Biden Administration defends decision to shoot down latest aerial objects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden Administration says it’s working to recover debris from the latest unidentified objects found in America’s airspace.


The U.S. military has now shot down four airborne objects flying over United States and Canadian airspace in just eight days.

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So far, only one of those objects has been confirmed as a Chinese spy balloon.

White House officials say they’re seeing more of these unidentified objects over United States airspace because the Pentagon is actively looking for more of them, and has adjusted how it looks for them.

National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby says the Chinese spy balloon should be categorized as its own incident.

“There is no question in our minds that that system was designed to surveil, that that was an intelligence asset,” Kirby said.

Kirby went on to affirm several times that the United States isn’t flying surveillance objects of any kind over China.

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Kirby says the newer objects that have been shot down were flying much lower in U.S. airspace and posed a threat to air traffic, which is why the administration moved to shoot them down.

“We don’t know for sure whether they had a surveillance aspect to them, but we can’t rule it out, so there was enough uncertainty,” Kirby said.

Jamil Jaffer runs the National Security Institute at George Mason University. He says he still has questions about the objects, and what their capabilities may be.

“Where are they coming from? Are they from China? Are they from Russia,” Jaffer asked. “...to provoke our sensors, to see what our sensors are doing when they identify them, and to figure out what our aircraft are doing, and how our missiles operate in close combat conditions?”

The White House says it’s forming a group to study them, but Jaffer believes the administration needs to explain how their response to these objects could impact our own defense capabilities.

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“Are we going to take action against them, and make our adversaries pay a price for these activities,” Jaffer asked. “And then what’s the cost in terms of intelligence collection on our side as well?”

United States senators are expected to receive a classified briefing on the threat from China and its recent spy balloon sometime this week.

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