Biden Administration Still Trying to Figure Out What They Shot Down Out Of The Sky
✪ The Biden Administration is still trying to figure out what the three most recent objects were that the president ordered to be shot out of the sky, at a cost of over $400,000 per missile fired...
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efense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters that the Pentagon has not been able to “definitively assess” what the objects were. He said the reason they were shot down was out of “an abundance of caution.” On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed to reporters that the intelligence community’s “leading explanation” is that it could just be balloons tied to “some commercial or benign purpose.”
Kirby also said, “We don’t see anything that points right now to this, to these being part of the [People’s Republic of China] surveillance program or in fact, intelligence collection against the United States of any kind.”
He also confirmed a report by Fox News that the first missile fired at the object over Lake Huron on Sunday missed and fell into the water.
After a politically embarrassing episode of allowing a Chinese spy balloon to float over the continental U.S. and gather intelligence, potentially on sensitive military sites, the U.S. military has been ordered to shoot down three subsequent smaller objects that were flying in U.S. airspace. On Friday, the U.S. military shot something down over Alaska. On Saturday, it shot down something over Canada. On Sunday, it shot something down over Lake Huron.
The U.S. military used AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles to target the Chinese spy balloon and the three subsequent objects, arguing that it was the best weapon to bring down the objects but avoid unnecessary collateral damage or harm to the pilots. Each missile costs over $400,000. Kirby did not say whether the missile that fell into the water was being recovered.
Kirby denied there was a blanket policy to just “shoot things out of the sky.”
“There are established protocols and procedures that were used in the decision making process that led to the takedown of these three objects,” he argued. He said the objects posed a threat to air traffic and were potential surveillance threats.
However, he said President Joe Biden has ordered National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to stand up an interagency effort to look at how to deal with future cases of unknown objects flying through U.S. airspace.
Kirby defended the Biden Administration’s decision to claim that there were three Chinese spy balloons that entered U.S. airspace under the Trump Administration, suggesting that former President Donald Trump had chosen not to act. The Biden Administration later had to admit, however, that NORAD had missed the balloons and did not inform the Trump administration.
Kirby claimed that the Biden Administration has done more to understand the Chinese surveillance program, despite not being able to prevent the Chinese spy balloon from entering U.S. airspace and not shooting it down earlier.
“The reason we know that is because of the work we’ve done since we came into office to better understand this problem and try to do the kind of deep analytical work that needed to be done to decipher how these balloons operate, and how best we can track and detect and track,” Kirby said.
And Kirby said the Biden Administration still wants to keep lines of communication open with China. “It doesn’t change the fact, as the president has said, we want to keep the lines of communication open with China. It’s unfortunate that they rebuffed the Secretary of Defense’s call for a conversation with his counterpart. But we do have other lines of communication open,” he sad.
“The President’s desire, as he stated at the G-20 meeting after he met with President Xi, was to try to move this relationship forward in a better place than it is right now,” he said. ✪
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