Biden: Those Three Aerial Objects We Shot Down Probably Aren’t Spy Balloons

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.President Biden on Thursday, in his most detailed remarks addressing the recent spate of aerial objects that were shot down over North American skies, said that there is no evidence tying the three unidentified objects to foreign surveillance programs. Officials, however, are still working on confirming the exact details of the objects and their provenance.
“The Intelligence agency’s current assessment is that these three objects were balloons tied to private companies, recreational groups, or research institutions,” Biden said in a brief televised address. The president also defended shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon earlier this month, a dramatic action that has since inflamed tensions between the two countries.
“We seek competition, not conflict with China. We’re not looking for a new Cold War,” Biden said. “But I make no apologies and we will compete.”
Since taking down the objects, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have demanded answers. But in recent days, there has been growing consensus that they were likely benign in origin, almost certainly not evidence of aliens, and perhaps even belonging to hobby groups simply enthusiastic for “pico balloons.”
“We acted out of an abundance of caution and with an opportunity that allowed us to take down these objects safely,” Biden said on Thursday.