A New View of the People’s Liberation Army’s encounter with a Chinese jet: Implications on the United States and Embedded Countries
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The People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theater Command, in a report on China Military Online, had a different interpretation of the encounter, saying it was the US jet that “abruptly changed its flight attitude and forced the Chinese aircraft to the left.”
A Chinese navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the nose of a US RC-135 Rivet Joint, which had about 30 people on board, forcing the US plane to take evasive maneuvers.
The small distance between the US and Chinese planes visible in the videos leaves little room for error, according to experts.
“The 135 was in international airspace and is a large, slow, non-maneuverable aircraft. Peter was a former Royal Australian Air Force officer, now with the Griffith Asia Institute.
“There was no possible gain by the fighter flying so close except to create an incident – that was handily recorded on a high quality video camera the fighter’s crew just happened to have and be using. He said that the incident seems well planned by the PLAN.
The Chinese response is completely divorced from reality. An unarmed, airliner-sized aircraft does not aggressively turn into a nimble armed fighter,” said Hopkins.
The US military risked blowing the incident out of proportion by saying the US jet had to take evasive maneuvers, a term that he described as “overly dramatic.”
“These are no different than a driver adjusting her position to avoid a temporary lane incursion by an adjacent driver,” Hopkins said. The US response is a farce and creates a false sense of danger.
In order to be safe flying aircraft close to each other at 500 miles per hour is usually unsafe.
The Case of the 2001 April 1 Collision between a US Jet and a High-Altitude Air-Force Airborne Jet in China
“It’s worth remembering that the PLA has effectively wrecked any kind of hotlines or discussion forums for addressing potential incidents with the United States. There aren’t as many options for senior officers to limit potential escalation if an intercept goes wrong.
The incident is just the latest in a string ofUS provocations that threatens stability in the region, said a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The Chinese Southern Theater Command said the US jet was flying near the Paracels and the southern coastline, where Beijing has built up military installations.
There are territorial claims in the South China Sea that the US does not recognize, as well as freedom of navigation operations.
The most memorable and instructive example dates back to the presidency of George W. Bush. On April 1, 2001, two Chinese fighter jets harassed a US Navy EP-3 surveillance plane over international waters near China. One crashed after colliding with a vehicle. The pilot of the plane regained control and made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island. The 24 US crew members were held for 11 days, and some were repeatedly interrogated before US officials negotiated their release.
A documentary on China’s border defense forces featured an incident in which thePLA Air Force shot down a high-altitude balloon that was threatening the country’s air defense safety.
The Last Days of the China–US Battle: CNN’s John King Embedded in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The most informative interview I saw Monday was the one CNN’s John King conducted with former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Beth Sanner, who is now a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
But that said, we do spy. And this is another form of spying. So we have to be very careful with how outraged we get in terms of what we do. I don’t believe that balloons are sent over Chinese territory.
Stepping back a bit, however, the uncomfortable fact is that the Biden Administration’s effort to set “guardrails” on its relationship with China is not working that well. This is mostly because China not only has failed to stop spying, stealing, and exploiting vulnerabilities in the US democratic and open-market system, but is becoming more aggressive than ever. But it is also partly because actions undertaken by the administration to hold China accountable for this behavior have threatened core Chinese interests.
President Jiang Zemin blamed the US for the collision. The two sides couldn’t agree on the return of the plane before nearly two months had passed. Having removed and refused to return the plane’s hardware, software and communications equipment, the Chinese insisted the EP-3 be dismantled and transported by a third party at the US’s expense. Beijing also tried to charge the Bush Administration $1 million for costs associated with the incident, including expenses for detaining the plane’s crew. Washington countered with a proposal of some $34,000, which China refused and never apologized for.
US officials registered their objections to Chinese officials while the balloon was in flight. Senior administration officials say that after the balloon was shot down, they communicated with Chinese officials.
According to a researcher at a school in Singapore,China’s claims are a sort of one-upmanship match against Washington’s accusations.
Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen wrote “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” His own views are expressed in this commentary. CNN has more opinion on it.
It reminded me of when my father was a lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and he worked on a program to send balloons into Soviet airspace.
He was assigned to the Headquarters Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There he worked on the “Grand Union” project, which deployed balloons that carried cameras over the then-Soviet Union. Turkey launched the spy balloons.
The work my dad did in this part of his career was very secret, and it has been expunged from the books since the 70s.
China’s High-Altitude Balloon Surveillance Program: Can It Explain the F-35 Indirect Detection Report?
“We know the PRC used these balloons for surveillance,” an official said. “High-resolution imagery from U-2 flybys revealed that the high-altitude balloon was capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations.”
The US and its competitors have new satellites which can take photos. They can do full-motion video! They can take thermal imagery that detects individuals moving around at night! When the skies are clear, they can spy on pretty much anything, with a resolution of centimeters.
Satellite imagery is getting so cheap that you can take your own close-up images of battle groups in a conflict. Maxar Technologies was acquired for $6 billion two months ago by a private equity firm, and they have built a profitable business on this model.
But it may help explain, at least in part, an element of a little-noticed report published by the US Office of Director of National Intelligence last month.
Since Friday, U.S. forces have brought down three unidentified objects flying above the U.S. and Canada. The American officials did not say what kind of objects they received or who sent them.
China has done a lot worse. US officials have accused it of benefiting from the work of hackers who stole design data about the F-35 fighter aircraft as China builds its own new generation of fighters – and of sucking up much of the personal information of more than 20 million Americans who were current or former members of the US government when they reportedly got inside the computers of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in 2015. The F-35 theft report was called “baseless” by China.
Notably, the US intelligence community’s method to track China’s fleet of surveillance balloons was only discovered within the last year, six people familiar with the matter told CNN.
In the days after the furor over the Chinese balloon led officials to adjust how they monitor US airspace, fighter jets have intercepted and shot objects out of the sky over Alaska, northern Canada and Lake Huron.
There are similar balloons in recent years found above Japan, India and Taiwan. China admitted a high-altitude balloon found above Latin America this month was its own, though it said the balloon was a civilian airship doing weather research.
The link to the broader surveillance program, which was uncovered before the latest balloon was spotted last week, was first reported by the Washington Post.
Sources familiar with the effort say that officials want to understand as much as possible about the balloon’s technical capabilities including what kind of data it could intercept and gather, what satellites it was linked to and whether it has any vulnerabilities that the US might be able to exploit.
The investigators will be looking at whether the digital signatures that it emitted can be used to track this kind of balloon in the future. The commander of US Northern Command, Gen. Glen VanHerck, acknowledged to reporters on Monday that the US had a “domain awareness gap” that had allowed past balloons to cross into US airspace undetected.
China’s Foreign Ministry said on February 3 that the airship deviated from its scheduled route because of the westerly wind and limited self-control. “China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the US to properly handle the unexpected situation.”
Some in Chinese politics are not sure if Xi would have known about the balloon going to the US, or if lower level officials would conduct the balloon mission without his knowledge.
The elite team is made up of agents, analysts, engineers and scientists that are responsible for creating and analyzing the US’s adversaries.
The OTD personnel are responsible for working to defeat attempts by foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate the U.S., and for building the devices used by FBI and intelligence community personnel to target national security threats.
But, according to one member of the House Intelligence Committee, “there’s number of reasons why we wouldn’t do that. We want to collect off it, you want to see what it is doing.
A defense official said the US has procedures to protect sensitive locations from being caught up in overhead surveilled satellites.
Joe Biden and the Shooting of a High-Stakes High-Altitude Surveillance Balloon Over United States Territories
President Joe Biden suggested Wednesday that bilateral relationship with China had not been damaged by the balloon incident, but China reacted angrily to the shoot down, refusing a call with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and canceling a high-stakes trip to Beijing on Friday. New sanctions in response to the balloon would likely further inflame tensions.
“The idea shooting down a balloon that’s gathering information over America and that makes relations worse?” Biden gave a wide-ranging interview to PBS NewsHour on the day after his second State of the Union address.
Biden administration officials have stressed that the meeting was not canceled, but instead delayed until a later date. The date hasn’t yet been set.
The CNN reporter asked if US officials had any clue as to why China would commit such an act. “They’re the Chinese government,” he said.
Biden administration officials have maintained they were able to move quickly to mitigate any intelligence collection capacity of the balloon and have countered that they will end up benefiting from the ability to collect information about the balloon and Chinese intelligence capabilities, both during its flight and in the recovery of its wreckage from the Atlantic Ocean.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s office said the chamber will vote Thursday on a resolution “condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over United States territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”
The Republicans criticized the president for not telling the nation about the balloon before it was shot down.
A suspected Chinese spy balloon in the USA that was shot down on Saturday by a regional jet airliner and its payload of 2,000 pounds
And he detailed a telling observation he shared with Xi last year as US officials warned China not to provide military support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
The US Navy released photos of its recovery effort of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by US fighter jets on Saturday.
The type of jet airliner or regional jet that Gen. Glen VanHerck refers to as the payload’s size is more than 2,000 pounds.
“[F]rom a safety standpoint, picture yourself with large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky. We are kind of talking about that, that is really what it is. The balloon could have been a target for explosives if it had been present because the glass on solar panels could have been used to destroy it.
“[T]his gave us the opportunity to assess what they were actually doing, what kind of capabilities existed on the balloon, what kind of transmission capabilities existed, and I think you’ll see in the future that that time frame was well worth its value to collect over,” VanHerck said.
The object was downed near the Canadian border and northeastern Alaska by a F-22 fighter jet that fitted with an AIM-9X, the type of missile used to take down the balloon. A US official said the military waited to shoot the object down during daylight hours to make it easier for the pilots to spot it. The mission was supported by aerial assets from the Alaska Air National Guard.
“The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the US side after verification that the airship is for civilian use and entered the US due to force majeure – it was completely an accident,” another statement from the Foreign Ministry said.
The balloon incident made it difficult to smooth out relations between the U.S. and China. The Secretary of State called off his trip to Beijing just hours before he was set to leave after learning of the news.
She declined to comment on the equipment on board the balloon and the entities that own the balloon. Chinese statements say that the balloon was linked to at least one or more companies, but not a government entity. It has not named them.
“China is a responsible country,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. We have always followed international law. We handle the situation with care, because it did not pose any threats to any countries.
The Airforce’s “Near Space Flight Vehicles”: China’s Progress in the 2021 Air Force and the Defense of the Civil Liberation Army
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged the PLA Air Force to “speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities” as early as 2014, and military experts have designated “near space” as a crucial link in the integration.
And a range of “near-space flight vehicles” will play a vital role in future joint combat operations that integrate outer space and the Earth’s atmosphere, the article said.
This isn’t just a China thing. The US, and other nations as well, have been working on and developing high-altitude aerostats, balloons and similar vehicles,” said Brendan Mulvaney, director of the China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI), a research center serving the US Air Force.
With modern technology, the space for information confrontation is not limited to land, sea, or the low altitude. According to the official newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army, the near space battlefield is an important part of the national security system.
Unlike rotating satellites or traveling aircraft, stratospheric airships and high-altitude balloons “can hover over a fixed location for a long period of time” and are not easily detected by radar, wrote Shi Hong, the executive editor of Shipborne Weapons, a prominent military magazine published by a PLA-linked institute, in an article published in state media in 2022.
A military expert explains in a video segment how near-space lighter-than-air vehicles are able to take better photos and videos at a lower cost than satellites.
An example of advances China has made in the domain is the reported flight of a 100 meter-long (328 feet) snoozing dirigible-like airship called the Cloud Chaser. The professor at the university said in a interview with the paper that the vehicle had traveled around the world in an altitude of 616 feet.
The US has also been bolstering its capacity to use lighter-than-air vehicles. In 2021, the US Department of Defense contracted an American aerospace firm to work on using their stratospheric balloons as a means “to develop a more complete operating picture and apply effects to the battlefield,” according to a statement from the firm, Raven Aerostar, at the time.
The documentary did not provide further detail about the time and location of the incident, but a paper published last April by researchers in a PLA institute noted air-drift balloons were spotted over China in 1997 and 2017.
The Unidentified Objects from a Decelerator Balloon Revealed by the United States Airborne Interferometer
Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command, said that understanding the atmospheric conditions up there is critical to programming the guidance software for missiles.
It’s not quite clear if they are related to the US incident, as both Taiwan and Japan have acknowledged incidents in the past.
CASI’s Mulvaney said that whether the balloon itself is characterized as “dual use” or “state-owned,” data collected would have gone back to China, which is now receiving another kind of information from the incident.
Feb. 14: The US military says it has recovered parts of a Chinese balloon that crashed. Senators receive a classified briefing on the unidentified objects, with members of both parties leaving the briefing saying they are assured that the spate of unidentified floating objects shot down by U.S. jets in recent days do not pose an immediate threat to Americans. But some urge Biden administration officials to share more information with the public after a classified briefing.
The report was made available to the US government through a range of channels. But it wasn’t flagged as an urgent warning and top defense and intelligence officials who saw it weren’t immediately alarmed by it, according to sources. The report said that the White House was unaware of the report and that President Joe Biden was not briefed on it.
The US saw the object as a chance to observe and collect information, not as an immediate threat.
The “golden image” in the Pentagon and NORAD: Congress hears what happened to the balloon that hit off the Atlantic coast on January 28
Administration officials from the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday on the balloon, which has prompted criticism from Republicans over allowing it to float across the US before it was shot down off the Atlantic coast.
On January 28, when the balloon entered US airspace near Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, sent up fighter jets to make a positive identification, according to defense officials, reflecting a subtle shift in urgency.
But the balloon instead went north unexpectedly and crossed into Alaska, Canada, and then downward, reentering the US through northern Idaho and moving towards Montana – a path that US officials are not sure was purposeful, and may have been determined more by strong winds than deliberate, external maneuvering by Beijing.
Military officials said that it’s not surprising that the president was not briefed until January 31 because of the expectations of the balloon.
As more information about the administration’s decision-making process on the balloon has continued to trickle out, Congress has taken a keen interest.
“There are still a lot of questions to be asked about Alaska,” a Senate Republican aide told CNN. “Alaska is still part of the United States – why is that okay to transit Alaska without telling anyone, but [the continental US] is different?”
One pilot in a balloon took a selfies in the cockpit that shows the balloon and the pilot, which has been dubbed the “golden image” in the Pentagon and NORAD.
The Biden administration has determined that the Chinese balloon was operating with electronic surveillance technology capable of monitoring US communications, according to the official.
Lawmakers were told Thursday that the order to send the balloon was dispatched without Chinese President Xi Jinping’s knowledge, sources familiar with the briefing said.
What next? The Pentagon’s spy balloon invasion, Rep. Quigley, Greene, and Tester, tells CNN
The officials said that the U.S. collected a small amount of electronics and a balloon canopy, but only on the ocean’s surface.
“We did not assess that it presented a significant collection hazard beyond what already exists in actionable technical means from the Chinese,” said Gen. Glenn VanHerck, the commander of US Northern Command and NORAD, on Monday.
The House briefing Thursday morning was tense, the sources said, with several Republicans railing against the administration, including GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who said that the Pentagon made the president – whom she noted she doesn’t like – look weak by their actions.
“The Pentagon was telling us they were able to mitigate in real-time as this was taking place and I believe that’s accurate,” Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN.”I believe the preeminent concern they had, as they expressed in real time, was the safety of US citizens.”
“I believe that the administration, the president, our military and intelligence agencies, acted skillfully and with care. Their ability are very impressive. Did everything go well? It would be hard to believe that would be the case with almost everything we do. Romney said Thursday that he came away more confident.
The military was under fire at an Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday for their assessments of Chinese surveillance, with a democrat telling defense officials that they did not know how they could say it was not a military threat.
I am telling you that this isn’t the last time, so you have to aid me in figuring that out. The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman, Tester, asked, what happens next, after seeing a long incursion.
A State Depth Hearing of an alleged Chinese Spy Balloon on Alaska, and a State Department spokesman declined to comment on the matter
Pentagon officials said at the hearing that the Defense Department was not concerned about the balloon gathering intelligence over Alaska as it was not near sensitive sites.
The parts of the balloon recovered on the ocean have been delivered so far and additional pieces of the balloon that sunk have been complicated by bad weather.
It’s not yet clear where the balloon’s parts were manufactured, the officials said, including whether any of the pieces were made in America. Because analysts have yet to look at the bulk of the equipment on the balloon, the officials said that there has not been a determination as to everything the device was capable of doing and its specific intent.
Analysts have not been able to identify any sort of material that would pose a risk to the American public.
The parts of the balloon that were found had English writing on them, but they were not high-tech components, according to one of the sources. The source declined to provide detail on what specific parts of the balloon contained English writing.
“As we saw with the second balloon over Central and South America that they just acknowledged, they also have no explanation for why they violated the airspace of Central and South American countries,” the official said. “The PRC’s program will only continue to be exposed, making it harder for the PRC to use this program.”
As U.S. Navy crews continue to fish parts of the alleged Chinese spy balloon out of the Atlantic, a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave reporters an update on Thursday on some of what has been learned so far.
The main electronics payload, however, has not been recovered yet, one of the FBI officials said, adding that it was “very early” to assess what the intent was and how the device was operating.
The shot down of a high-altitude object hovering over Alaska: A diplomatic response to a news report by President Joe Biden
“It appears more like Beijing is trying to also portray itself as a victim of US surveillance, instead of being painted over the past week as an aggressor,” he said.
The government is making improvements as well. In 2018, for example, China launched a project to research materials that can be used to make balloons that can float higher without losing buoyancy.
President Joe Biden told CNN that the shoot down a “high-altitude object” hovering over Alaska on Friday “was a success,” shortly after American national security officials disclosed that the commander-in-chief gave the US military approval to take the action.
It marked the second time US jets had taken down an object in less than a week, following the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina last Saturday.
Kirby said the object was 40,000 feet high and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight.
As soon as the Pentagon had enough information, Kirby said that Biden was first briefed on the object. It “did not appear to be self-maneuvering,” Kirby said.
Kirby said that the order to shoot it down wasn’t given until some fighter aircrafts flew over it and the pilots thought it wasn’t manned.
“The object was flying at an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet, had unlawfully entered Canadian airspace and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. She said the object was shot down over Canadian territory near the United States’ border.
The Alaska National Guard and units under US Northern Command, along with HC-130 Hercules, HH-60 Pave Hawk, and CH-47 Chinook are all participating in the effort to recover the object, Ryder said.
“We’re calling this an object because that’s the best description we have right now. We don’t know who is the owner, whether that’s state-owned or privately-owned.
The object first came to the attention of the US government “last evening.” Kirby said that Biden was first briefed as soon as the Pentagon had enough information.
The Implications of the Covid-19 Event on China and the Effort of the US Secretary of State on Blinken’s Visit
“This thing did not appear to be self-maneuvering so therefore at the mercy of prevailing winds, it was much less predictable. He said that the president was not willing to take that risk.
The Federal Aviation Administration put a temporary flight restriction in place around Deadhorse, Alaska, as the military took action against an object.
“Given its size, which was much smaller, and the capabilities on the fighter aircraft themselves, the speed at which they were flying, it was difficult for the pilots to glean a whole lot of information,” he said.
The assessment was communicated to American lawmakers in briefings Thursday, according to CNN reporting – and if true, could point to what analysts say would be a significant lack of coordination within the Chinese system at a fraught period of China-US relations.
It could mean that Xi and his top advisers underestimated the potential gravity of the fallout of the mission and the possibility it could imperil Blinken’s visit, which would have been the first from the most senior US diplomat since 2018 and had been welcomed by Beijing as a path to easing strained ties.
Beijing, in a statement last weekend, appeared to link the device to “companies,” rather than the government or military – though in China the prominence of state-owned enterprises and a robust military-industrial complex blurs the line between the two.
Drew Thompson, an analyst in Singapore, said the situation could have been worse because of the control given to Xi by the Communist Party.
It means that lower level officials who might have the capacity to more closely monitor the missions may not be given the power to make political decisions about their impact. Power struggles between lower and higher ranking officials could also complicate communication, he said.
“There is a tension throughout the Chinese system – it’s a feature of Chinese governance, where lower levels fight for their own autonomy, and upper levels fight for greater control,” he said.
The recent Covid-19 incident in China, where reporting delays slowed the response and compounded the problem, is a good example of how tensions have arisen in the country in the past. Some blamed local officials who feared repercussions, or were accustomed to a system where information flows from the top down, not the bottom up.
Balloon launches could also fall into a gap in which operations were not managed or overseen in the same way as space or other aircraft missions, according to Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago.
In this case, entities launching balloons may have received “little or no push back from other countries, including the United States” and “increasingly seen such launches as routine based on weather conditions and at modest costs,” Yang said.
A result of this is that they didn’t get priority attention from the political risk side, as leaders of these programs have become emboldened over time to test new routes.
What China’s Foreign Ministry had to Learn About the Xi-Jinping Investigation of a Possible Susceptibility To A New Airborne Object
China’s Foreign Ministry appeared caught off-guard by the situation as it publicly unfolded over the past week – releasing its first explanation of the incident more than 12 hours after the Pentagon announced it was tracking a suspected surveillance balloon.
A professor at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said that he wanted 100% control because of his personality. “I don’t think Xi Jinping allows for that kind of autonomy.”
Instead, Xi may have been comfortable with an incident that diverted the attention of a public frustrated amid a faltering economy after years under the recently dismantled zero-Covid policy – but underestimated the US domestic response that resulted in the postponed talks, Wu said.
Washington may be trying to convince Beijing that it wasn’t aware of the situation during the meeting between Xi and Joe Biden at the G20.
In the last week, US fighter jets have taken down objects in North American airspace, marking the third incident in a week.
A senior administration official told CNN that the object was flying over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was unclear, with strings hanging off, according to one official and another source briefed on the matter.
A US official says that the object did not seem to have any type of surveilance equipment, which would make it less sophisticated than the Chinese balloon shot.
The disclosures seemed designed to put to rest ongoing speculation about the origins of the balloons, the remnants of which are still waiting to be collected by investigators. Administration officials have increasingly cast doubt on their ability to fully recover debris from the objects, given tough conditions where they landed.
Recovery teams are currently searching for and identifying debris on the ocean floor.
When asked Friday if lessons learned about China’s balloon assisted in detecting the object shot down over Alaska, Ryder said it was “a little bit of apples and oranges.”
Observation of the shootdown of a heavy rocket launcher by the USA and Canada after the balloon crisis: How do NORAD search for high-altitude objects?
The White House stated in a statement that the shoot down was approved by both the US President and Canadian Prime Minister.
The FBI will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, while Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations.
Some pilots said that it interfered with their sensors, but others didn’t see that, a source told CNN.
The assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemisphere affairs told reporters on Sunday they were taken down out of anabundance of caution.
High altitude objects can be used for legitimate research by a range of companies, countries, and research organizations.
Chuck Schumer said that the object shot down over Canada was probably a balloon and that Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, told him about it.
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.
Still, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh noted Sunday “these objects shot down on Friday and Saturday were objects and did not closely resemble the PRC balloon. When we can recover the debris, we will have more for you.”
The findings have allowed the US to develop a consistent technical method for the first time, which they have used to track the balloons in near-real time across the globe, the sources said.
NORAD command changed its filters in order to better spot slow moving targets at a certain altitude.
If the latter situation is the case, is NORAD now picking up more objects that are potentially hostile given a state of 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? Is this a new problem that the aviation industry should be concerned about?
Airborne Aerial Objects Shot Down by the US on Sunday During the Biden epoch of World War II: Senator Lisa Slotkin and Senator Mike Schumer
The Pentagon said a US F-16 shot down an airborne object on Sunday at the direction of President Joe Biden.
CNN reported earlier that Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan said she received a call from the Department of Defense saying the US military “has an extremely close eye” on an object above Lake Huron.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to know the answers. Politicians on both sides of the aisle met the news of further objects being shot down with a range of responses Sunday.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner told CNN that the Biden administration does appear “somewhat trigger-happy, although this is certainly preferable to the permissive environment that they showed when the Chinese spy balloon was coming over some of our most sensitive sites.”
“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. And then we need to invest,” added Turner. There are some problems and gaps that we have. We need to fill those as soon as possible because we certainly now ascertain there is a threat.”
The Democratic congressman from Connecticut said he had real concerns about why the administration was not being more forthcoming with information.
Schumer said Congress needs to investigate why it took so long for the US to catch up to the Chinese use of spy balloons.
Three days in a row the US launched fighter jets to shoot down a trio of unknown aerial objects over North America, threatening a political storm.
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.
NORAD and the US Northern Command usually take against airborne objects in US airspace, but recent objects shot down might be the first such action.
Is the Chinese Balloon or the Latest Object Leaders Response Organized? Unknown Objects at Biden’s Home and Office
It’s possible that in a unique, fast-moving situation, the government may not know much more than it is saying. But the piecemeal emergence of details is adding to the confusion. On issues including the Chinese balloon and the discovery of classified vice presidential documents at Biden’s home and office, the administration has sometimes struggled to control a media narrative to its own political detriment.
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.
Such speculation may be premature. The debate over the balloon has changed Bidens tolerance threshold for unknown aerial objects.
Vice President Biden has yet to speak to Americans about the incidents over the weekend, because he was not at a black-tie event on Saturday.
“They are getting lots 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.
“What we can’t answer now is, is this bigger aperture picking up lots of stuff that has essentially been forgiven, around in the skies, because it didn’t pose a threat, or is it part of something organized for whatever surveillance?”
There was confusion on Sunday. On ABC’s “This Week,” Schumer said that the balloons that were shot down are smaller than the original Chinese guy, and that he had already been briefed by Jake Sullivan.
There is no confirmation that the Chinese balloon is connected to the latest objects, but there is a direct link between it and the latest objects.
What have we learnt about unidentified aerial phenomena? A White House briefing with the Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby
He said it doesn’t give him much safety knowing that the devices are smaller. Cumulative data that is being collected is concerned me. … I need some answers, and the American people need answers.”
“There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent take-downs…. I wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that, and it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made it clear when speaking to journalists on Monday that there will be no calls for Agent Mulder and Agent Scully to make a return:
The act of sending the balloon over the heart of our country was an irresponsible act and was a violation of international law. So that’s what’s critical. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that we are committed to finding ways to responsibly manage it, to engage.”
One thing we have not detected, is that these have been going on in the past. Multiple phenomena have been picked up by our radars. The equipment they detected was not that refined and we didn’t know what it was. It cannot discern down to an exquisite level of detail what an anomaly in the air might be. It is possible that we will see a balloon or an aircraft if we pick up some weather phenomena. And it turns out to be a weather anomaly just in the atmosphere. And again, some of this could be corrected with newer technologies.”
Apparently the lesson the military is learning is that if you look for unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs, you will find them floating in US skies.
Since the objects were shot down from the sky over North America, administration officials want to find their remains so that they can shed light on their nature.
The American people should not worry about aliens with respect to these craft. The period is over. There’s nothing more to be said on that,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, at a White House briefing Monday.
He suggested that the downed objects were not sending signals, were not maneuvering or having any propulsion capabilities, and were not manned.
A New Mysterious Objects-in-Sky-What-Matters? The UAPs in Alaska, Canada, and the United States
The government is working to appear engaged as a result of scrutiny of President Joe Biden’s lack of public comment. National security adviser Jake Sullivan is set to lead a new “interagency team” to assess the UAPs.
She said that the people were flying around 40,000 feet with balloon-like features and small metal objects attached to them because they were over Alaska and northern Canada.
The filters were only readjusted and broadened in the past week, the source said, after a high-altitude, suspected Chinese spy balloon transited the US and ignited a debate over the United States’ ability to detect and defend against any potentially threatening objects entering its airspace.
About half of the total are “characterized as balloon or balloon-like entities.” Others act like they are flying above the ground. The debris seems to be nothing more than plastic bags.
SANNER: There was a lot of discussion when we first started looking at this in 2021, that these were aliens. I think people have put a lot of effort into explaining most of these things. These stories come together, right?
What do we really need in the next century? It’s important to understand what we’ve seen and what we don’t know about ourselves
Many times, pilots were discouraged from talking about things that they’ve seen, so they were stigmatized as spy or other kinds of threats. Getting these things out there is very important.
There is a novelist named Sanner These things aren’t that hard to do. This is something that’s low-tech. It brings up our vulnerabilities. Do you think so? The defense of the continental US has been neglected in terms of this kind of threat.
We’ve invested in ballistic missile defense, but not in this. And so, that might be a secret to all of us, but it’s not to the US military, and the Biden administration actually put money into the budget this year to start looking at this.
We have a big gap. We only focus on anything coming over the North Pole. But if something comes in south of Alaska, we might not see it.
And then we have this technology gap, in terms of most of our radars are from the 1980s. Our processors do not have the ability to look through that amount of material. We have to find threats that look similar to what we know as threats.
The story of “Everybody spies”: China’s latest airspace attack on the South China Sea and what it has to do with the United States
SANNER: We’re in a liar, liar, pants on fire moment here. I think that the Chinese are going to make things up so they can cover their tracks.
It could take some time to figure out what the objects were, says Andrew McCabe, a CNN senior law enforcement analyst.
Some of those who are coming down are harder to reach places than others. “Then those materials have to be transported back to Virginia, to the FBI laboratory at Quantico.
“Then the right partners, whether they are international partners or researchers here from the United States, have to be assembled to participate in what we call the exploitation of that technology, of the equipment.
Time is needed for all of that. I have no doubt that we will understand the full scope of what these things are, and what they are capable of, but it might not be quickly.”
While there has been some criticism of the Biden administration for not communicating more effectively, there is bipartisan support to shoot the objects down.
“I would prefer them to be happy, rather than relaxed, but we’re going to have to see whether this is just the administration trying to change headlines,” Turner told CNN on “State of the Union.”
Analysts say that China’s increased hardline stance has exposed the inconsistencies and inherent contradictions in Beijing’s messaging, damaging its credibility.
On Monday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson also accused the US of frequently sending warships and planes to carry out close-range reconnaissance against China, which the spokesman claimed amounted to a total of 657 times last year – and 64 times this January in the South China Sea.
China’s latest tactic was described by a senior research fellow as a large case of what-aboutism.
“And it’s been quite contradictory. And it’s largely directed towards the domestic audience, which is why I think it lacks credibility with the other countries.”
“‘Everybody spies’ is a poorly considered trope that does not justify China’s intrusion in other countries’ airspace. He said that the Law of the Sea matters are just as relevant as respect for international law.
In addition to existing territorial disputes, the definition of national airspace is also complicated by the fact that the upper limit of the sovereign airspace is not completely settled under international law.
“In the past and till recently, the Chinese military had challenged foreign military aerial activities in the international airspace in such manner as though it’s national airspace,” he said, citing the 2001 collision between a US Navy spy plane with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea as an example.
“In recent years, the Chinese military has also been challenging foreign military aerial activities over the Spratlys, including those run by the Filipinos when they flew close to the Chinese-occupied outposts,” he said.
How high can we go for airspace? Rep. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tells the lawmakers: Airborne debris recovery from supersonic airliner Concorde
It extends to the maximum height at which military and commercial aircraft operate. Concorde, a retired Franco-British supersonic airliner, operated at 60,000 feet (18,300 meters), setting a precedent for how high national airspace may extend to, he said.
John Kirby, strategic communicationordinator at the National Security Council, said that the intelligence community is considering a leading explanation as to why these are balloons.
The senators were reassured by the administration that the objects did not pose a threat to the Americans, after hearing from them.
“There are a lot of these things that are up in the air from time to time, some commercial, some government and maybe there’s some things we don’t know,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, adding he wasn’t worried “in the slightest” that the objects themselves pose a threat to the American people.
If we were to get our hands on that debris and look at it, it would give us a good idea of what the objects were and why they were there. Kirby said that they are going to continue the intensive recovery efforts.
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.
Kirby said the government was relying on information from the Federal Aviation Administration to figure out why airborne devices are making noise.
Canadian officials and the media after the June 16 shooting of Yukon and Lake Huron, a high-altitude object shot down over Canada and the US
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the search area in Yukon was a “fairly large area” in dense wilderness. Other Canadian officials were candid Monday about the difficult task of recovering debris from high-altitude objects shot down over Canada and the US.
There isn’t any guarantee that we will find them, but we are working very hard. 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 said they have deployed investigators with explosives, chemical, biological and radiological expertise.
The White House press secretary’s statement that the US military had not shot down any aliens from outer space was an absolute slam dunk.
Officials have been particularly sensitive to the inherently mysterious nature of the airborne objects, and how ripe the recent series of events was for conspiracy theories.
“Everyone wants answers that no one has at the moment,” one official said, conceding there was a risk with the void of information that conspiracies could sprout.
A determination was made that even in the absence of much concrete information that could be shared with the public about the three recently downed objects, it would be prudent to publicly rule out – as quickly as possible – the possibility of extraterrestrial activity, sources said.
Administration officials say they are trying to provide as much information as possible but that the circumstances are not ideal for effective communication.
Biden himself has expressed a desire to be as transparent as possible about the devices with both Congress and the American public, according to officials, but the president has acknowledged that without a full picture of what the objects were, his ability to communicate on them is limited.
One lawmaker who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee had told CNN on Monday that it would be prudent for Biden to directly address the public, particularly given that the situation was ripe for conspiracy theories.
The recovery of a massive airship from a February 4 shootdown by China: a U.S. embassy in Washington, D.C.
The recovery operation has included the use of a crane to bring up large pieces of the airship, which was kept aloft by a balloon estimated to be up to 200 feet tall.
The U.S. has dismissed that explanation emphatically — most notably by blowing the balloon out of the sky on Feb. 4, after it had soared over much of the continental U.S.
Even before that shootdown, analysts urged the Biden administration not to allow the craft to return to China — both to limit the data it might convey, and to allow the U.S. to gain its own insights by recovering the equipment.
Kirby said on Tuesday that new guidance would be given by the National Security Council by the end of the week.
The U.S. briefs 40 other countries about the Chinese balloon crash. Both houses of Congress get classified briefings on the incident. The House has passed a resolution condemning China’s alleged spied on the US.
Emily reported from Taiwan. Lexie was in Washington, D.C. Vincent Ni and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
They will both be at the conference this weekend. US officials said that a meeting between the two doesn’t currently plan, but they have not ruled it out.
How is the Chinese Balloon Moving? Ryder’s comment on the Pentagon’s response to a Pentagon teleportation question
Asked earlier this month whether the Chinese government is “controlling the movement of the balloon, or is it just floating with air streams,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder declined to comment in detail.
“I’m not going to go into any specific intelligence that we may have,” he said. “Again, we know this is a Chinese balloon and that it has the ability to maneuver, but I’ll just leave it at that.”