The White House believes that objects shot down werebenign balloons

A High-Altitude Object Orbiting over Lake Huron and Its Implications for the Future of the American Aeronautics

In the latest event, a high-altitude object was shot down on Sunday afternoon by an F-16 over Lake Huron, which lies between Michigan and Ontario. The Pentagon thought the object was a hazard, but not a military threat. But it did connect the craft to a radar signal picked up earlier over Montana, the home to US intercontinental missile silos and other sensitive sites.

The object debris landed “just off the very, very northeastern part of Alaska” near the Canadian border, on the frozen Arctic Ocean, Kirby said. He said the ice may help in the recovery of the debris.

The two objects that were mistaken for the PRC balloon were later clarified by the US Defense Department. 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.

He said that it was difficult for the pilots to get a lot of information since it was much smaller and the speed at which they were flying was slow.

“This thing did not appear to be self-maneuvering so therefore at the mercy of prevailing winds, it was much less predictable. The president just wasn’t willing to take that risk,” he said.

The Air Forces of the Second World, and the Status of the U.S. Air Space Security, as Revealed by the CNN Investigative Report on Sunday

Turner said Sunday that he preferred the US shooting down unknown objects in the sky to allow them to travel across the country.

Turner said in an interview with CNN he wanted the Biden administration to be “trigger-happy,” but said he needed to know if it was just the administration trying to change headlines.

“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 said that we need to invest. Some of the problems and gaps show up in this. We need to fill those as soon as we can since we know there is a threat.

One Democratic congressman, speaking on background to offer a frank assessment, told CNN Sunday night that the silence from Biden was “odd” – particularly given that “people are freaked out.” The lawmaker noted that the American public had notably heard more from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the weekend than the president himself.

Senior Biden officials faced pointed questions from Congress last week regarding why the suspected spy balloon wasn’t shot down sooner.

Are the latest incidents linked in any way to Beijing’s espionage program described by the administration after the shooting down of the Chinese balloon and other reported crossings of other balloons over US territory? Any indication of successive Chinese breaches of US airspace would mark a serious twist in US-China relations already tested by a belligerent Beijing at what may be the start of a 21st century Cold War.

The three mystery aerial devices have consumed areas of the federal government since they were shot down over the past several days. The administration hasn’t been able to say with certainty what they were doing, where they were from or even what type of craft they were – conditions ripe for conspiracies.

The administration is still trying to figure out what the objects are and whether they pose a problem, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. There would be considerable risk to Biden, this person noted, if he stepped in front of the cameras to deliver a speech before he and his top officials had a better grasp of what to make of the objects that were shot down.

The intrigue is also unfolding against a tense global situation, with already difficult relations with rising superpower China becoming ever more hostile and with the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

“What’s gone on in the last two weeks or so, 10 days, has been nothing short of craziness,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS, hours before an airborne object was shot down over Lake Huron.

With the North American Aerospace Defense Command on heightened alert, US fighters have now blasted three objects out of the skies since Friday following the shooting down of the Chinese balloon off the South Carolina coast on February 4:

On Saturday, Trudeau and Biden ordered the US to shoot down an object that was flying in the air over the far north of Canada. The Canadian Defence Minister said that the object was smaller than the Chinese balloon.

In fact, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck said recent objects shot down were likely the first “kinetic action” that NORAD or the US Northern Command had taken against an airborne object over US airspace.

So the events of the last few days do provoke serious national security and political questions that stretch far beyond the often narrow political battle in Washington, and that can only be assessed once more details are understood.

Are these strange objects that are flying over North America linked to hostile power, corporate or private entity if they are not related to China? At a time of heightened awareness and tension, are they connected to one another or just coincidences?

Is NORAD picking up objects that are potentially hostile when there is a heightened alert after the Chinese balloon crisis? If the objects are suspicious is there a sudden spike in such flights or did such objects fly across the continent with impunity in the past? Given the already increased threat to civilian aircraft – for instance from more low flying drones – is this a new problem that that should concern the aviation industry?

The political effect of this string of incidents. Biden was criticized by Republicans because he cited the risk of injury to civilians or damage to buildings on the ground for waiting so long to shoot down the Chinese balloon. He forcibly warned China in his subsequent State of the Union address that he would defend US sovereignty. His aides have styled his response to the incidents as those of a decisive commander in chief. It shows that the White House was aware that Americans would find out he wasn’t doing everything to defend the homeland.

The political blame game is heating up. Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, complained that Biden wasn’t briefed enough on GOP claims that he was neglecting to protect the southern border. And he also adopted a novel critique of Biden given claims that the president didn’t act quickly enough before.

Speculation may be premature. But fierce political debate over the balloon has clearly changed Biden’s tolerance threshold for unknown aerial objects.

Multiple sources say that the White House did not give any indication Sunday night that Biden would address the nation about the developments.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said Monday that the most recent objects did not pose “any direct threat to people on the ground, and we are laser-focused on confirming their nature and purpose.”

They are getting a lot of positives that they haven’t 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 answer that, since we don’t know if this is part of a larger effort or if it is simply a way to keep an eye on everyone.

There was more confusion on Sunday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the two objects shot down over Alaska and the Yukon were balloons but smaller than the original Chinese intruder, after saying he had earlier been briefed by Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.

If there is a link between the Chinese balloon and some objects, then it is possible that Representative MattRosendale of Montana made the connection on CNN.

What Do We Know About the Debris Shoot-Down Objects? A Sen. Bennet’s Reply to the CNN News on Monday

“It doesn’t give me much safe feelings knowing that these devices are smaller,” he said. Cumulative data is something that I am very concerned about. … I need some answers, and the American people need answers.”

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.

Even if it isn’t much, the lawmaker thinks that Biden needs to tell the public more about what he knows about downed objects.

The lawmaker said that ambiguity is fuel for conspiracy theorists. Something that is telling is more important than something that is reassuring. Communication from the government is required for trust in government.

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that he is looking forward to hearing more from the administration about the situation.

Biden answered a CNN question about the operation to shoot down a high- altitude object in Alaska on Friday, saying that it was a success.

The president realized that without a full picture of what the objects were, he could not communicate on them with the public.

The president’s public schedule on Monday is empty, and he was expected to receive regular updates on what officials are learning about the objects as they analyze debris gathered after the shoot-downs.

The White House and the Pentagon should do more research on debris from balloons shot down over the last 48 hours by the U.S. Air Force

The White House said that three objects shot down over North America last weekend were balloons being flown for benign purposes, unlike what the administration has described.

The White House, recognizing the potential for the spread of outlandish theories, has sought to tamp down on fears the objects could have originated from a hostile state or even from outer space. On Tuesday, a top White House official suggested they were likely harmless.

Some senators from both Democrats and Republicans said the recent shooting down of floating objects by U.S. jets don’t present an immediate threat to Americans, but they urged the administration to give more information to the public.

There are a lot of things that are up in the air, as well as some things that we don’t know, said Romney.

The remnants of the balloons are still in the process of being collected, so the disclosures seemed designed to make it clear that the origin of the balloons was not known at the time. Administration officials have increasingly cast doubt on their ability to fully recover debris from the objects, given tough conditions where they landed.

There was added urgency to that consideration given that the recovery of the fallen debris – and a comprehensive analysis of what those objects might have been – is a process that officials acknowledge could take some time.

So far, those efforts have been hampered by what he described as “pretty tough conditions,” exacerbated by the geographic challenges on Lake Huron, in the Yukon wilderness and on sea ice north of Alaska.

“Pretty tough weather conditions, let alone just geographically, just tough time of year,” Kirby said, noting that the Chinese spy balloon debris recovery off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month was also hampered by high seas in the Atlantic Ocean due to the time of year.

How far is it to find high-altitude objects in the wilderness? – The Canadian Prime Minister’s comments on the recent airborne objects shot down

Kirby said the government was relying instead on information and expertise from the Federal Aviation Administration and the intelligence community to glean what they could about the mysterious airborne devices.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the search area in Yukon was a “fairly large area” in dense wilderness. Canadian officials were candid about the complexity of recovering debris from high-altitude objects shot down.

We are trying to locate them, but it is not certain that we will. The terrain in the Yukon is rather treacherous right now so it could pose some significant challenges to us in in terms of our recovery efforts the same could be said about what’s taking place in Lake Huron, the marine conditions are also not conducive at the moment,” said Sean McGillis, a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Officials also disclosed that the object that was shot down over Lake Huron was first detected in Southern Alberta. Canadian officials added that out of an abundance of caution, they have deployed investigators with explosives, chemical, biological and radiological expertise.

The statement from the White House press secretary that the US military had not shot down any aliens from outer space was as definitive as anything else.

“There is no – again, no indication – of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent take-downs,” she said. All of you know that. I wanted to make sure it was known to the American people. We have been hearing a lot about that, so it was important for us to say that from here.

The recent events were ripe for theories of a conspiracy as officials were particularly sensitive to the inherently mysterious nature of the airborne objects.

One official conceded that there was a risk with the lack of information that could blossom into a conspiracy.

It was decided that since there wasn’t much concrete information that could be given to the public, it was prudent to rule out extraterrestrial activity as soon as possible.

Administration officials continue to say their goal is to provide as much information as they can about the objects, but they have noted the circumstances are less than ideal for effective communication.

The Pentagon and intelligence community officials went to the Capitol on Tuesday to deliver a similar message to the Senate. The briefing was the latest effort by the administration to update lawmakers on the series of strange floating objects shot down in recent days.

But the admission that the administration had more questions than answers about three of the objects prompted a fresh wave of frustration among lawmakers, who criticized not only the slow recovery effort but also the administration’s lack of clarity about what was floating overhead in the first place.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the ranking Republican on the Senate intelligence panel, stressed that unidentified objects over U.S. airspace is not new — but the strategy to shoot them down is. He wants the Biden administration to share more information with the public.

The only way you will be able to get answers is to understand how it compares to the hundreds of similar cases, said Mr. Rubio.

Investigating Airborne Objects in the U.S. Congress: Sen. Chris Murphy, Sen. Tom Tillis, and Rep. Mark Warner

According to Mark Warner, who chairs the committee, the tracking of airborne objects for legitimate purposes needs to be improved, as there is not a formal process for it.

“I have a better understanding, but the American people deserve and need to know more,” said Sen. Blumenthal, D-Conn. “I am not in any way afraid that we are under a threat of attack or physical harm to our homeland. That’s my personal feeling. But the American people need to be reassured with more facts.”

“They certainly didn’t pose any threat to the United States”, said Sen. Chris Murphy when he was asked about the aerial objects.

Murphy argued that since the objects were operating in civil aviation space and weren’t registered with the FAA that was reason alone to make the case they needed to be taken down.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton expressed concern that intelligence officials are providing “contradictory” explanations — that while they do not know the origin of the objects, they are confident they do not pose a threat.

Murphy pushed back against calls for Biden to address the nation saying that while he understood people want to hear from their commander in chief, “sometimes it’s smart for the president of the United States to get some more information before he makes a statement.”

GOP Sen. Thom Tillis from North Carolina told reporters he supported the administration’s response so far and said it’s a complex issue to sort out. “They have done a good job of getting our situational awareness to where it is and we haven’t been for a month,” he said.

“Ninety-five percent of what was discussed in that room today could be made public without compromising the security of this country,” he said. “The most important question we have to answer now is what are these things? Who sent them here? And what are they doing here?”

Schumer said officials are learning more about the objects “hour by hour.” He said the administration’s approach was very careful. This investigation is very sensitive, and given that, it is very thoughtful.

Schumer said some Republican colleagues are being premature and often just political. There is a lot of information to assess and to recover. The administration is doing a great job, and on top of this.

“I sleep very comfortable at night knowing what I know. The American people should do the same thing. He supports the push to share more information quickly as the public is interested.

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