March 28, 2023

CBS News Live


The Pentagon, at the direction of President Biden, shot down a “high altitude object” over Alaska airspace on Friday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed during Friday’s White House briefing. The incident comes several days after the Pentagon took down a Chinese spy balloon that crossed much of the continental U.S. 

Kirby, asked about the possibility of another object floating over U.S. airspace, said he “can confirm that the Department of Defense was tracking a high-altitude object over Alaska in the last 24 hours.” The Pentagon is still assessing this latest object, and it’s not clear who owns it or what its purpose was.

Kirby said this latest object was the size of a “small car,” and over a “very sparsely populated” area, allowing for it to be taken down more easily than the Chinese spy balloon that was larger than the Statute of Liberty. Kirby said the president’s main concern was the threat this latest object posed to civilian flights. This latest object landed off the Alaskan coast. 

“The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight,” Kirby said. “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. Those waters right now are frozen but inside territorial airspace and over territorial waters. Fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command took down the object within the last hour.”

The Chinese spy balloon that transited across the U.S. before it was shot down off South Carolina on Saturday is part of a “larger Chinese surveillance balloon program” that has operated for several years and over multiple continents, the Pentagon says. 

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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