Los Angeles Politics

Biden speaks on spy balloon, UFOs

President Biden plans to address the nation Thursday about a series of unidentified flying objects that were shot down by U.S. fighter jets in recent days.

Republicans and Democrats have urged the White House to share more information with the public as speculation grows about what exactly the U.S. shot down and who was behind the mystery devices.

The saga began on Feb. 4, when an expansive Chinese spy balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina after drifting across the U.S. for 96 hours. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken scrapped a long-planned trip to China over the episode, further straining an already fraught relationship between the two superpowers.

U.S. fighter jets shot down a trio of unidentified aerial objects a week later: one near Alaska’s northern coastline last Friday, another over Canada’s Yukon region on Saturday and a third over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula off of Lake Huron on Sunday.

The number of objects hovering above North America raised alarm about a potential national security threat, but Pentagon and White House officials emphasized the vessels were markedly different in appearance and technological capabilities from the Chinese surveillance balloon. Pentagon officials said the accelerated pace of downed objects was the result of the military recalibrating its radar settings to better detect slower objects.

Salvage crews are still working to recover whatever remains of the objects, which National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said has been difficultbecause of winter weather conditions and the remote, rough terrain where the debris landed. U.S. officials still haven’t seen any indication that the mystery vessels are tied to China, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday.

Beijing has accused the U.S. of flying more than 10 high-altitude balloons through Chinese airspace. White House officials have denied the allegation.

“They’re coming up with excuses and trying to spin this,” Jean-Pierre said, calling it “irresponsible.”

White House officials briefed senators on Capitol Hill Tuesday after lawmakers called for answers on the unidentified flying objects.

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