U.S. fighter jets on Friday afternoon shot down a mysterious object about the size of a car that was detected about 40,000 feet over Alaska.
It’s not yet clear what it was — the White House is describing it as a “high-altitude object.” But the incident marks the second time in a week where dramatic action has been taken to shoot down something deemed to be a threat over the skies of America.
“We’re calling this an ‘object’ because that’s the best description we have right now,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told reporters.
Alaskan flight was diverted due to airspace closure and military activity around “high-altitude object”
An FAA warning due to military activity surrounding the “high-altitude object” Friday led ConocoPhillips to turn back a plane carrying workers to an oil field on Alaska’s North Slope to Anchorage, company spokesperson Dennis Nuss.
Last Saturday, fighter jets downed a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. But in that case, the military knew what they were shooting down and where it came from, Kirby said. In this case, it’s a mystery.
“It was much, much smaller than the spy balloon we took down last Saturday,” Kirby said, noting the Chinese balloon was the size of a couple of buses, and was much higher than the new object.
“It did not appear to have the maneuverable capability that the other one did – so [it was] virtually at the whim of the wind,” he said.
“We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state owned or corporate owned or privately owned,” he said.
Unlike other states, Alaska is truly on the front lines. Because of our close proximity to our neighbors there is very little margin for error. Russian territory is only a few miles away. We are the one state closest to the Korean Peninsula and China. Alaska is truly on the front lines.
As such, decisions need to be made quickly to preserve the territorial integrity of Alaska and the United States. This incident is further evidence that the military capability of Alaska is robust. An important discussion should ensue about improving those capabilities, including icebreakers, Army, Air Force and Navy capabilities.
If the last few days are any indication, this may be the new norm and we must be prepared. The Alaska National Guard is working closely with USNORTHCOM and other agencies to provide any support as requested.
This latest incident demonstrates that Alaska remains the most strategic place on earth for both geopolitics and national defense.”
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