Biden Orders Shoot-Down of Unidentified Object in Alaska Airspace

President Joe Biden ordered the shoot-down of an unidentified object flying over Alaska, the second shoot-down to occur in American airspace in less than a week.


President Joe Biden ordered the shoot-down of an unidentified object flying over Alaska, the second shoot-down to occur in American airspace in less than a week after an F-22 fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon that traversed the continental United States.

  • An F-22 fighter jet was also used to shoot down the object over Deadhorse, Alaska, using a Sidewinder missile to take down the sedan-sized object.
  • The unknown object was spotted flying over Alaska’s remote northern coast about 40,000 feet in the air. John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, said the military shot down the object because it posed a “reasonable threat” to civilian flights.
  • Kirby said the object was “much, much smaller” than the Chinese spy balloon shot down last week, but the object’s purpose and origin remain unclear.
  • The U.S. military is still collecting information about the object. “We don’t understand the full purpose. We don’t have any information that would confirm a stated purpose for this object,” Kirby said.
  • NORTHCOM, the military command responsible for North America, has begun recovery operations.
  • “The first line of defense, again, is Alaska,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in an NBC News interview. “We need to send the message and we need to be clear and unequivocable that we don’t tolerate this, period.”
  • Late Saturday afternoon, NORAD reported a third unidentified object had been spotted over Canada. The situation is developing.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • “US military pilots sent up to examine the object gave conflicting accounts of what they saw, which is part of the reason why the Pentagon has been cautious in describing what the object actually is, according to a source briefed on the intelligence,” CNN reported.
  • According to NBC News, the Pentagon initially detected the object on ground radar and tracked it for over 24 hours before shooting it down at 1:45 pm ET.
  • The New York Times contrasted this shoot-down with the delayed decision to bring down the Chinese spy balloon. “The Friday shootdown showed Mr. Biden taking direct and forceful action far more quickly than he did last week when some Republican lawmakers criticized him for letting the spy balloon linger over the United States for several days before destroying it,” reported Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Edward Wong.



  • Republican lawmakers pointed to Biden’s swift action as proof that he delayed for too long before shooting down the Chinese spy balloon, Fox News reported. “The U.S. should defend our borders and airspace with whatever force necessary,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
  • The Wall Street Journal reported the Pentagon does not believe the object had a sophisticated capacity to maneuver and appeared to be unmanned. The debris appeared to land on ice which could make recovery efforts easier.
  • The Washington Examiner noted Alaska Sen. Murkowski “is one of several Republicans who have been critical of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Chinese Spy Balloon the military shot down over the Atlantic last weekend.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023