President Joe Biden said Thursday the three latest mysterious objects shot down over North America were likely not Chinese spy balloons.
“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were,” Biden said in a nationally televised address. “But nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country.”
The U.S. military has shot down four objects in the past two weeks. The first was identified by U.S. intelligence as a Chinese surveillance balloon. It was taken down off the coast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Feb. 4 after drifting over a large swath of the nation.
Biden said the three latest objects are believed to have belonged to private companies or recreation or research institutions studying weather or other issues.
When Biden took office, he said he called for more research on the phenomenon of unidentified aerial objects. On Thursday, he said there is no indication that there has been an uptick in UAOs, but they are being discovered more frequently because of the United States’ enhanced efforts and better radar detection.
The president has been criticized for his handling of the Chinese surveillance balloon. But Biden said Thursday he was advised by the military not to shoot it down over land because it was the size of multiple school buses.