Pentagon Investigating Possible Object Over Montana

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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UPDATE: This story and headline has been updated to reflect new information and statements from the Department of Defense (DOD) and Montana Sen. Steve Daines.

The Department of Defense (DOD) imposed a flight restriction over Montana to investigate a possible fourth object flying over Montana but could not make a positive identification, according to a statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) briefly closed airspace over Montana for DOD related activities at oo:20 UTC, or 7:20 Eastern Standard time, according to an FAA NOTAM, before reopening the space later Saturday evening, the statement emailed to the Daily Caller News Foundation said. Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, Republican Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, all representing Montana, said the DOD had communicated to them a new airborne object — the third identified in U.S. airspace since Thursday — could be crossing the state.

“I am in direct contact with NORCOM and monitoring the latest issue over Havre and the northern border. Airspace is closed due to an object that could interfere with commercial air traffic — the DOD will resume efforts to observe and ground the object in the morning,” Rosendale said in a statement on social media. (RELATED: Clear Message To China’: GOP Senator Hammers Pentagon For Letting Spy Balloon Fly Over Alaska)

“I am aware of the object in Montana air space and remain in close contact with senior DOD and Administration officials. I am closely monitoring the situation and am receiving regular updates,” Tester said in a separate social media statement. “I will continue to demand answers for the American public.”

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command implemented a temporary flight restriction to protect commercial air traffic during operations, DOD confirmed in a statement issued to the DCNF after the Congressmembers’ social media posts. However, they said it did not clearly identify any unusual objects.

“NORAD detected a radar anomaly and sent fighter aircraft to investigate. Those aircraft did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits,” the statement said, adding that NORAD will continue to monitor events.

Just hours before the object was identified over Montana, a U.S. fighter jet shot down an object in central Yukon, Canada. Joint U.S. and Canadian forces tracked and intercepted an unidentified object that traversed Alaskan and Canadian airspace at an altitude of 40,000 feet, defense officials from Canada and the U.S. confirmed.

On Friday, U.S. jets assigned to U.S. Northern Command took down a high-altitude object off the northern coast of Alaska at Biden’s order. U.S. officials said the object was traveling at an altitude of 40,000 feet and could therefore pose a threat to commercial air traffic, justifying a military response.

Montanans still have questions about the Chinese spy balloon that flew over our state last week. I’ll continue to demand answers on these invasions of U.S. airspace,” Daines said in a statement.

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