IIn the case of the three flying objects shot down over the weekend, there is nothing to suggest that they were used for espionage purposes. According to the White House, the intelligence agencies are considering the possibility that the aircraft were commercial or otherwise non-hazardous. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday, “That may well turn out to be the explanation.”
So far there is “no evidence” that the objects are related to China’s espionage program or other hostile activities. So far, however, one can only rule out with certainty that the flying objects were operated by the American government. In addition, no company or research institution reported whose flying objects it could have been.
According to Kirby, one of the reasons why the purpose and origin of the three objects has not yet been named is the difficult recovery of the debris. The “weather and geographical conditions” currently made it almost impossible to get to the crash sites at all. The aircraft were shot down over icy water in Alaska on Friday, over the wilderness of Canada’s Yukon on Saturday and over Lake Huron in Michigan on Sunday. This was done out of caution, the American government said in all three cases. On the one hand, because surveillance by the objects could not be ruled out, on the other hand, because they would have posed a danger to civil air traffic with their flight altitude of between six and 12 kilometers.
In the case of the suspected Chinese spy balloon, President Joe Biden gave the order for it to be launched over open water off the coast of South Carolina after the balloon flew over American states for a week. On Tuesday, the American armed forces’ northern command announced that important debris, including sensors and electronic equipment, had been recovered from the Atlantic. These are intended to support the US government’s claim that the balloon was “definitely used for intelligence surveillance” by China. According to the White House, the three flying objects discovered over the weekend were significantly smaller than the balloon.
criticism from Republicans and Democrats
After the three objects were shot down, criticism of the government’s actions arose from both the Democratic and Republican side. Florida’s Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the legitimacy of the move on Tuesday. It is not the first time that such objects can be observed, “even if everyone is pretending to be”. In order to get answers, one must not only examine the debris, but compare the cases with “hundreds of similar cases”.
Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an orderly approach to such cases. There is “not nearly a formal process” as there should be. The government urgently needs to take care of a registration process for scientific flying objects that could trigger an alarm.
All four objects had been shot down by fighter jets with missiles. The Pentagon confirmed media reports that in the case of the flying object in Michigan, a first missile missed its target. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that the airspace is clear up to the maximum range of the projectile,” Chief of Staff Mark Milley told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday. The missile landed harmlessly in Lake Huron.