In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover a high-altitude surveillance balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Feb. 5, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-U.S. Navy via AP
President Joe Biden finally delivered an update on the three unidentified aerial objects shot down by fighters in the U.S. and Canada, saying none of them were Chinese spy balloons. However, the president did not say what the objects actually were.
“I gave the order to take down these three objects,” said Biden. “We acted in consultation with the Canadian government… We acted out of an abundance of caution”
According to the president, the U.S. intelligence community believes none of the three newest objects originated from any Chinese spy programs. However, the Pentagon and the Canadian military are still trying to recover the debris from those objects.
Biden also unveiled new initiatives for tracking unidentified objects over American airspace that includes improved international cooperation across the world.
The clarification comes on the heels of a geopolitically charged controversy surrounding a Chinese spy balloon that floated into U.S. and Canadian airspace, which two F-22 fighters eventually took out over the Atlantic Ocean near the South Carolina coast.
The three aerial objects that were also engaged by fighters about a week ago, one off Alaskan waters, another over Yukon in Canada and the other over Lake Huron, led some critics to speculate on whether or not they were amateur weather balloons or UFOs.
After the Chinese balloon-gate, Republicans made hay over the president’s national security chops questioning his decision to allow the spycraft to float over the continental U.S. before being shot down. (A top general said Chinese spy balloons flew over the U.S. during the Trump administration but went undetected at the time.)
In the diplomatic sphere, when the balloon was first detected it forced Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to cancel a scheduled trip to China in protest. Beijing later demanded the remnants of the balloon back, claiming it was friendly and scientific, then accused Washington of needless escalatory rhetoric.
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