(NewsReady.com) – This month’s dramatic cross-US voyage by a Chinese spy balloon has finally pushed the Biden Administration into action. Since the original balloon was brought down off the South Carolina coast, a string of other unidentified objects have been destroyed by USAF fighters. But what exactly are our pilots shooting down? One GOP senator isn’t sure they’re hitting the right targets.
On February 4, a giant Chinese spy balloon that had been slowly making its way across Canada and the northern US since January 28, pausing occasionally to loiter near vital defense sites, was destroyed by an F-22A Raptor after it crossed the East Coast. From February 10-12, US fighters shot down another three objects over the Alaskan coast, Canada’s Yukon region, and the Great Lakes. But were they all communist spy platforms? Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) doesn’t think so.
Last Thursday, Cruz retweeted a message from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk that accused the Biden Administration of shooting down a $12 balloon released by the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) as part of a science project. Cruz commented sarcastically that Biden was sending a strong message to “any high school science clubs that might try to invade America.”
To be fair, Biden is providing is powerful deterrence for any high school science clubs that might try to invade America…. https://t.co/kk5NNMtDCE
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 16, 2023
It turns out that at the same time as an F-22A assigned to NORAD shot down a high-altitude balloon over the Yukon territory on February 11, one of NIBBB’s “pico balloons,” which should have been in the same area after reporting its location over the Alaska coast the day before, stopped transmitting. NIBBB has now declared the balloon “missing in action” and suspects it was the object downed by the F-22A.
Pico balloons are small gas-filled balloons that measure about three feet across at ground level, and expand to three times that size as they rise to altitudes of up to 40,000 feet. Hobbyists release them, then track their progress with instrument packages that include solar-powered GPS and compact ham radios.
All three of the objects destroyed after the original Chinese balloon were roughly the size of a pico balloon. It begs the question: has a nervous White House been sending fighters to launch $500,000 AIM-9X missiles at $12 helium balloons?
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