The United States believes the aerial objects shot down by warplanes over Canada and Alaska were balloons, although smaller than the Chinese balloon shot down over the Atlantic Ocean the previous weekend, Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate Democrats, said Sunday. .
Interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” program, Schumer said he was briefed on what happened Saturday by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, shortly after the attack on the Yukon River.
On Saturday, an object the size of a car was shot down over a remote area of Alaska, according to the White House.
Asked if those two objects were balloons, Schumer replied: “They think they were, yes, but much smaller than the first one.”
The government has said the first balloon was about the size of three school buses. She was shot down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina after she crossed the United States. Authorities say it was used for espionage. China says it was a weather balloon.
Schumer said that the teams that are removing the remains of the objects will investigate where they came from. Those shot down on Friday and Saturday were smaller and were flying at a lower altitude of 40,000 feet, or commercial flight altitude, compared with 60,000 feet for the first balloon.
“In short, until a few months ago we didn’t know about these balloons,” Schumer said. “It’s amazing that we didn’t know…Now they are learning so much more. And the military and intelligence agencies are laser-focused on collecting and accumulating the information, and then doing a full analysis.”