said that it wasgonal, with strings hanging off.
The Department of Defense called Rep. Elissa Slotkin from Michigan and said the US military has a close eye on an object above Lake Huron.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want answers. Politicians on both sides of the aisle met the news of further objects being shot down with a range of responses Sunday.
Turner’s Democratic counterpart on the Intelligence panel, Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had “real concerns about why the administration is not being more forthcoming with everything that it knows,” before adding, “My guess is that there’s just not a lot of information out there to share.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said Congress needs to investigate why it took so long for the US to catch on to the Chinese government’s use of spy balloons.
No one from the White House, Pentagon or government of Canada seems to know what is going on with these latest downed crafts. This raises questions for top military brass and US spy agencies as well as for the potential safety of civilian aviation. Republicans are using the vacuum to question President Joe Biden’s leadership.
With the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, there is a lot of intrigue happening and it’s happening against a tense global situation.
Jon Tester of Montana, a Democrat, told CBS on Sunday that the last 10 days have been nothing short of crazy.
The last few days have caused serious national security and political questions that span far beyond the politics of Washington, and it will only be assessed once more details are understood.
The lack of specificity is unlikely to quell speculation or partisan maneuvering in Washington. At the start of a new presidential election cycle and in a polarized political age when social media magnifies conspiracy theories, this odd series of incidents is heaping fresh pressure on Biden following recriminations after his decision to wait until the Chinese balloon had crossed the country before shooting it down over water.
The political blame game is heating up. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, linked the incursions of US air space to Republican claims that Biden is failing to protect the southern border and complained that senior officials were not briefing Congress enough. He also critiqued Biden, saying there was claims the president didn’t act quickly enough before.
It may be premature to speculate about this. But fierce political debate over the balloon has clearly changed Biden’s tolerance threshold for unknown aerial objects.
As of Sunday night, there was no indication from the White House that Biden planned to address the nation about the developments – silence that has begun to worry even allies of the president, according to multiple sources.
Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana and the Alaska Shoot-down: What Do he and the Administration Know about the Chinese Balloon and Associated Objects?
They are getting a lot of positives, that they did not get before. Most of that is going to be airplanes, whatever it may be,” said Kayyem, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
We can’t say if this is a bigger group that is picking up stuff because it did not pose a threat, or if it is part of something organized for a bigger purpose.
Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana appeared to make a direct link Sunday on “CNN Newsroom” between the Chinese balloon and the latest objects, even if there is no confirmation so far that they are connected.
I don’t know if I’m safe knowing that these devices are smaller. “I am very concerned with the cumulative data that is being collected. I need answers and the American people need them.
One lawmaker who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told CNN on Monday morning that they had not received any communication from the administration over the weekend about the objects and that they did not expect to get much information until the fallen debris was recovered and assessed.
But the lawmaker said they believe that Biden needs to address the public with what he does know so far about the downed objects – even if that isn’t much.
“Ambiguity is fuel for conspiracy theorists, and I hope information is shared expeditiously,” the lawmaker said. “Something truthful is more important than something reassuring. Trust in government requires communication from government.”
The senator from Colorado said he was looking forward to hearing more from the administration about the situation.
On Friday, Biden answered a question from CNN about the shoot down of a high-altitude object in Alaska and said it was a success.
Biden aides don’t want him to say things about objects that aren’t a full picture, a person familiar with the matter said. Each object was ordered to be shot down by Biden, who was deeply engaged behind the scenes.
The president has no public schedule on Monday, so he was going to be receiving regular updates about the debris that officials were analyzing after the shoot-down.