U.S. Shoots Down ‘High-Altitude Object’ Over Alaskan Airspace

Rebecca Shabad | NBC News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military on Friday afternoon shot down a “high-altitude object” flying over Alaskan airspace that the Department of Defense was tracking over the last 24 hours, National Security Council official John Kirby confirmed at the White House.

“The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. 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,” Kirby told reporters at the White House briefing.

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 Pentagon will have more to say about the situation later in the afternoon, Kirby said. A press briefing is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

Kirby made clear 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 last weekend.