1 of 5 | The two latest high-altitude unmanned objects shot down over North America this past week were likely balloons similar to the Chinese surveillance balloon that crossed over U.S. airspace a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The two latest high-altitude unmanned objects shot down over North America this past week were likely balloons similar to the Chinese surveillance balloon that crossed over U.S. airspace a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Schumer said he was briefed by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the objects discovered over Alaska and Canada. He shared that the objects are believed to be balloons.
The objects were smaller than the Chinese balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina a week ago, Schumer said. The two latest objects were flying at an altitude of about 40,000, which is also the altitude that commercial aircraft fly at.
The United States cooperated with Canada to take down the object flying above Northern Canada.
According to Schumer, U.S. intelligence was not aware of the existence of balloons like these until recent months.
"It is wild that we didn't know," he said.
"And the military and the intelligence are focused like a laser on, first, gathering and accumulating the information, then coming up with a comprehensive analysis of what went on before, what's going on now, and what could go on in the future. You can be sure that if any, any American interests or people are at risk, they'll take appropriate action."
The object taken down off the coast of Alaska was engaged by two F-22 fighter jets on Friday. It fell into the sea below and U.S. Northern Command has initiated recovery efforts.
Pentagon Press Secretary Gen. Pat Ryder said the object shot down over Canada was about the size of a car and did not resemble the Chinese balloon taken down last week.
"Look, I think the Chinese were humiliated. I think the Chinese were caught lying," Schumer said. "And they're not just doing the United States. This is a crew of balloons, we saw one in South America, they've probably been all over the world."
The senator said China must shut down the surveillance project while the United States has to consider how to counteract the operation.