US ends search for objects shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska
While the military believes the first balloon was a surveillance balloon from China, the White House has acknowledged the smaller objects are likely in civilian possession.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military said on Friday that it had concluded its search for airborne objects shot down near Deadhorse, Alaska and over Lake Huron on February 10 and 12.
The statement released late on Friday came hours after officials said the US had ended efforts to recover the remnants of the large balloon that was shot down on February 4 off the coast. South Carolina, and analysis of the debris so far supports the conclusion that it is a Chinese Spy Bubble.
Officials said the United States believes personnel from the Navy, Coast Guard and FBI have collected all of the balloon’s debris on the ocean floor, including key equipment from gravity. Downloads may disclose information that they may monitor and collect. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said a significant amount of debris was recovered and it included “electronic and optical equipment” from the payload. He declined to say what the US has learned from the wreckage so far.
The US Northern Command said in a statement that the recall operations ended on Thursday and the final pieces were on their way to the FBI lab in Virginia for analysis. It said air and maritime restrictions off the coast of South Carolina had been lifted.
Northern Command later said the decision to end the search for downed objects in Alaska and Lake Huron was made after the US and Canada “conducted a systematic search of each area using a variety of capabilities, including aerial imaging and sensors, surface and inspection sensors. and scanned below the surface, and found no debris.” The Northern Command said aviation and maritime safety belts were also being removed at both locations.
The announcements capped a dramatic three weeks that saw US warplanes shoot down four aerial objects – a large Chinese hot air balloon on February 4 and three small objects. much more about a week later over Canada, Alaska and Lake Huron. These are the first known peacetime shootings of unauthorized objects in US airspace.
While the military is convinced that the balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina was a surveillance balloon operated by China, the Biden administration has acknowledged that the three smaller objects are likely balloons belonging to China. Civilian property was targeted in an enhanced response, after the detections by US domestic defense radars were recalibrated to detect slower-moving objects in the air.
Most of China’s hot air balloons fall into about 50 feet (15 meters) of water, and the Navy can collect the remnants floating on the surface, while divers and unmanned naval ships pull the rest from the bottom. ocean. Northern Command said Friday that all Navy and Coast Guard ships have left the area.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden directed national security adviser Jake Sullivan to lead an interagency team to establish “tighter rules” for tracking, monitoring, and potentially shooting down objects. Unknown.
Meanwhile, important questions about China’s airship remain unanswered, including what intelligence it can gather as it flies over sensitive military sites in the United States, and whether it can transmit anything back to China.
The United States monitored it for several days after it left China, a US official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. The official said it appeared to have been blown off course, headed for the US territory of Guam, and eventually over the US mainland.
Balloons and other unidentified objects have previously been discovered over Guam, a strategic hub for the US Navy and Air Force in the western Pacific.
It is unclear how much control China retains over the balloon after it deviated from its original orbit. A second US official said the balloon may have been dispatched from the outside or directed to a specific target, but it was not clear whether Chinese forces did so.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/search-ended-for-objects-shot-down-over-alaska-lake-huron/507-dc4b3a33-9c3d-44a0-be6c-4b35f815f087 US ends search for objects shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska