Joe Biden ordered unidentified “high-altitude object” shot down near Alaska today, White House reveals; POTUS Calls Mission “Success” – UPDATE

(Updated with Biden statement) Less than a week after US jets shot down a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic, President Joe Biden this morning ordered the military to destroy a self-described “high-altitude object” over Alaska.

Asked about the incident while awaiting Brazil’s president’s arrival at the White House, POTUS opted for rare brevity and called it a “success.”

“President Biden ordered the military to take down the object. And they did in the last hour,” John Kirby, the NSC coordinator for strategic communications, said Friday in the White House press room before announcing the mission. “The president will always act in the best interests of the American people and international security,” Kirby added in the order, which was issued at 1:45 p.m. ET.

“I think we’re going to try to find out more,” the official added in remarks that were covered live on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in what was a slightly delayed regularly scheduled briefing.

“I can tell you it was an object, it was at 40,000 feet and the president’s main concern was the safety of the flight issue at that altitude,” Kirby said of the shooting, which trumped all the news that Biden had just released. A visit to Poland later this month nears the first anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The Pentagon is in the process of trying to recover the frozen U.S. territorial waters off Alaska, an NSC spokesman said of the now-dropped object.

Play right out with it top gun Franchise, fighter aircraft flew by the object last night and then earlier today, and according to Kirby, “it was determined that it was not powered.” The second approach by US jets was when the object was shot down on Biden’s orders.

“I have no idea,” Kirby admitted when asked where the object came from and whether it was state-sponsored. The United States first became aware of the object late Thursday, Kirby noted, adding that he was “not classifying it as a balloon at this time.”

Citing the object presented over America’s northernmost state as a “reasonable threat to civilians,” Kirby told upset reporters that the object shot down today lacked the tactical capabilities of the Chinese balloon “which was destroyed on live TV on February 4. .

Sparking a diplomatic row with Beijing, a media frenzy, and the cancellation of Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s scheduled visit to the PRC, the Chinese balloon was at an altitude of 65,000 and on a flight path that “passed over sensitive military sites,” the camera-friendly Kirby said Friday.

The Pentagon is set to brief more about today’s shooting near the northern side of Alaska near the Canadian border. At the same time, the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia is said to be analyzing the recovered remains of the Chinese spy balloon for data and further intel.

Currently at his own height following a highly successful State of the Union address earlier this week, Biden was heavily criticized by Republicans after the Chinese balloon was first seen by South Dakota residents last week. The administration said POTUS intended to shoot down the balloon immediately, but military officials cited caution and safety concerns for letting the spy object float over water. Apparently that wasn’t part of the advice President Biden received today.

“As I’ve said before, the president takes his responsibility to protect our national security interests and the safety and security of the American people first and foremost,” Kirby said at the end of today’s White House briefing. “And he’s always going to make decisions and act in a way that’s consistent with that responsibility, that’s the real takeaway here.”

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