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US Show Down High-Altitude Object Over Alaska; Biden To Visit Poland To Mark Anniversary Of Russian Invasion Of Ukraine; Pentagon Speaks After Shooting Down Object Over Alaska; U.S. Shoots Down High-Altitude Object Over Alaska; Hope Of Finding Survivors Fading As Death Toll Nears 23,000; Brazilian President Making White House Visit. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired February 10, 2023 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right.
Good evening, I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, and in the last few hours, President Joe Biden has ordered the US military shoot down a high-altitude
object hovering over Alaska.
According to the White House now, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the Defense Department was tracking the objects over the
last 24 hours. It comes less than a week after the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon that transmitted across the continental United States. Here is
a little of what Mr. Kirby had to say about this latest incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET), COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Yes, the President absolutely was involved in
this decision. He ordered it at the recommendation of Pentagon leaders. He wanted it taken down, and they did that.
They did it using fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command. The Pentagon will have more to say about the details of this later on this
afternoon. It's only just within the last hour.
We're calling this an object, because that's the best description we have right now. We do not know who owns it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: All right, White House reporter Kevin Liptak joins me now from Washington, DC.
Kevin, so they are not defining it as a balloon. They're saying it's an object. They don't know what it does and they don't know who is responsible
for this object.
What do we know right now, in terms of what happens next? We know we're waiting for a Pentagon briefing as well.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. And what Kirby said is that the remnants of this objects that were shot down landed in frozen waters
off of Alaska, and that the US is working to gather those remnants and gain some more insight of what the purpose was of this object.
It was first detected in American airspace on Thursday evening and what Kirby said was that it was much smaller than the Chinese balloon that
transited the United States last week. He described it as about the size of a car, last week's balloon was described as the size of three buses.
So this was a much smaller object, and the reason that President Biden decided very quickly to order it shot down is because it was flying at
40,000 feet and President Biden determined that it could be potentially a threat to civilian aircraft, and so he did order that shut down much
quicker than last week when this object was -- or when the balloon was transiting the United States over the course of several days.
Now, as you said, Kirby did not say who this object was from, whether it was a balloon or some other type of object and what its potential purpose
was, and that will be something that investigators are looking at very closely.
Now, what we do know is that the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States did close off the airspace around this object as this
operation was underway, that occurred in Northeastern Alaska very near to the Canadian border.
Before they shot it down, pilots were able to determine that it was an unmanned device, that there was no people inside of it before they shot it
But of course, this is going to raise questions of where did this come from? Was it another Chinese object? Or did it come from another country?
Kirby couldn't even necessarily say whether it was a state actor that flew this object over the United States or if it was some of their private
function. And so there will be a lot to learn over the next few hours as the pieces of it are gathered from that frozen area of Alaska -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, really fascinating. They have been monitoring it for 24 hours, and if I compare how long they waited with the Chinese balloon, it took a
lot longer. But President Biden ordered the shooting down of this object, which clearly shows that they were concerned in terms of the threat, as you
say, to airspace.
They also said that they will not be contacting their Chinese counterparts, there is no need to because they don't know who is responsible for this
So I think there were a lot of questions purely because of course it comes really, you know, not even a week after the Chinese balloon was shot down.
LIPTAK: Right, and that shoot down of the Chinese balloon has really caused tensions to escalate between Washington and Beijing and in fact, the
American Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin has tried to get in touch with his counterpart in China, and he says -- the US says that he simply isn't
picking up the phone.
And so if this was a Chinese object, it would certainly cause greater deterioration in those relations, and I think that's why Kirby is being so
careful in what he is saying and attributing this object for now -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Kevin Liptak, thank you so much for that update.
Joining us now is Bob Baer, CNN intelligence and security analyst for more on this, to unpack what this could possibly mean. What are you reading into
what John Kirby said? Because there are so many questions. We don't know what it does, we don't really know how to define it as yet. It's just being
called an object.
What we do know, it was urgent enough to shoot down after 24 hours of monitoring.
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, Eleni, what this tells me there is high anxiety in the White House and The Pentagon about a wider conflict.
These surveillance drones, balloons, and the rest are part of an overlapping system.
You have satellites, drones, and balloons and all sorts of sensors and the rest of it. So they're very worried of what's going on. Now, whether it's a
Russian drone, and I don't know that it's a drone, of course, or a Chinese, they probably don't know, they probably would have said by now, but the
Pentagon is in a state of high alert, worrying about a conflict -- a wider conflict.
GIOKOS: Yes, and it is -- you know, the calculus here needs to be carefully organized, because if there is any pointing of fingers or any accusations
that of course, could aggravate the situation.
What is the next step then, in your mind, as we're getting these briefings? I'm sure they're trying to ascertain what this object does, who it belongs
to, and importantly, why it was flying over this particular area?
BAER: Well, Eleni, exactly. Right now, I can guarantee you, there are cryptic messages going between Washington and Beijing and Moscow saying
knock this stuff off. We do not want this to escalate. The fact that the Chinese aren't answering the phone and the fact that they lied about that
balloon, it was a surveillance balloon, we've proved that questions their intentions in this whole crisis, and it is a crisis.
When the United States is shooting down high-altitude aircraft, it is a crisis. This reminds me when they shot down the U2 over the Soviet Union.
This sort of escalation has got to be stopped now, or we just don't know where it's going to go.
GIOKOS: You know, difficult to forecast or even hypothesize what this object could be used for. What would create, you know, anxiety or any kind
of escalation or a fracture with the country that was responsible for this. We still don't know, it could even be local, for example. What is the
scenario that could play out and I'm looking at worst case options here?
BAER: Well, let's take the forensics from the balloon. Let's say they recover the cameras, or whatever sort of signaling intercept equipment
there was. Was that balloon looking at minuteman sites in Montana? Was that the object? And the only reason you'd be really concerned about those
sites? The Chinese I'm talking about is if you intended to hit them in a strike, otherwise, you know, it's like, who cares? You can look at Google
Maps, you can look at satellite photography, and just keep track of them.
But when you're going closer in, it signals intentions that worry me.
GIOKOS: And in terms of the objects, let's look at scenarios that could possibly be playing out here and what kind of conversations that are
probably happening within the corridors of The Pentagon at this juncture.
BAER: Well, they're looking at the overall surveillance activities of the Chinese and Russians at this point. Does it signal imminent conflict or an
attack on, you know, wider attack in Eastern Europe? Any number of scenarios are being played out. But they really want to know what's going
in the mind of the foreign leadership that's ordering this.
They also would like to know if President Xi is involved with this, or is the Chinese military acting in a rogue commander. It's very hard to
determine and the best that we can do is take these aircraft, disassemble them, and try to figure out what they were after, what they were looking
GIOKOS: Bob Baer, thank you very much for that insight. Always good to see you, and hopefully we'll get some answers.
We want to remind you we are waiting on a briefing from The Pentagon and we are expecting to hopefully learn more about this object that was shot down.
The Biden administration Trump's decision of course to shoot this high altitude objects hovering over Alaska, we are waiting for that briefing to
Live visuals from the Pentagon right now.
All right, US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland later this month to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He is returning
as the war enters a volatile new phase.
The West is increasing its military support for Kyiv and Russia is said to be preparing for a major offensive.
Biden was last in Poland in April where he met Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflicts.
In Ukraine, Russia has launched a new wave of missile and drone strikes. The barrage targeting energy infrastructure, knocking out power to millions
of people. In the capital, Kyiv, many took shelter in the underground Metro.
Ukraine's Air Force says, it shot down 61 of the 71 cruise missiles fired by Russia. The attack follows President Zelenskyy's tour of EU capitals,
where he made appeals for heavier weapons.
Sam Kiley joins us now from Eastern Ukraine.
Sam, a lot of lines to explore here. I want you to take me through the latest. I mean, obviously, power outages have been a key theme since the
end of last year with critical infrastructure being targeted. Where do we stand right now?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, Eleni, following this latest wave of airstrikes, the Ukrainian government
said that about 30 percent of their power generation and distribution capacity was knocked out. But they're very quick normally at fixing that,
it also means that they are saying that they are going to have to preemptively have power outages, but they are in order to maintain power to
supply to the essential services, hospitals, schools, and the military, of course.
Now, this all coming though, and this is why I think it's slightly more significant than the pretty regular, almost weekly, certainly every 10 days
or so mass attacks by a mixture of Iranian-made Shahed drones and these cruise missiles that the Ukrainians have shot down, 61 out of 71. Again, a
remarkable kill rate against these cruise missiles is that right now, according to commanders and soldiers on the ground that we've been speaking
to in the East of the country, they are very strongly of the view --
GIOKOS: I have to interject. We are waiting for The Pentagon briefing on the high altitude object that has been shot down over Alaska. Briefing
starting now. Let's listen in.
BRIG. GEN. PATRICK S. RYDER, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PRESS SECRETARY: On February 9, North American Aerospace Defense Command detected an object on
ground radar and further investigated and identified the object using fighter aircraft.
The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. US Northern Command is beginning
recovery operations now.
US Northern Command's Alaska Command coordinated the operation with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard, Federal Aviation
Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We have no further details about the object at this time including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin. The object was about
the size of a small car, so not similar in size or shape to the high- altitude surveillance balloon that was taken down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
Separately, US Northern Command continues their recovery operations in support of the recent takedown of the Chinese high-altitude surveillance
balloon. Recovery teams have mapped the debris field and are in the process of searching for and identifying debris on the ocean floor.
Debris that's been recovered so far is being loaded on the vessels, taken ashore, catalogued, and then moved onwards to labs for subsequent analysis.
And while I won't go into specifics due to classification reasons, I can say that we have located a significant amount of debris so far, that will
prove helpful to our further understanding of this balloon and its surveillance capabilities.
Of note, due to less than favorable sea states right now, teams will continue to conduct underwater survey and recovery as conditions permit.
The department wants to thank our interagency partners from the US Coast Guard, the FBI, and State and local authorities for their continuing
assistance and partnership.
In other news, and I think this is important that we remember, a lot of folks, people in Turkey and Syria right now are suffering. We want to again
express our support for the people of Turkey and Syria as they respond to the deadly earthquakes that struck there earlier this week.
In support of ongoing US assistance efforts spearheaded by the US Agency for International Development, US European Command has positioned
personnel, equipment, and a range of assets to aid the government of Turkey and its continued search and rescue efforts. This thing includes the US
Navy's George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group repositioning to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to provide logistics, medical, and rotary airlift support
Additionally, US Army rotary wing aircraft began flying missions out of Incirlik Airbase in Turkey on February 7 to transport first responders to
the most affected populations. And on February 8, UH60 Blackhawks transported injured civilians to a local medical facility.
US European Command has designated US Naval Forces Europe and Africa as the lead component command overseeing the EUCOM humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief efforts within Turkey.
To aid in that coordination, US Marine Corps Brigadier General Andrew Priddy, US Naval Amphibious Forces Europe Commander and Second Marine
Expeditionary Brigade Commanding General arrived in Turkey, February 9 to lead military coordination efforts with US agencies involved in the
humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts.
We will continue to provide you with updates as we receive them. EUCOM will be issuing a press release with further details. But again, we offer our
thoughts and prayers to the people of Turkey and Syria during this tragic and difficult time.
And finally, Secretary Austin welcomed Canadian Minister of National Defense Anand for a bilateral meeting here in The Pentagon today. The
Secretary expressed his thanks and appreciation to Minister Anand for the cooperation rendered by Canada in tracking the PRC high-altitude
surveillance balloon that violated the sovereignty of both of our countries.
During the meeting, both leaders reaffirmed the close Defense relationship between the United States and Canada and a readout will be available later
today on Defense.gov.
And with that, I will take your questions.
We'll start with Associated Press, Tara Copp.
TARA COPP, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Hi, thank you for doing this. A couple of questions on this latest shoot down. First, what type of US fighter
aircraft were used and what type of munition did they fire? And do you already have Navy assets or Coast Guard assets out in -- involved in the
recovery process? And then I have a few more.
RYDER: Thanks, Tara. So the aircraft that took down the object was an F-22 flying out of Joint Base Elmendorf in Alaska and employed an AIM-9X to take
down the object.
In terms of assets that are currently involved, in terms of recovery, we have HC-130, HH-60, and CH-47 aircraft participating in that recovery
COPP: Okay. You mentioned there was a reasonable threat. Was there also a threat to potentially this object detecting some of our more sensitive
radar capabilities that are based in Alaska? And then what hasn't been said is where this object has come from. Is there any indication that this was
also a Chinese surveillance balloon, object, whatever it is?
RYDER: Yes, so at this point, we don't know the origin of the object. Again, we will know more once we're able to potentially recover some of
those materials, but the primary concern, again, was the potential hazard to civil flight. And so again, we'll know more later. Thank you.
COPP: So (no) perceived threat to any of the radar installations that we have based in Alaska?
RYDER: Again, right now, we'll know more once we assess it. I'll just leave it at that. Thank you.
QUESTION: What made this -- thank you. Thanks for taking my question. What made this threatening enough to shoot down? What is different about this
object than the last object that was over Alaska? Because it was chosen not to shoot the last one down over Alaska.
RYDER: Yes, so, you know, the important thing to understand here is anytime we detect anything, we're going to, first of all, observe it and then make
a decision and take appropriate action. So you have to look at each individual case on its own merits.
In this particular case, given the fact that it was operating at an altitude that posed a reasonable threat to civilian air traffic, the
determination was made and the President gave the order to take it down.
QUESTION: Was there a specific threat -- a specific civilian air traffic incident that could have happened?
RYDER: Again, out -- as you well know, civilian aircraft operate, you know, at a variety of ranges, up to 40 to 45,000 feet. So again, there was a
reasonable concern that this could present a threat to or a potential hazard to civilian air traffic.
So let me ...
QUESTION: Just one more question. Has Secretary Austin reached out to his Chinese counterpart or any other counterparts at all since this has been
RYDER: Since this particular object? No.
Let me go here and then I'll come over to Oren.
QUESTION: Now that the (INAUDIBLE) out of (INAUDIBLE) previous balloon had been recovered, what additional information you have now about the
capabilities of that balloon?
RYDER: Yes, so we're continuing to assess that. Again, I'm not able to go into more detail, other than in addition to learning a lot about the
balloon and the capabilities that it has while it was over the continental United States, we have identified or located a significant amount of debris
on the ocean floor that will be very beneficial to us learning more about it, but at this point in time, I'm not going to have more details.
QUEST: Manufacturing label on these equipment or the balloons indicated they're all manufactured in China and so it's from China?
RYDER: Again, I'm not going to have details to provide at this point in time.
QUESTION: Also say that --
RYDER: Next question.
QUESTION: Yes, 39 other countries have indicated they have seen balloons in their territory. Are you sharing those information from The Pentagon to
these countries on the capabilities, how you shot them down?
RYDER: So in terms of what we're learning about these balloons, I know the State Department has talked to this, in terms of our international
outreach. Certainly, the Department of Defense plays a role in those relationships. And so we will continue to work with our allies and partners
to share information, along with our State Department colleagues.
Let me go to Oren.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Two questions. First, did this object show any signs of maneuverability or propulsion?
And then you and other Pentagon officials made a big deal about how much Intelligence was gathered by letting the other one float across much of the
United States, and yet you shot this one down before entering the United States. Is that The Pentagon bowing to political pressure? Was there
nothing to gain from this one?
RYDER: Yeah, so again, we're going to judge each of these on its merits. No indication at this time that it was maneuverable, but again, we'll know
And in terms of entering the United States, it did enter US airspace and we took it down.
LIEBERMANN: Did you gain Intelligence from this one as you did from the previous one?
RYDER: We're going to recover what we can from this, and more to follow.
LIEBERMANN: And was the decision to shoot it down before it entered too far into the US airspace, The Pentagon bowing to political pressure from the
RYDER: Look, again, we're going to judge each of these objects on its own merits. It entered into US airspace on February 9th. We sent up aircraft to
assess what it was. The decision was made that it posed a reasonable threat to civilian air traffic. The President gave the order to take it down and
we took it down. Thank you.
Laura (ph) And then I'll go to Dan.
QUESTION: Can you -- oh, thanks. I'm sorry. Thanks for taking my question. So a couple of questions. First of all, has anything like this happened
before with an object of this size, this shape, in this particular height at the 40,000 foot range? Has that happened before?
And then second of all, how -- why did you -- can you say more about why you knew that that last balloon or object was from China, whereas this one,
you don't know?
RYDER: So in terms of this particular object, again, as I highlighted, we don't know where it's from. It posed a reasonable threat to civilian air
traffic and so the determination was made to take it down.
In terms of the other balloon, as I mentioned in our previous briefing, we have learned a lot about the Chinese surveillance high-altitude balloon
program. We've gathered a lot of information over the last couple of years, and so we were able to, based on that information, detect at a very early
stage as it approached US airspace, we had a good understanding of what it was.
As I mentioned, we were able to monitor that closely, track it while it went over the continental United States, learn a lot about it, and take it
down at the appropriate time.
QUESTION: So would you -- would you urge us to put this in a different bucket than that, or should we do --
RYDER: Yes, I think I was pretty clear. This was traveling at about 40,000 feet which posed a potential, a reasonable threat to civilian air traffic,
and the decision was made to take it down.
QUESTION: When the pilot -- when the pilots approached it and they determined, I understand that it was not manned, how did they determine
that and at that point wouldn't it be possible to at least describe what they were looking at? Did it resemble a balloon or an airplane or what?
RYDER: Again, we'll know more and have more information once we've recovered this. I -- we'll give credit to our pilots that they are very
capable in terms of looking at an object, assessing whether or not this had the potential to be manned at that altitude, something that small, very,
very unlikely that it was manned, and so again, no indication that it was manned, presented a potential reasonable threat to civilian air traffic,
and we took it down.
QUESTION: At what speed was it traveling at, by the way?
RYDER: I don't have that information.
QUESTION: On the Chinese balloon, if we could go back...
QUESTION: Is it still in The Pentagon's view, plausible or maybe even likely that it was not necessarily intentional when that balloon turned and
blew eastward, that it seemed to have lost some -- had some technical problem?
RYDER: Yes, so Dan, what I would tell you is based on the information that we have, it was being maneuvered and purposefully driven along its track.
Again, recognizing that winds do play a role because of the maneuverability of the balloon, it is our assessment that this was a purposeful mission.
In terms of the Chinese motivations, again, I'd have to refer you back to China to talk about that.
(INAUDIBLE) to Nancy.
QUESTION: We e-mailed you police body camera footage showing a National Guard General in Ohio pushing my colleague and having to be escorted away
from him this week.
We asked the Ohio National Guard for comment, but do you as a spokesperson for the Department of Defense condone such conduct by a commissioned
officer of the US Military against an American journalist?
RYDER: Yes, so to be clear, the answer is no. That's not acceptable behavior. The Secretary of Defense -- the Department of Defense absolutely
supports -- strongly supports a free and independent press.
So again, I'd refer you to the Ohio National Guard for any comment about that particular incident, but I can assure you that that is not acceptable
QUESTION: Is any kind of conduct unbecoming charge under the UCMJ or ...
RYDER: Again, I'd have to refer you to them. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to make those kind of policy comments here from the podium in terms
of what they may or may not be doing to address it. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on that.
Let me go to Nancy.
QUESTION: I just had a couple clarifying questions. You said that the pilots were able to see it, that it wasn't the same shape or size as the
balloon. Can you say definitively it was not a balloon?
RYDER: I don't -- at this point considering the fact that we're still assessing the object, I don't want to get into characterizing it, so I will
just leave it at that.
QUESTION: You mentioned you didn't know how fast it was traveling. Can you say if it was traveling faster or slower than the balloon?
RYDER: I don't have that information in front of me, so I don't want to make it up.
QUESTION: I have a couple more. Did anyone try to, within the administration, contact their Chinese counterparts before the decision was
made to shoot it down?
RYDER: In terms of when you say the administration, if you're referring to the White House, I'd have to refer you to them. The Department of Defense
to my knowledge did not. Again, we don't know the point of origin of this object, so. Yes.
QUESTION: And was there any effort to jam or somehow disable this object before, such that it posed less of a threat?
RYDER: I don't want to get into the specific tactics or techniques that we may or may not use when observing these types of things. Again, NORAD sent
up aircraft to observe, to see what it was, and then the ultimate decision was made based on the reasonable threat to civilian air traffic to take it
down. So thank you.
QUESTION: A couple things. You mentioned you've recovered a -- recovered a significant -- or located a significant amount of debris. Is it fair to say
you've located a significant amount of the payload?
RYDER: You're talking about the PRC high-altitude balloon?
QUESTION: The one today.
RYDER: So, Tony, at this point, I'm not able to go into more detail other than we've -- what I would describe -- we've discovered or located a
significant amount of the debris associated with the balloon.
Again, we'll have more details to follow, but I'll just leave it at that.
QUESTION: Located, but you haven't recovered and took -- pulled it out of the ocean for forensic analysis, is that right?
RYDER: Yes, so good -- great point. So the way that -- the way to understand how this is unfolding is as we map out the area where the debris
field would be, it enables us to figure out where are the places that we need to prioritize the search, recognizing that we're talking a wide area.
And so as that happens, divers are able to go down and depending on the size of the debris, they're able to tag it.
So debris that can be brought up quickly is brought up, put on a vessel, taken ashore. Debris that's going to take more time, and again, especially
given the current sea states, it may take a little longer. We know where it is, so we tag it, and then we'll go back and eventually recover all of that
and bring it up.
QUESTION: . the equivalent is you've found the Titanic, but you haven't started pulling up the debris yet from it.
RYDER: Exactly. Exactly.
QUESTION: I'm going to ask you about the overall program. You said you've been -- you've been learning a lot about this balloon program over the last
couple years, yet the annual China report doesn't have a peep about balloons in there. You've spent a lot of money and effort, but no balloons.
QUESTION: We learned about Taiwan and China's balance of power against them, and satellites and jets, but no balloons. Why not?
BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Tony, what I would say on the -- on the unclassified China power report, right, there's going to
be certain elements. Intelligence aspects in the unclassified version that may not be included in that particular report. In terms of what's in that
report, and what's not in that report, again, we can go back and look at that. But I can tell you, I can assure you that there are a lot of
activities that we continue to monitor, to include this balloon program. And we've learned a lot over the last couple of years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) classified version has balloons in there?
RYDER: I'd have to go back and look. I do not know the answer to that. Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
RYDER: Let me get a couple other folks here. Mike, and then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the only reason the American people know about the first balloon is because a couple of guys in Montana spotted it
and they -- and it leaked out. My question is, if it had remained secret and had not become a spectacle and arguably an embarrassment to the White
House, would you have shot it down or allowed it to continue on its way?
RYDER: So, you're asking me to speculate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
RYDER: So, Mike, I'll kind of just push back a little bit at the assertion there. So first of all, again, what made this balloon different was the
length and duration that it was over the United -- the continental United States. Look, we track activities all over the globe on a daily basis, some
of which will remain classified because, again, we don't want to reveal sources and methods.
In this particular case, I can tell you that there were efforts underway to make that public. I, you know, Montana journalist reporting
notwithstanding. All that to say, look, there are going to be times when there's activities happening that we're monitoring that were not going to
go public, especially if it doesn't present a particular -- or pose a significant threat to the American public.
But again, as we monitored that balloon, there was an effort underway to ensure that folks understood what this was, especially given how visible it
was. And I'll just stop there. Thank you. Yes, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, General. First, a really quick follow up on Tony's question. At this point, is the Pentagon reassessing the need for
counter-balloon or counter-object capabilities at that altitude at this time?
RYDER: So, what I would tell you is not to, you know, in the Air Force sometimes we talk about don't get platform-specific, right? So, what we're
talking about is monitoring the domain and having domain awareness. And again, as I highlighted, it seems like a couple days ago, probably last
week, we're continuing to learn more about this program, which enables us to identify and track objects. And so -- and thus ensure that we're
continuing to protect our skies and our airspace. Same thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. And then, real quick --
GIOKOS: You've been listening in to the Pentagon briefing on the high- altitude object that was shot down over Alaska, they're still not characterizing it as anything in particular, they're still calling it a
balloon, very little information in terms of the origin of this object. What it does, but we know it posed a risk to civilian flights. And that --
that's part of the reason that they shot this object down.
I still have Bob Baer with me, who perhaps can give us a little bit of insight. What are you hearing from the Pentagon that perhaps offers a
little bit more insight? I mean, what is interesting that the aircraft that took this object down is F-22 fighter jet. Some questions were posed about
whether the pilots of the fighter jet were able to see what at least this object looks like, still no real answer.
And again, so many questions, but they're saying they are trying to assess the debris. And that is going to be vital in understanding more about the
BAER: Well, the F-22s twos took a look to make sure it wasn't manned by a person. You know, that that was very important that it was a UAV rather
than a jet or of civilian air, you know, airplane, which of course was too high. But that's very important. But what I took away from the briefing is
the Pentagon itself and American forces have multiple platforms when they go to war.
In Afghanistan, it's drones, it's airplanes, it's satellites. So, when people say that satellites are adequate enough, in times of war, they're
just wrong. And that's why the Pentagon has so many drones, the Reapers that not only are they platforms to strike targets with Hellfire missiles,
they can drop for instance sensors out of these which you couldn't out of a satellite.
I worked for years on the sensors and they're very important. They just dropped to the ground and they send out cell signals. RFID use this. That's
the old technology. And you could -- you could pick up all sorts of things. And also, you need multiple platforms, balloons or drones, to pick up
signal's intelligence which you can't always pick up from a high flying, you know, satellite. So, this is again, going back.
What disturbs me is these multiple platforms flying over the United States. The Pentagon certainly has got a grip on this, but they're still worried
about a world conflict. And they're there to tell the President of the United States, is anybody preparing anything against us? The plans,
intentions of Beijing, or Moscow? And even if it seems like it's overreacting, when you're sitting in the tank and in the war rooms around
Washington, you can always have to consider a Pearl Harbor (INAUDIBLE)
You know, I'm just -- it sounds wild but that's what they do every day, the imminence of attack. I mean, I've done this in the field where they've
moved platforms toward one of our ships on the Mediterranean. And I sat down and I sent a critic message in which just advises the President, hey,
these people are up to something, we can't tell you what, but to let you know. And it's, you know, theater awareness what we're talking about.
These are a lot of, you know, terms that jargon, but they do mean something to the Pentagon.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. You have to assess the risk. The risk was assessed. And now I know that they're, you know, currently recovering the debris.
Hopefully we'll learn more. Bob Baer, great to have you on the show. Much appreciated for your insight as always, sir.
All right. The devastation is growing five days after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. More than 22,000 people have died. That number now
surpasses the death toll from Japan's Fukushima disaster. Turkish President Erdogan said more than 140,000 rescue personnel are on the ground. He
reiterated his pledge today to rebuild within a year, and he promised to pay for temporary shelter for those who have lost their homes.
More than 5700 buildings collapsed in Turkey leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. These satellite images are from before and after the earthquake.
And they show the extent of the damage. The Turkish Justice Minister said they will investigate builders in regions that were affected and punish
those who built deficient structures.
Yasemin Didem Aktas is a structural engineer and lecturer at a University College London. She joins me now. Great to have you on. You know, we
learned from these big earthquakes and I think they were major lessons during 1999. And then there's new building codes. But then you have to go
and reinforce all the buildings, newer buildings easier to adapt and enforce the new building codes, but it is shocking to see the sheer damage
that we've seen in Turkey.
How would you describe from an engineering perspective, what happened here?
YASEMIN DIDEM AKTAS, LECTURER, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: That's right, Eleni. It's very disappointing really. What we are seeing here is, of
course, you know, old building stock that hasn't performed as desired. But also, even the new builds actually have gone through a severe pancaking
style damage. So clearly, there has been a big failure to comply with the codes and the subsequent control stages.
GIOKOS: Yes. I mean -- and you have to reinforce older buildings, it is a costly exercise. I want to take a look at what happened across the fault
line, the epicenter, and also what happened further away from the epicenter. When we start to look at the devastation that occurred, what
would you say the assessment will be in understanding whether there were buildings that weren't adhering to the building walls?
AKTAS: Absolutely, absolutely. This is -- this is -- this is certain. We know that this was a very powerful event. And it was not only one but two
in a row. In fact, the area has experienced aftershocks that would qualify a decent sized earthquake themselves. So, it was a very powerful event that
will challenge even code compliance buildings. However, what we are seeing here is definitely telling us that there was something wrong in those
And it can be that they -- that they weren't designed in line with the code in the first place or the implementation of the design wasn't done
AKTAS: We are also seeing in Turkey quite commonly that post occupancy modifications on buildings actually compromise their structural safety.
These are the early days, hopefully, we are going to be on the grounds to complete our engineering assessments in due course, but for the time being,
we could actually say that they were definitely faulty.
GIOKOS: And there's need to -- there needs to be modeling, there needs to be kind of scenario planning about what kind of earthquakes magnitudes
would be striking, you know, various earthquake zones. But what happens next? We're showing images of buildings that are collapsed, completely
turned into rubble and buildings that are still standing. So, what is the process from here on?
AKTAS: Well, you are absolutely right. So, in the design codes, we approach to this by defining different thresholds for design and poor collapse and
for life safety, et cetera. And we are seeing a very mixed bag here. Some buildings have gone through a very severe collapse, and some of them
actually survived fine. Some of them actually suffered from some foundation problems, whereas you know, something, you know, so we are actually seeing
a wide range of issues here.
The subsequent periods, once the search and rescue operations are over, what we need to do is to go down to the ground and start looking into the
materials, the detailing, and so on and so forth and start basically sampling the range of problems there. So that, you know, we can report the
key findings to alert the various stakeholders involved in the process.
GIOKOS: Yasemin Aktas, thank you very much for your insights. Great to have you on the program.
AKTAS: Thank you for having me.
GIOKOS: And coming up, we'll take a look at how gathering data from bursting bubbles is informing climate change research. Stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: Today on Call to Earth, we're taking a closer look at something common in nature but often overlooked. They form in ocean waves and when
rain drops hit a surface and they are easily trapped in ice and when the -- when the ice melts they even make a sound.
And now researchers at the University of California, San Diego are using data gathered from these naturally occurring objects to better understand
the impacts of climate change across the planet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a trio of scientists, each from different disciplines are gathering important data
from the same and somewhat surprising source.
KIMBERLY PRATHER, ATMOSPHERIC CHEMIST: What are those called? Those little things in the water?
GRANT DEANE, RESEARCH OCEANOGRAPHER: The bubbles. It's all about the bubbles.
PRATHER: The bubbles tell you everything.
DEANE: Atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather focuses on how human activity influences the atmosphere, climates and our own health.
PRATHER: And one of the biggest questions is what was the planet doing before humans came along? And we can't answer that right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oceanographer Grant Deane has spent his career studying the role of the ocean in weather and climate.
DEANE: My interest is primarily in the roughly 20 feet of sea level rise locked up in the Greenland ice sheet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paleoclimatologist Jeffrey Severinghaus concentrates on greenhouse gases trapped in glacial ice, particularly from Antarctica.
JEFFREY SEVERINGHAUS, PALEOCLIMATOLOGIST: Yes. So, this is what an ice quarter looks like. I'm going to slice off a little bit so that you can
really see the bubbles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For all three renowned researchers, bubbles hold the key to unlocking a wealth of potentially groundbreaking information.
SEVERINGHAUS: It's a really a cornucopia of things you can learn from the air bubbles. We found ice as old as three million years now. Yes, yes.
SEVERINGHAUS: Yes, yes.
DEANE: That's fantastic.
SEVERINGHAUS: So, we know what the CO2 concentration was three million years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Severinghaus says that having this type of data from the past tells us how much humans are warming the climate today. Meanwhile, one
of Grant Deane's areas of focus is on using acoustic monitoring to measure the ice melting. A process that produces an ample supply of bubbles.
DEANE: I'm going to play you the audio clip of what this glacier ice sounds like, as it melts. You hear it was popping sounds like bacon frying? That's
really bright, energetic, like fireworks going off. Each one of those pops is a bubble bursting out of the ice into the water. We need to count those
bubbles. If we can count them, we can figure out how much ice is melting. That's important because so much of our civilization is in coastal regions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Kimberly Prather, it's all about the aerosol particles and microorganisms that burst out of the bubbles formed by
breaking waves known as sea spread. And how that interaction can either help warm or cool the planet.
PRATHER: So, we've been trying to look at the connection between the microbes in the water and how they change the chemistry and the chemist,
and then how that chemistry changes what gets out and how that changes how the clouds form. And so, you know, you look over the oceans in us, three
quarters of our Earth. And without those clouds, we're in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this day, she's in the midst of running the maiden research campaign on a cutting-edge machine called soars. The Scripps Ocean
atmosphere research simulator, designed to replicate oceanic storms.
PRATHER: We can understand how these -- this spray modifies the hurricanes and we can start thinking about can we stop a hurricane before it hits
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PRATHER: Right? That's the wild idea but we can do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deane helped develop soars as a bridge between the lab and the open ocean, offering its significant means of control, and an
endless supply of bubbles. It's a potential game changer that will help scientists understand the planet in unprecedented ways.
DEANE: When I tell people that one of the things, I work on is bubbles in the ocean, their action is are you serious? Is that really a serious
scientific study? But it turns out that bubbles are very serious business.
GIOKOS: Well, let us know what you're doing to answer the Call to Earth with the #CalltoEarth. We're going to short break. Stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: Any moment now, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva will arrive at the White House. Live pictures coming through right now, here and
Joe Biden are looking to reset relations between the U.S. and Brazil which have both faced threats to their democracies and rising right-wing
populism. Protesters stormed the Brazilian Capitol last month, an invasion reminiscent of the January 6 insurrection in the U.S.
President Lula da Silva sat down exclusively with CNN's Christiane Amanpour and he spoke about the state of democracy in Brazil around the world. As
you can see, President Joe Biden waiting for President Lula da Silva to arrive. He should be arriving any moment now. I've got Christiane Amanpour
standing by. Christiane, you've spoken with President Lula da Silva in extensive conversation.
Both countries need to get back on the same page. Through the conversations that you have, do believe that the messaging that President da Silva we're
going in with -- in the meeting with President Joe Biden that they can find common ground?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Absolutely, because they had common ground. The only time really recently that Brazil-U.S.
relations were disrupted, was during Trump and Bolsonaro. And here's the Lula motorcade coming up to the south lawn there. We spoke to him a few
hours ago. And he was looking forward to this meeting. He's about to get out and shake hands with the President.
And there, they both are. Both of them, in the twilight, well, what can I say? In the older years of their lives. He's 77. The President's older than
that. And I asked Lulu, you know, you've had a remarkable career, a remarkable comeback. Just a few years ago, he was in prison, thrown in
there by his opponents, came back ran for election, won, skimmed by, let's face it, it was quite a narrow election victory.
And then faced what Biden faced. A very similar insurrection against his election and also a torrent of fake news launched by Bolsonaro, his
opponent, and obviously, in Biden's case by Trump. On the completely unverified, you know, talk about, you know, fake election machines and
incorrect election results, of course, none of that was actually true. So, what he wants to do is talk to Biden about the joint U.S.-Brazil effort to
show up democracy.
And he said, it's not just us, it's Democrats all over the world who have to absolutely work hard at this. We can never let up he said to me. He
said, look, there are these far-right movements, these nationalist populist movements who thrive on conspiracy theories on fake news, and who just want
to stay in power and threaten democracy. So, that was one of his big, big messages. Plus, of course, human rights, they're going to be talking about
around the world.
They will be talking about as the -- as the feed of that -- of that video just breaks off. There'll be talking about climate and trying to save not
just the Amazon but putting a lot of effort into the lungs of the world which is the Amazon Forest but also shoring up the idea of climate change
GIOKOS: Look, all smiles there when they met. So hopefully the conversation will go well. But I'm just curious in terms of what you believe will be,
you know, the focus when it comes to Russia-Ukraine.
GIOKOS: Does President da Silva have a different perspective?
AMANPOUR: Well, look, the -- it's really interesting, because on all the major issues, they are exactly, you know, in lockstep. But yes, President
da Silva has got a slightly different view, maybe a very big -- a big difference of views regarding the war. Basically, what he's saying is that
Brazil does not believe in intervention, and that he wants to help launch the process for peace immediately.
He did say, as he said before, that Putin made a mistake by -- and did not do the right thing, in other words, by invading Ukraine, but we have to try
to get towards peace. So, he is hoping to continue what he has an open line and open dialogue with Putin, and also with other members of the alliance
known as the BRICS, that obviously Brazil beloved belongs to. That's Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
All of these countries have a different view as to what's happening in Ukraine. They all condemned the invasion. But they have a different view as
to, you know, Ukraine's position. And so, he wants to see if he can open some peace talks. But I asked John Kirby, who is the national security
spokesman, and he said, very sadly, at this precise moment, there is no avenue for any peace talks with Putin.
And the only way that could happen is if they give weaponry to Ukraine to try to bolster, you know, try to bolster their position on the battlefield.
This is the part of that conversation between Lula and I.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But do you believe that a country which is a sovereign, independent democratic country, like your own, like Ukraine has the right
to self-defense? And to defend itself against an illegal invasion?
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Of course, it has the right to defend itself. Of course. Of course, it has
that right because the invasion wasn't a mistake on the part of Russia. And Russia couldn't have done that. And after all it would spot the U.N.
Security Council. And so, this was not discussed at the U.N. Security Council. So, what I want to say is the following.
What have been mistaken has already done. The mistake was already done. Now we have to find people to fix the mistake, to fix the error that was made.
I know that we Brazil doesn't have that international political clout to promote that in this prefers rationale of conflicts in the world. But I can
say to you that I will dedicate a lot of my time to find a way, a road for someone to start talking about peace.
I was with a German Chancellor a week ago, he wants to pursue --
AMANPOUR: And he asked you about sending Leopards to Ukraine and you said no.
DA SILVA: No, it's not the tanks it was ammunition.
AMANPOUR: OK. Or ammunition.
DA SILVA: It was -- I didn't want to send it because if I sent to him the ammunition, I would join the war. If I said the ammunition for Brazil, the
ammunition that you're asking for --
AMANPOUR: But you just agreed that it was --
DA SILVA: I would take us to war. I don't want to go join the war. I want to end with the war. I don't want to join the war. I want to end with the
war. This is the dilemma. And this is my commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, there you have it. Two slightly different views. And of course, President Biden, as you saw was announced is going to Poland around
the anniversary of this war. And the U.S. is still all in on supporting Ukraine.
GIOKOS: Christiane, a brilliant and insightful interview. Really fascinating. Thank you so much for your time.
All right. I'm Eleni Giokos. You've been watching QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.