A deepening national security mystery is threatening a political storm after US fighter jets scrambled three days in a row to shoot down a trio of unidentified aerial objects high over the North American continent.
The flurry of attacks on the unknown crafts came a week after the highly public tracking and ultimate downing of a Chinese balloon suspected of carrying out surveillance. Now, the thin details trickling out of the Pentagon and Capitol Hill about are making an already highly unusual international episode even more bizarre and confusing.
No one – not the White House, the Pentagon or the government of Canada, whose airspace has also been infringed – seems able to say exactly what is going on with these latest downed crafts. This raises questions for top military brass and US spy agencies as well as for the potential safety of civilian aviation. And it creates an information vacuum that Republicans are again using to question President Joe Biden’s leadership.
The intrigue is also unfolding against a tense global situation, with already difficult relations with rising superpower China becoming ever more hostile and with the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
“What’s gone on in the last two weeks or so, 10 days, has been nothing short of craziness,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS, hours before an airborne object was shot down over Lake Huron.
“The military needs to have a plan to not only determine what’s out there, but (to) determine the dangers that go with it,” Tester said.