Who did the object shot down over Alaska belong to?
The Pentagon has confirmed that the US military took out the ‘object’ just days after a Chinese spy balloon met the same fate over American waters.
The National Security Council has confirmed that a “high-altitude object” was shot down over Alaskan airspace on Friday afternoon. White House official John Kirby confirmed that the object was shot down by the military after being tracked by the Pentagon for the previous 24 hours.
Officials were able to determine that the object was unmanned and decided to take out the object while it flew over Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. The White House has not given any real information about the object itself, but links have been drawn to the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down last week.
“We’re calling this an object because that’s the best description we have right now,” said Kirby, who currently serves as a strategic communicator for the National Security Council. “We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned or privately-owned. We just don’t know.”
Why did the military shoot down the flying object?
President Biden has faced criticism from Republicans this week for failing to act quicker in response to the spy balloon that was identified over the US earlier this month. The Pentagon was aware of that object for a number of days before the decision was made to take it out of the sky.
Speaking to reporters at a White House press briefing on Friday, Kirby explained: “The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object and they did and it came inside our territorial waters and those waters right now are frozen.”
The White House claims that the positioning of this object, away from the US mainland, meant that shooting it down posed no risk to the population. During the briefing, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated that the object was shot down at 1:45pm (ET) by an F-22 fighter jet, using an A9X missile.
Was the Alaska object from China?
In the immediate aftermath of the incident the White House was eager to avoid making reference to the Chinese balloon that was shot down recently. The administration has simply referred to it as ‘an object’, but national security experts have raised the possibility that it was another Chinese craft.
Former Pentagon official Michael P. Mulroy said that shooting down the object was the right thing to do, but stressed the importance of continued dialogue between the US and China at a time when tensions are heightened.
“If it was another Chinese spy balloon, that indicates that China is either incompetent in operating these platforms or potentially deliberately provoking the US,” Mulroy told The New York Times.
“It is also important for the U.S. and China to maintain direct communications during times like this. Especially between the militaries.”
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