White House Says A Leading Explanation For The 3 Downed Unidentified Objects is That They Were Commercial or Benign

 no indication that the trio of objects were tied to China’s spy balloon program

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community is considering the possibility that three mysterious unidentified objects shot down by U.S. fighter jets were tied to a commercial or otherwise benign purpose, the White House said on Tuesday.

John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters that the United States still had no firm grasp on the origin of the three objects.  He said the evaluation is based on what the U.S. knows now, from visual images of the objects.

He said more would be known if and when the debris can be collected, but that the parts are in hard-to-reach areas – two in the frozen north and one in Lake Huron. Kirby said the debris was proving difficult to recover.


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during a separate press conference Tuesday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Brussels that no debris from any of the objects shot down in the last week has been recovered. Milley also revealed that when targeting the object shot down Sunday over Lake Huron, the first U.S. missile missed.

“The first balloon, the Chinese spy balloon that went down over the Atlantic, on the South Carolina coast, that shot hit,” Milley said about the downing of the balloon on Feb. 4. “Second one, over Alaska, on the north coast of Alaska, that one hit. The third one that landed in the Yukon, that one hit. On the fourth one over Lake Huron, first shot missed, second shot hit.”

Milley indicated the first missile that missed the fourth object Sunday “landed harmlessly in the water of Lake Huron” and the U.S. military tracked it on the way down. He emphasized that officials made sure that airspace was clear of commercial or civilian aviation traffic.


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