Senators briefed for second time about Chinese spy balloon’s two-day voyage over Alaska

The exact path traveled by the balloon remains classified, as is the specific information it collected whilst drifting over the state
Alaska senators react to updates in the Chinese spy balloon story
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 7:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s U.S. Senators addressed on Thursday the Chinese balloon that flew over the United States last week, including a period where the balloon was floating over the mainland of Alaska.

“You have this spy balloon that has transited not only through our waters but across the entire northern part of our state,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said. “I have made the point repeatedly, Alaska is on the front lines. If anything is going to be coming at us — whether it be from Russia or be from China — and when I say coming at us, I mean coming at the United States of America, it’s going to come through Alaska first.”

Murkowski delivered her comments the evening after attending a briefing on the activities of the Chinese balloon that traversed the state of Alaska Jan. 28-30, before proceeding to Canada.

“Alaska territory is U.S. territory, and our sovereign territory needs to be respected,“ Murkowski said. “If we have the eyes on the skies, so to speak, let’s stop the Chinese from snooping. Not only on Alaska but in all of the rest of the Lower 48.”

The balloon was shot down near the coastline of South Carolina after journeying across the continent. It was first detected over the Aleutian Islands but did not raise alarm from defense officials at that time.

“At what point do we say a surveillance balloon, a spy balloon coming from China, is a threat to our sovereignty? It should be the minute, the minute it crosses the line, and that line is Alaska” Murkowski said. “As an Alaskan, I am so angry. I want to use other words, but I’m not going to.”

In Washington, D.C., Sen. Dan Sullivan articulated his own sweeping concerns generated by the balloon.

“I don’t think it’s some kind of thing that we can just laugh about, or ignore or treat like it’s not a threat. It’s certainly a threat, and that’s why the American people are upset about this,” Sullivan said. “Nobody wants spy balloons flying over whatever state it is, right, and we need to do more to address it.”