John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications for the National Security Council, speaks during a daily press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, Feb. 13, 2023.
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WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday Defended the President Joe Biden’s Having made the decision to shoot down three low-flying objects in US and Canadian airspace over the past three days, it had not yet been decided Exactly what the object is, who owns it, or its purpose.
“We have not yet been able to definitively assess what these newest objects are,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing at the White House.
“And while we have no clear reason to suspect they’re doing some kind of surveillance, we couldn’t rule it out.
All three spacecraft were about the size of a small car and floated on the wind.
One of the three planes was destroyed Friday in U.S. airspace in Alaska waters. It was cylindrical and hovered at an altitude of about 40,000 feet, Kirby said, posing a threat to commercial aircraft.
On Saturday, the US and Canada coordinated using US military jets to shoot down a second object. This time it took place overland in the remote Yukon, Canada.
The spacecraft was similar in size, shape and altitude to the one shot down Friday, Kirby said.
The third object was octagonal and was flying low at about 20,000 feet. The object was shot down at Lake Huron on the US-Canada border on Sunday.
According to Kirby, the sharp increase in the number of objects shot down in recent days was due to A giant Chinese spy balloon in late January.
The balloon is 200 feet tall, Carried a payload of surveillance equipment. Defense officials chose to let it float over the continental United States for a week before shooting it down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
“One of the reasons we’re seeing more [aerial objects]that’s because we’re looking for more,” Kirby said Monday, taking pains to avoid calling the three newest objects “balloons.”
“We must separate [the three recent objects] “From a Chinese reconnaissance balloon,” he said. There is
“We know that [Chinese] Surveillance balloons have crossed dozens of countries on multiple continents around the world, including our closest allies and partners,” Kirby said.
“We also know that various entities, including countries, corporations, research institutes, and academic institutions, operate objects at these altitudes for non-malicious purposes, including scientific research,” he said. Told.
Efforts to retrieve debris from the recent incident have so far been hampered by remote terrain and sub-zero temperatures, both on land and in the deep waters of Lake Huron and the Arctic Ocean.
On Monday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said US and Canadian teams had “recovered no debris” after three shootouts over the weekend. “I don’t know if they were actually collecting information,” he told reporters shortly after landing in Brussels.
In addition to the faster recovery and forensic investigation of the objects themselves, the Biden administration took steps Monday to address the broader implications of these objects for U.S. defense and foreign policy.
Kirby told reporters at the White House that a new interagency task force will be created to study the broader implications of “the detection, analysis, and disposal of unidentified airborne objects that pose a safety or security risk.” said to have been organized.
The Chinese government denies involvement in three recent floating objects.
The Chinese government has confirmed that the surveillance balloon shot down on February 4 was indeed made in China, while claiming the high-tech aircraft was just a freak weather balloon blown off course. .
High altitude weather balloons have a maximum diameter of about 20 feet. According to the Japan Meteorological AgencyAccording to one source, the Chinese surveillance balloon was about 10 times larger. Ministry of Defense official.
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