The U.S. military on Sunday shot down another, this time over the Great Lakes region, federal and state officials said Sunday.
A congressional source briefed on the matter told CBS News the Defense Department is confident there has been no collateral damage. Later Sunday, the Defense Department confirmed there was no collateral damage.
A senior Biden administration official said that U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORTHCOM/NORAD) on Saturday had detected a radar contact over Montana.
On Sunday, NORTHCOM/NORAD re-acquired the radar contact and detected the unmanned object from Montana was over Wisconsin and Michigan. The object was about 20,000 feet over Lake Huron, the senior administration official said.
The object’s path and altitude raised concerns, the administration official said, and, out of an abundance of caution, President Biden ordered it shot down. There was no indication that the object had surveillance capabilities — but that cannot be ruled out, the official said. It was not assessed to be a military threat to anything on the ground, the official added.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the Michigan National Guard “stands ready,” and that she has been in contact with the federal government about the object.
“I’ve been in contact with DOD regarding operations across the Great Lakes region today,” tweeted Rep. Jack Bergman, who represents Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and other northern parts of the state. “The US military has decommissioned another ‘object’ over Lake Huron.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin said the “object has been downed by pilots from the U.S. Air Force and National Guard.”
“We’re all interested in exactly what this object was and it’s purpose,” Slotkin tweeted. “As long as these things keep traversing the US and Canada, I’ll continue to ask for Congress to get a full briefing based on our exploitation of the wreckage.”
On Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed some airspace in Montana for “Department of Defense activities,” starting around 4:20 p.m. PT for about an hour.
NORAD later said in a statement that the closure was due to the detection of a “radar anomaly,” and that NORAD “sent fighter aircraft to investigate.” However, the aircraft “did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits.”
Sunday’s shootdown followed a dramatic weekend where” flying over Alaska on Friday and an unidentified object was on Saturday.
Canada Defence Minister Anita Anand tweeted Sunday that they “unequivocally support this action.”
— Faris Tanyos, Rebecca Kaplan, Kristin Brown and Nancy Cordes contributed to this report.