All three major news networks carried Monday’s White House daily press briefing live, and for good reason: Administration officials were giving an update on the three aerial objects shot down by the U.S. military in recent days.
At the start, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, mindful of intense speculation of just what the objects are, told reporters, “There is no indication of aliens of extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.”
Some reporters laughed. “I love ET the movie, but I am just going to leave it there,” Jean-Pierre said.
John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications for the National Security Council, did not identify what the objects were, saying that debris had not yet been recovered as they were in remote areas.
“We don’t know who owns them,” he said.
But he told reporters that President Joe Biden ordered the objects shot down after it was determined that, flying between 20,000 and 40,000 feet, they posed a potential threat to civilian aircraft. Kirby also said that even though it didn’t appear that the objects were maneuvering or sending communication signals, officials “could not rule out surveillance.”
He also said that the objects were different from the Chinese spy balloon, which was shot down on Feb. 4 after floating across the continental United States, in that they were at a lower altitude.
Kirby said that the Chinese do have a “high altitude balloon program” that has “limited additive capability” that could become more valuable to them in the future.
The other three objects “were basically being driven by the wind,” Kirby said.
“We are going to learn from these three events. We are going to continue to study what happened,” he said.
Kirby said that the administration is taking a closer scrutiny of unidentified aerial phenomenon and “we are finally trying to understand them better.” He also said that NORAD has recently been more closely scrutinizing airspace, something that “may increase [the number] of objects detected.”
The U.S. military shot down an object, flying at about 40,000 feet in northern Alaska, on Friday. Then, on Saturday, another object, flying over Canada’s Yukon territory, was downed after Biden consulted with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Sunday, another object, flying at about 20,000 feet, was shot down over Lake Huron. It was described as an octagon shape with strings attached to it.
Kirby also ruled out an extraterrestrial source for the objects.
“I don’t think the American people need to worry about aliens,” he said.
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