Object shot down over Lake Huron not a threat to national security, Michigan Congresswoman says
(FOX 2) - Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said while much remains unknown about the object that was shot down by the U.S. military over Lake Huron this weekend, it was not a national security concern.
Amid speculation the latest sighting was from a foreign government after a Chinese balloon determined to be used for spying was downed by the U.S. Air Force nine days ago, Slotkin said the agencies charged with protecting the country had lowered the bar for what it would be investigating.
"NORAD, which has the mission of protecting the United States, is paying extremely close attention to anything that's flying in our skies," she said Monday. "They've really lowered the threshold of what they're looking at and this pinged on their radars about 24 hours ago."
The object in question was first detected over Lake Michigan. Officials decided to shoot down the object after it had crossed over Michigan and above Lake Huron.
An F-22 downed the object around 3 p.m. Sunday after closing airspace.
A joint retrieval operation between the U.S. and Canada is underway, but choppy waters in Lake Huron had made recovery difficult.
While NORAD, which is based in Colorado Springs, had determined the device was not a threat to the country, the commander can still order military action.
"We watched it traverse from the Lake Michigan side to Lake Huron, and they chose to shoot it down over Lake Huron so we could have a chance of collecting what it was," Slotkin said.
The congresswoman spoke during a community event discussing road funding in Livingston county.
She said officials are still unsure what the object is - but "chances are this is just a normal run-of-the-mill that we and the intelligence community know how to exploit."
"I know there's lot of talk about UFOs and all of that, let's let our military do their job, collect the information. I have no reason to believe this is a UFO and I noticed the general's wording left open the door so I know that's gotten all kinds of excitement."
Gen. Glen D. Vanherck, who leads NORAD declined to speculate as to what the object was, during a Sunday press conference. "I'm not going to categorize them as balloons. We're calling them objects for a reason."
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Two other objects were shot down over Alaska and Canada earlier in the weekend. A third "radar anomaly" was detected over Montana on Saturday.
All of this follows the close tracking of a balloon the size of three city buses that was spotted over Montana in January. It was later shot down after crossing over into the Atlantic Ocean.
China has denied the balloon was there's. They also released a statement Sunday saying the U.S. had spy balloons over their country, which Slotkin characterized as "flailing."
"The National Security Council has dismissed that. It's just a reaction to being caught," she said.