Pentagon Downed Object Over Alaska, Official Says

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The U.S. military on Friday afternoon shot down a “high-altitude object” flying over Alaskan airspace and Arctic waters, National Security Council official John Kirby confirmed at the White House.

The Pentagon had been tracking the object over the last 24 hours, he said.

“The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight,” Kirby told reporters during the White House briefing. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object and they did and it came inside our territorial waters and those waters right now are frozen.”

Fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command took down the object “within the last hour,” Kirby said around 2:30 p.m. ET. The pilots were able to determine that it was “unmanned” before it was shot down, he added.

President Joe Biden briefly commented on the matter in response to a question from reporters at the White House. “Success,” the president said about the downing of the object.

Kirby made clear that the U.S. does not know who owns the object and he would not call it a balloon, like the one allegedly owned by the Chinese government that the U.S. military shot down Saturday.