After fighter jets shot an unidentified object out of North American airspace for the third day in a row on Sunday, the commander of NORAD said he had not ruled out the possibility of alien life being behind it all.
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, according to a transcript of the briefing.
“At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threats unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it,” he continued.
VanHerck also said the answer to another question about whether any of the objects interfered with pilot sensors “needs to come out through the intel communities.”
After VanHerck said he hadn’t ruled out aliens, a defense official said there is “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” Politico reported.
Three unidentified objects have been shot down in as many days after a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon first drew eyes to the skies earlier this month. The balloon’s nearly week-long voyage over the U.S. brought it near nuclear missile silos before an F-22 fighter pilot took it down Feb. 4 off the coast of South Carolina.
Prior to the Lake Huron shootdown, U.S. fighter pilots downed an object over Alaska on Friday and another over Canada’s Yukon territory on Saturday. Officials have not confirmed the origin of any objects since the Chinese spy balloon.
READ MORE: Pics: Chinese spy balloon recovered from ocean by US
The spy balloon reportedly carried a large “payload” of surveillance equipment, and officials told the Associated Press that the Alaska and Yukon objects are also believed to have carried payloads. Those two objects were balloons that were “much smaller” than the 200-foot-tall spy balloon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was told in a briefing.
Efforts to recover the latest unidentified object from the waters of Lake Huron are underway. Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin said Monday that “we do not know what it is right now,” adding, “I have no reason to believe this is a UFO,” local news outlet WXYZ reported.
“Chances are this is just a normal, run-of-the-mill thing that we in the intelligence community know how to exploit,” Slotkin said.