We have received fresh pictures from the defense department releasing new images of the so called “Chinese spy balloon” Monday, the military shut down that balloon off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. Intelligence Officials have called the Chinese craft a surveillance balloon while those in the Chinese government claim it was a weather monitoring vessel. But that wasn’t the only object taken down this month US fighter jets shot down three other aerial objects over the weekend.
At this point US officials still can’t say whether these objects belong to China or some other government or even a company or an individual. They say President Biden decided to shoot them down in part because officials could not rule out the possibility that these objects were being used for spying on mystery in the skies causing confusion on the ground.
What in the world is going on?
The latest objects appeared about a week after the Chinese spy balloon was taken out off the South Carolina coast. On Friday, an object roughly the size of a small car was shot down over sea ice in remote northern Alaska. On Saturday, it was a cylindrical object hovering over Canada’s Yukon Territory. And on Sunday, an octagonal object over Michigan’s Lake Huron, how big was it? We’re still trying to assess what that was.
That won’t be easy until debris from this weekend’s objects can be recovered. We are searching what is a fairly large area, there is some sort of pattern in there the fact that we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Unlike the Chinese spy balloon, US officials say these objects did not appear to be sending any communication signals or possess any maneuvering or propulsion capabilities. Likely hypothesis is that they were being moved by the prevailing winds.
But at 20 to 40,000 feet, they did pose a potential risk to civil aviation, according to defense secretary Lloyd Austin, and I want to reassure Americans that these objects do not present a military threat to anyone on the ground.
The Chinese government claimed today that the US had flown more than 10 high altitude balloons into their airspace since last year, US officials quickly denied it. Despite heavy seas, the Navy has now recovered a 30 to 40 foot chunk of the Chinese balloons antenna array from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. As for the other mystery objects, US officials have ruled out one possibility there is no again no indication of aliens or extra terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. And it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.
After the spy balloon incident, the nation’s radar system was adjusted to make it more sensitive. And officials say that’s part of the reason they’re suddenly detecting more objects. But what lawmakers want to know is what the President’s criteria will now be for when to shoot these objects down. Now that the US is detecting so many of them.
CBS News National Security correspondent David Martin joins in and says
Well, when the Chinese balloon affair began, the rules of engagement were that the US would shoot down any aircraft entering us airspace, which took a hostile act, such as dropping a weapon, or showed hostile intent, such as spying on the US. So that’s why the Chinese balloon was shut down. It was displaying hostile intent in trying to spy on the US is these subsequent objects hidden not taken any hostile action, and they really have not demonstrated any hostile intent. But the US can’t rule out that they had hostile intent. If you look at the track of one of them, the the one that was shot down over Lake Huron on on Sunday, it was picked up over Montana, which is the site of some intercontinental ballistic missile fields. And if you connect it’s track over Michigan and over Lake Huron, it passed right by Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, which is another nuclear base. You don’t know that it was spying on on those locations. But you can’t rule it out. And in addition, these, these objects were flying one was at 20,000. And the other two are at 40,000. That’s getting into commercial airspace. And so it was also viewed as a potential hazard to aviation. So they were making these rules up as they went along. And I do not think they have anything so clear as a policy, or what to do the next time. One of these things shows up. And I think you have to assume there’s going to be a next time because there’s just a lot of balloons out there, right? It seems like a little bit shoot first ask questions later.
David Martin, National Security Correspondent, Pentagon
You can see similarities, all about the size of a small car, and none of them had any visible means of propulsion. And none of them were manned. They all appeared to be just floating along with the speed of the wind. That to me fits the definition of the balloon, but the administration is still so unsure of what it’s dealing with it it insists on calling it an object. And now of course, they have one other thing in common which is they’ve, they’ve gone down in very remote areas where it is going to be hard to find and recover the wreckage. So it is looking like it may be some time before we get answers from from the record site. Once you get your hands on the material. It ought to be a lot easier to determine where these things came from and what their intent was.
Whether these balloons are just another AI bots for monitoring and making our lives easier or upto something scandalous, only time will tell. But things continue to be getting curiouser and curiouser.