We Do Not Know
White House admit they do not know the origin of the three aerial objects shot down over the weekend by the US Air Force
The United States said on Monday it still did not know the origin or purpose of three aerial objects that its military shot down over the weekend, as Washington and Beijing traded accusations about high-altitude balloons.
American and Canadian officials were unable to explain the origin of three objects U.S. fighter jets downed over North American airspace since Feb. 4, when a suspected Chinese spy balloon was brought down off the South Carolina coast after drifting across the United States.
Washington called the Chinese craft a surveillance balloon, while China has insisted it was a weather-monitoring vessel blown badly off course.
The Chinese balloon triggered an uproar in Washington, shaking up the already contentious relationship between the world’s two biggest economies and prompting U.S. President Joe Biden’s top diplomat, Antony Blinken, to cancel his scheduled trip to Beijing last week.
The U.S. military has not been able to identify what the three most recent objects are, how they stay aloft or where they are coming from.
“We have not yet been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said at a news briefing.
The objects flying at altitudes of between 20,000 and 40,000 feet were considered a risk to air traffic, Kirby said, although they did not pose a threat to people on the ground. They also were shot down because U.S. authorities could not rule out that they were spying, he said.
Closer scrutiny of airspace may partially explain the increase in objects detected. U.S. officials told Reuters that the military has been adjusting how it examines radar data, allowing it to spot smaller, slower-moving items.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed any suggestion that the objects were anything other than human-made. “There is no, again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” she said.
U.S. military fighter jets on Sunday downed an octagonal object over Lake Huron, the Pentagon said. On Friday, an object was shot down over sea ice near Deadhorse, Alaska, and a third object, cylindrical in shape, was destroyed over Canada’s Yukon on Saturday.
The debris from the objects, which has not been found, should “tell us a lot,” Kirby said.
China said it had no information about any of the three objects.