‘It’s Not Foolproof?’: CNN Host Pushes Back Against John Kirby Over Drone Takedown

[Screenshot CNN This Morning]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN’s Don Lemon pushed back against National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Wednesday after Lemon questioned whether adversaries could gain information from the drone that has not yet been recovered.

Two Russian Su-27 aircraft intercepted a MQ-9 surveillance drone flying through international airspace Tuesday. One of the Russian jets struck the drone’s propeller and forced the U.S. to terminate it over international waters.

“Has the drone been recovered? What is the status?” Lemon asked Wednesday morning.

“It has not been recovered,” Kirby said. “I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to recover it — where it fell into the Black Sea, very, very deep water. We’re still assessing whether there can be any recovery effort. There may not be.”

“Having said that, you said that the U.S. would do everything – every effort to protect our equities over there. Part of protecting the equity is securing the data that may have been on this drone. Has the U.S. been able to wipe the drone’s data or destroy parts of it so it is not useful to enemies, Russians?” Lemon asked.

“Well, what I can tell you, Don, without getting into too much detail here, is that we took steps to protect the information and to protect – to minimize any effort by anybody else to exploit that drone.” (‘We Don’t Want To See This War Escalate’: John Kirby Reacts To Russian Fighter Jet)

“You took steps to minimize so that others cannot exploit. It’s not foolproof?” Don Lemon asked.

“We did the best we could to minimize any intelligence value that might come from somebody else getting their hands on that drone,” Kirby said.

“But others can get their hands on it?” Lemon pressed.

Kirby said the U.S. was still “assessing the situation ourselves” but couldn’t speak to Russia’s effort.

The drone takedown could increase a risk of escalation between the two countries as both the U.S. and Russia remain in conflict over the Ukraine war.