Trudeau says the US jet shoots down an object over northern Canada
A Comment on CNN’s Cost of Chaos: My Dad and the Flying Spy Balloon Program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
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 is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” His own views are expressed in this commentary. View more opinion on CNN.
It made me think of when my dad worked in the Air Force to help send balloons into Soviet airspace.
In 1954 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. There he worked on the Grand Union Project, in which balloons carried cameras over the Soviet Union. Those spy balloons were launched from Turkey.
My dad didn’t talk about this part of his career much, likely because the work was secret, but the program has long since been declassified since it happened around seven decades ago.
The US and its spy satellites have been seen by millions of people over the past few years, and now they have been discovered by the Maxar Technologies program
There have been balloons used to spy since the 18th century. Some of Napoleon’s soldiers used them to find out more about him. The Union Balloon Corps were used to track the Confederate armies during the US Civil War.
The US and its rivals have spy satellites that can take photos. They can do a 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.
Indeed, commercial satellite imagery is now getting so inexpensive that you can go out and buy your own close-up images of, say, a Russian battle group in Ukraine. Just ask Maxar Technologies; they have built up a rather profitable business on this model, which was just acquired two months ago for $6 billion by a private equity firm.
But administration officials argued that the US didn’t move earlier to shoot down the balloon in part over fears it could provoke an escalation of military tensions with China. They also told lawmakers the balloon was not first shot down when it entered Alaskan airspace because the waters there are cold and deep, making it less likely they could have recovered the balloon.
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.
Some of the balloons that the Pentagon identified could be from China, which raises some interesting questions. They also assessed some of the “unexplained disappearances” of orbs and found out they were Chinese balloons.
But China has arguably done much worse. US officials claim that China benefited from the work done by hackers who stole design data for the F-35 fighter aircraft, and that there was much personal information of 20 million Americans that was taken when they worked for the government. China called the F-35 theft report “baseless” and denied responsibility for the OPM hacking.
The program which includes a number of balloons is run out of a small Chinese province, officials tell CNN. The US does not know the precise size of the fleet of Chinese surveillance balloons, but sources tell CNN that the program has conducted at least two dozen missions over at least five continents in recent years.
Roughly half a dozen of those flights have been within US airspace – although not necessarily over US territory, according to one official familiar with the intelligence.
The model of balloon used in the shooting down off the coast of South Carolina had not been the same model seen around the globe, a source familiar with the intelligence said. These people said that there are many different variations.
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.
“When the balloon is in our hands, we can look at the technology, we can rebuild the supply chain, find out who helped build it, what components were important to it,” said Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. You can tell its functions and specifications. It has a very high intelligence value.
The balloon was spotted after entering the US Air Defense Identification Zone over Alaska on January 28 and flying over Canada the next day. It then reentered continental US airspace three days later.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on February 3 that the airship deviated from its planned route because of westerly wind and limited self-control. The Chinese government regrets that the airship got into the United States. China will continue to maintain communication with the US.
But multiple defense officials and other sources briefed on the intelligence say the Chinese explanation isn’t credible and have described the balloon’s path as intentional.
An elite team consisting of agents, analysts, engineers and scientists is responsible for both creating technical surveille measures and analyzing the US adversaries.
OTD personnel, for example, construct surveillance devices used by FBI and intelligence community personnel targeting national security threats — but they also are responsible for managing court-authorized data collection and work to defeat efforts by foreign intelligence agencies to penetrate the US.
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 where it’s going and what it’s doing.
A defense official said the US has procedures in place to protect sensitive locations from being surveilled.
The US military ended its hunt for a spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina earlier in the month as well as the search for flying objects it later downed off the coast of Alaska after days of fruitless searches.
NoRAD Commander Confirmed the Low-Average Size Of The Payloads of a High Altitude Jet Airliner
General Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD, categorized the size of the payloads as a jet airliner type of size, weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
The Defense Department did not have information about the object’s “purpose, or origin”, as stated by Ryder. He said the object was small and not similar in size to the high altitude balloon that was taken down off the coast of South Carolina.
“[F]rom a safety standpoint, picture yourself with large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky. That’s really what we’re kind of talking about,” VanHerck said on Monday. Glass off of solar panels, potentially hazardous material, such as material that is required for a batteries to operate in such an environment as this, and even the potential for explosives to explode and destroy the balloon that could have been present.
Van Herck said that the time frame gave them the chance to assess what they were doing, what kind of capabilities existed on the balloon, and what kind of transmission capabilities existed.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Tan Kefei said on Sunday that the US had “used force to attack our civilian unmanned airship, which is an obvious overreaction.”
President Joe Biden stated on Wednesday that bilateral relations with China had not been affected by the balloon shootdown, however China reacted angrily and Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his trip to Beijing. New sanctions in response to the balloon would likely further inflame tensions.
She declined to comment on the equipment on board the balloon and the entities that own the balloon. Chinese statements have implied that the balloon was not operated by a government entity, but instead was linked to one or more companies. It has not named them.
Mao Ning said that China is a responsible country. We have always followed international law. We informed all the parties and acted appropriately, which did not pose any threats to any countries.
What have we learnt about the Biden administration’s response to the Xi Jinping shooting? A congressional briefing on the matter of a shot down spy balloon
The new details come as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pressing to gain a better understanding of why the Biden administration shot down three unidentified objects in three days following the take down of the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the US the previous weekend.
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.
The only evidence that has been delivered to the FBI so far is theopy itself, the wiring and a small amount of electronics, according to one official. The official said analysts have not yet seen the “payload,” which is where you would expect to see the “lion’s share” of electronics.
The commander of US Northern Command and NORAD said on Monday that they did not assess that it presented a significant collection hazard.
Feb. 14: The US military says it has recovered key data from a Chinese balloon that was shot down. The senators were told the floating objects do not pose an immediate threat to Americans during the classified briefings they received. But some urge Biden administration officials to share more information with the public after a classified briefing.
The sources claim that several Republicans were railing against the administration during the House briefing Thursday morning.
The paramount concern they had, as they expressed in real time, was the safety, and I think that was accurate, the Pentagon was telling us that.
“I believe that the administration, the president, our military and intelligence agencies, acted skillfully and with care. Their capabilities are extraordinary. Was everything done correctly? I can’t imagine that would be the case of almost anything we do. Romney said Thursday he came away with more confidence.
What have U.S. Navy and Space Departments Learned About the alleged Chinese spy balloon out of the Atlantic? A brief update on what the Pentagon has learned so far
Jon Tester of Montana asked the officials to say that it was not a military threat, and they did not know how to do that.
Please help me understand what happened because I am telling you that this is not the last time I take this baby out. We’ve [seen] brief incursions, now we’ve seen a long incursion, what happens next?,” said Tester, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The official said that based on China’s “messaging and public comments, it’s clear that they have been scrambling to explain why they violated US sovereignty and still have no plausible explanation – and have found themselves on their heels.”
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 surface of the ocean have been delivered so far, while recovering additional pieces of the balloon that sunk has been complicated by bad weather, officials said.
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.
Of the small portion they have examined, analysts have not identified any sort of explosive or “offensive material” that would pose a danger to the American public.
There was English writing on parts of the balloon that were found, one of the sources familiar with the congressional briefings said, though they were not high-tech components. The source wouldn’t give a detailed description of what happened in the balloon.
“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. It will be harder for the PRC to use this program, because the program will continue to be exposed.
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.
High-Altitude Object Collision with a Suspected Chinese Surveillance Balloon Over Alaska, as Determined by the Pentagon
Wang said this shows the U.S. is the largest surveillance empire in the world. The U.S. National Security Council denies the allegations.
And the government is investing in improvements, too. The project in China was about researching materials that could be utilized to make balloons that can float higher with no loss of buoyancy.
Senior Trump administration officials including former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, as well as ex- national security adviser John Bolton have all said they were not notified that Chinese balloons entered US airspace under the last administration.
On Friday, the US military shot down a “high-altitude object” over Alaska after US officials determined that it posed a “reasonable threat to civilian air traffic” as it was flying at 40,000 feet. The object was brought down by fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command, and Biden referred to the operation as a “success.” Recovery teams are trying to recover the debris that is sitting on top of ice in US territorial waters.
Three times in one week the US has shot down an object in North American airspace. Saturday’s incident follows the downing of another unidentified object on Friday over Alaska, and the shoot-down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on February 4 by a US F-22 fighter jet.
A statement from the Pentagon. The object shot down on Saturday was first seen over Alaska on Friday. Two F-22 fighter jets “monitored the object” with the help of the Alaska Air National Guard, Ryder’s statement said, “tracking it closely and taking time to characterize the nature of the object.”
Kirby said during a White House press briefings that the object posed a “reasonable Threat to the Safety of Civilian Flight” and flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
The Pentagon had enough information for Biden to be briefed on the object Thursday evening, according to Kirby. It “did not appear to be self-maneuvering,” Kirby said.
The pilots assessment was that this was not manned, because fighter aircrafts were able to get around it before the order to shoot it down.
Two Canadian Air Force-18 andCP-140 aircraft joined the formation to assess the object after it crossed into Canadian airspace. A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile,” his statement added.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Alaska Air National Guard worked with the US Northern Command to coordinate the operation.
The Deadhorse, Alaska, Object Shot Down by the State or the Foreign Office of the Joint Forces in July and September 2001
The best description we have right now is an object. Kirby said that they didn’t know who owned it or whether it was state-owned or corporate-owned.
The object first came to the attention of the US government “last evening.” The Pentagon had enough information for Biden to be briefed as soon as possible.
The object was at the mercy of prevailing winds, which meant it was much less predictable.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction Friday in the area around Deadhorse, Alaska, as the military took action against the object.
It was difficult for pilots to get a lot of information since it was so small and the speed at which they flew was not very fast.
It is not known if the object shot down over Alaska on Friday is related to the spy balloon shot down last week.
There was continued monitoring as the object crossed into Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to assess the object.
The US has not been able to say what the objects were, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. But, he added, there is no sign yet that the objects might have been spy balloons operated by China or another foreign nation.
Ryder said on Friday that recovery teams have “mapped the debris field” and are “in the process of 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.”
“As Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations to help our countries learn more about the object, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” Ryder said in his Saturday statement.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand tweeted Saturday that she had discussed the incident with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “and reaffirmed that we’ll always defend our sovereignty together.”
What Have We Learned about the Airborne Shot-downs of an Airborne Object over Lake Huron, New Zealand, and the US Northern Command?
Recovering activities are taking place on sea ice. We don’t have information about the object, including its purpose or origin.
The White House stated that the shoot down was approved by US President Joe Biden and Trudeau.
Pilots gave different accounts of what they observed after coming near the object, a source briefed on the intelligence told CNN; some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” but other pilots said they didn’t experience that.
The three mystery aerial devices have been shot down over the past few days, and have consumed areas of the federal government. For the sake of a conspiracy, the administration has not been able to say what they are doing, where they are from or what type of craft they are.
The intrigue is unfolding as relations with rising superpower China and with the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukrainian are already difficult.
“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.
The F-16 shot down a high-altitude object over Lake Huron, which is between Michigan and Ontario. The Pentagon said the object was a flight hazard and 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 recent shot downs of objects over US airspace were likely the first in a string of such actions by NORAD and the US Northern Command.
The Chinese Balloon Crisis: The Political Impact of Biden’s State of the Union Address on the Military and Civil Libertarian Affairs
It’s possible that in a unique, fast-moving situation, the government may not know much more than it is saying. The emergence of details adds 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.
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? 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 impact of this string of incidents is what we want to know. Republicans were critical of Biden for suggesting that the Chinese balloon could have caused injury to civilians or damage to buildings due to waiting so long to shoot it down. He forcibly warned China in his subsequent State of the Union address that he would defend US sovereignty. His aides have called his response to the events of subsequent incidents a decisive commander in chief. The White House has understood that the Americans would find out that he wasn’t doing everything to defend the homeland.
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. The critique of Biden, given the claims that the president did not act quickly enough, was novel.
“They do 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,” Turner told Jake Tapper.
Biden and the New Black-Tie Intruders: Two More Shot Down, and a Direct Link to the CNN Newsroom
Biden, who didn’t address the new intrusions at a black-tie event with state governors on Saturday, has yet to speak to Americans in person about the trio of incidents over the weekend.
In a news briefing Monday following the extraordinary three-day stretch, the White House made clear the many things it still did not know. It wasn’t certain if the three downed objects had the ability to surveil. It was hard to say what the objects looked like because the fighter jets would have been traveling at such fast speeds. It was still not clear where the objects came from or who they belonged to.
They are getting a lot of positives that they didn’t get before. Kayyem was an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
It is not possible to say if the bigger aperture picking up lots of stuff that has been forgiven around in the skies is part of something organized for whatever spy activity is taking place.
On Sunday, there was more confusion. 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.
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.
The Shoot-Down of a High-Altitude Aircraft Object by the U.S. Senator and Vice President Joe Biden
It doesn’t make me feel safer knowing that the devices are smaller. “I am very concerned with the cumulative data that is being collected. … I need some answers, and the American people need answers.”
The White House is not dealing with a laughing matter, even if Jean-Pierre referred to extraterrestrial activity. The White House was besieged by incoming questions about the four objects shot down by the president and the reason behind them after they started getting questions about the Chinese spy balloon and why Biden took them down.
The Pentagon has not sent an official memo to Capitol Hill but they are still sending correspondence to the relevant committees, according to a defense official.
Legislators and congressional aides told CNN that the shoot- downs felt like an overcorrection to the Chinese spy balloon incident, but they cautioned that it’s too early to say.
“What’s happening now is we’re actually looking for these with extra vigilance. We have different ways of looking for them. We’re starting to see them in different ways,” Colorado Democratic Rep. Jason Crow said on “CNN This Morning” on Monday.
It turned out that most of the things we were looking for didn’t look like balloons. We are looking for them. So, I think we’re probably finding more stuff,” Himes added.
Questions about the balloon and other objects that were recently shot down — and the U.S. approach to the airborne objects — prompted a classified intelligence briefing for the entire Senate Tuesday morning. That session will be followed by a closed hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.
The White House on Monday denied that President Joe Biden’s recent swift actions to take down high-altitude objects identified hovering over American airspace were the result of political pressure, following earlier critiques that he waited too long to make the call to shoot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
The National Security Council’s strategic communications head John Kirby said the decisions were based on the best interests of the American people.
NORTHCOM Observations of the Second High-Altitude Balloon Launch and the First Launch of an F-16 Jet at Lake Huron
A defense official said that the radar used by North American Aerospace Defense Command was adjusted after the initial high-altitude balloon sighting. “We continue to refine detection settings, and that won’t stop just because we have identified these smaller objects,” the official said.
The White House legislative affairs office sent a memo to Capitol Hill saying they were trying to find what’s left of objects to better understand them.
“We have no further details about the object at this time, including the full scope of its capabilities, its purpose, or its origin,” the Pentagon memo states.
US Coast Guard ships were deployed to search the site in Lake Huron where the third object was shot down, and the Pentagon memo said no additional information was available about the description of that object.
The first missile that was launched by an F-16 fighter jet at the object near Lake Huron on Sunday did not hit the target, three people briefed on the matter told CNN.
The first missile did not strike the target but NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck said it was difficult to acquire and target a small object.
The pilots opted to use short-range AIM-9X Sidewinders, which are capable of seeing the heat contrast between an object and the surrounding area. The first missile failed to hit its target. It is not clear what happened to the missile.
The White House has no plans to remove the debris from a high-altitude object over Canada or the US, but a top official says the objects are harmless
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. a top White House official said on Tuesday that they were likely harmless.
“The intelligence community’s considering as a leading explanation that these could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose,” John Kirby, the strategic communication coordinator at the National Security Council, said Tuesday.
On Capitol Hill, senators emerging from a classified briefing on the objects said they were reassured after hearing from administration officials that the objects posed no threat to the American people.
Romney said, “There are things that are up in the air, there are some things we don’t know and there are things that don’t matter.”
The last pieces of debris are being transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Virginia where they will be used for counterintelligence exploitation. U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard vessels have departed the area. Air and maritime safety perimeters have been lifted.
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 instead on information and expertise from the Federal Aviation Administration and the intelligence community to glean what they could about the mysterious airborne devices.
One administration official said the government is leaning as much as possible on the US intelligence community to assess the objects. Observations by US military pilots, as well as the objects’ flight patterns before they were shot down, are all being studied, the official said.
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 difficult task of recovering debris from high altitude objects shot down over Canada and the US.
“We are working very hard to locate them, but there’s no guarantee 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.
“There is no… any indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with the recent take-downs” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
And the White House separately reassures Americans: “There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says at her daily briefing.
There was no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with the take- downs, she said. “Wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that. It was important for us to say it since we have been hearing a lot about it.
The recent series of events was ripe for conspiracy theories because of the inherently mysterious nature of the airborne objects.
“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.
The determination was made that even with no concrete information to share with the public, it would be wise to rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial activity as quickly as possible.
Administration officials say their goal is to give as much information as they can about the objects, but they say the circumstances are not ideal for effective communication.
According to officials, Biden wants to be as transparent as possible about the devices, but the president knows that he can’t communicate on them without a full picture of what the objects are.
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 the U.S. airship from a Chinese balloon shooting: A strained relationship between the United States, China and the rest of the world
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 analysts urged the Biden administration not to allow the craft to come back to China, and also to allow the US to recover the equipment and gain its own insights from it.
News of the intrusive Chinese balloon touched off alerts in the U.S. and beyond. When the Pentagon claimed that a high-altitude balloon was flying over Latin America, China said it was a research balloon that had been badly off-course and that events were beyond the country’s control.
Kirby said on Tuesday that the National Security Council probably will give new guidance on how the U.S. will handle aerial objects objects in the future.
The relationship between the US and China has been strained in recent years by a number of crises, including a trade war and disagreements over human rights.
The US briefs 40 other countries about the Chinese balloon shooting. Both chambers of Congress are briefed on Capitol Hill about the incident. The House passes a unanimous resolution condemning China’s alleged surveillance of the U.S.
Emily reported from Taiwan. Lexie reported from Washington D.C. Vincent Ni and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
Blinken and Wang will both attend the Munich Security Conference this weekend. US officials said a meeting between the two is not currently planned but have not fully ruled out the possibility.
State of the Art and Future Directions of the U.S. Intelligence Mission after the Decoherence of the First Spy Balloon
The Pentagon was asked whether the Chinese government is controlling the balloon movement or if it’s just floating with air streams. Gen. Pat Ryder declined to comment in detail.
“I’m not going to go into any specific intelligence that we may have,” he said. We know this is a Chinese balloon and that it has the ability to maneuver, but I will leave it at that.
Biden has directed national security adviser Jake Sullivan to lead an “interagency team” to review U.S. procedures after the U.S. shot down the Chinese balloon, as well as three other objects that Biden said the U.S. now believes were most likely “benign” objects launched by private companies or research institutions.
The US will be crafting parameters moving forward on how to handle unidentified objects in US airspace that could pose a risk to civilian aircraft, Biden said.
Administration officials from the State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence community have briefed lawmakers on the initial Chinese spy balloon in recent days.
The military was criticized for not downing the first balloon quickly enough by Republicans on Capitol Hill. They wanted him to speak on the matter.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry states that a Chinese weather balloon was found on an outlying island (Report on Taiyuan Wireless First Factory Ltd.)
“The military advised against shooting it down over land because of the sheer size of it. He said that if it was shot down, it would pose a risk to people on the ground. “Instead, we tracked it closely, we analyzed its capabilities and we learned more about how it operates. We were able to protect sensitive sites due to our knowledge of its path. We waited until it was safely over water, which would not only protect civilians, but also enable us to recover substantial components for further analytics.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry says a Chinese weather balloon landed on one of the island’s outlying islands.
The ministry’s statement on Thursday said the balloon carried equipment registered to a state-owned electronics company in the northern city of Taiyuan.
The Taiwan Air Identification Zone is used by military aircraft and warships from China. Taiwan is increasing military purchases from the U.S., adding domestically produced planes, boats and subs, and extending compulsory military service for all males.
Reached by phone, a publicity officer at the company, identified in the report as Taiyuan Wireless (Radio) First Factory Ltd., said it had provided electronics but had not built the balloon.
The company was one of many that supplied the equipment to the China Meteorological Administration, according to the spokesman.
The balloon was likely among those launched daily to monitor weather and was probably set off from the coastal city of Xiamen with no fixed course, he said.
Its deflation was likely a natural outcome of it having reached maximum altitude of around 30,000 meters (almost 100,000 feet), Liu said. He said that the balloons flew over the Taiwan Strait occasionally but that recently they started to draw attention.
The three still-unidentified pieces of debris that fell into the Lake and into the water: “It’s gonna be tough to find them, but I’m afraid I won’t know definitively”
The Defense Ministry in Taiwan said that the equipment information was written in simplified Chinese characters and not in Taiwanese characters.
Washington is Taiwan’s closest military and diplomatic ally, despite a lack of formal ties, which were cut in 1979. Beijing protests over all contacts between the island and the US but it’s aggressive diplomacy helped build bipartisan support in Congress.
While not expressing regret for downing the three still-unidentified objects, Biden said he hoped the new rules would help “distinguish between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.”
The US Northern Command said in a statement on Friday that the recovery effort was over after Navy assets located and retrieved debris from the balloon.
NORTHCOM said in a statement later in the day that it would end the search for two of the three objects shot down over North America last weekend, stating that”the US military, federal agencies, and Canadian partners conducted systematic searches of each area using a variety of capabilities, including airborne imagery and sensors, surface sensors and inspections, and subsurface scans, and did not locate the debris.”
The public probably won’t get a full explanation of what the objects were that were shot down over the course of three days.
John Kirby, the National Security Council official for strategic communications, said at a White House press briefing on Friday that he could not promise that they would get to that level of detail.
The Canadian Mounted Police have not been able to locate the object that fell into the lake and the Canadians decided not to look for it.
“So pretty tough conditions, going to be very difficult to find them, let alone once you find that debris be able to do the forensics to identify it. So I can’t promise you that we’ll know definitively one way or the other,” he added.