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Biden says gov’t likely shot down 3 civilian devices, not China’s spy tech

President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 16, 2023

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said the three mysterious airborne objects the U.S. military recently shot down were likely balloons used for recreation or private research, adding that it is unlikely the objects were part of the Chinese Communist Party’s spy balloon program.

“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country,” Biden said. “The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”  

Biden said his administration knows that companies, countries and research organizations “operate objects at altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious, including legitimate scientific research.”

“I want to be clear: we don’t have any evidence that there has been a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky. We’re now just seeing more of them partially because the steps we’ve taken to increase our radars, to narrow our radars,” Biden continued. “We have to keep adapting our approach to dealing with these challenges.”

READ MORE: Spy balloon launched from Chinese island was tracked the whole time, sources say

The Biden administration turned its focus to the unknown aerial objects just days after the U.S. military took down a Chinse spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

Earlier this week, the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said he had not ruled out the possibility of alien life being behind the mysterious objects.

At a press briefing after an object was downed over Lake Huron Sunday afternoon, a reporter asked NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck whether he had “ruled out aliens or extraterrestrials” as the source.

“I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything,” VanHerck replied.

“At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threats unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it,” he added.