President Joe Biden responded to senators’ calls for more information about the three unidentified flying objects that were shot down in the last week. He spoke to the American people in an address meant to alleviate fears but may have raised more questions about the unknown objects.
His press conference comes after senators left a classified briefing on Tuesday with confused reactions, saying they hadn’t received any clarification about what the three flying objects were. Republicans and Democrats alike said Biden needed to provide more information and speak to Americans about whether there is a threat to the nation.
Biden said in his press conference that the intelligence agency is still working to recover the debris from the objects shot down over Alaska, Canada, and the Midwest, and isn’t sure what they are, but said: “nothing suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon or were surveillance vehicles from any other country.”
Despite Biden’s reassurances and acknowledgment that they had not yet recovered the objects, he appeared to take a shot in the dark and said “the balloons were likely tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”
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Either way, proof of the three balloon’s intentions is not available to the public, and Biden says he isn’t sure himself, but then why shoot it down? The decision was made in collaboration with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Biden said, and they agreed for the sake of public safety and security, they “acted out of an abundance of caution,” Biden said at the press conference.
Senators questioned Biden’s apparent knee-jerk reaction to take down the three additional balloons after Tuesday’s briefing and demanded Biden hold a press conference telling them what the balloons are.
“They need to explain to the American people if they know, and I’m not sure they know if they know, they’re not telling us... what these things are, who put them up there, and do they pose a threat to the American people? And if the answer is “no,” how do they know that?” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said in a statement to reporters earlier this week. “The only thing I feel confident saying right now is that if you are confused, you understand the situation perfectly.”
The first balloon was spotted over Montana as it entered U.S. airspace late last month and was later identified as a Chinese-owned spy balloon. The Chinese government claimed the balloon was for gathering weather information and had blown off course, but recovery efforts after shooting down revealed it contained surveillance equipment. Three subsequent objects/balloons were then spotted and shot down over Alaska, Canada, and the Midwest in the following weeks.
Although the appearance of four unknown flying objects in less than a month appears to be a lot, Biden said the only reason they have become more than a blip on the radar is that their technology is so advanced that it picks up an increase in objects in the sky.
Additional protocols need to be rolled out to discern between what is an actual security threat and what poses no threat at all. Biden said once the parameters for a new roadmap are laid out, he will share it with Congress, but it will remain classified so as not to provide enemies with the tools to break through U.S. defenses.
“But make no mistake, if any pose a significant risk to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down,” Biden said.