After weeks of inquiries regarding a Chinese spy balloon and several mysterious items seen flying in or close to American territory, the solutions are beginning to take shape.
Here is what we do know.
The US stops looking for objects that were shot down over Alaska and Lake Huron
The hunt for airborne objects that were shot down on February 10 and 12 over Lake Huron and close to Deadhorse, Alaska, has concluded, the U.S. military announced on Friday.
The announcement was made late on Friday, just hours after the authorities announced that they had completed their efforts to recover the fragments of the large balloon that had been shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. Analysis of the fragments thus far has confirmed previous findings that the balloon had been a Chinese spy balloon.
The United States and Canada “conducted systematic searches of each area using a variety of capabilities, including airborne imagery and sensors, surface sensors and inspections, and subsurface scans, and did not locate debris,” according to U.S. Northern Command, which announced the decision to call off the search for the objects shot down over Alaska and Lake Huron. The air and maritime safety perimeters at both of those locations are also being lifted, according to Northern Command.
The balloon spy from China found
A Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina has been fully recovered by the military, according to a statement from the U.S. Northern Command.
The remnants of the balloon were located and recovered by the Navy, which is now giving the materials to the FBI. In Virginia, in the FBI lab, counterintelligence specialists will examine what remains of the balloon.
VP Harris: The relationship won’t change despite the Chinese spy balloon being “not helpful.”
The Chinese spy balloon was shot down because officials were “confident” that it was being used by China to “spy on the American people,” according to Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke exclusively with the associated press for the interview.
According to Harris, the government’s plan for bringing the balloon down took into account the possibility of endangering the American civilians as well as the potential to preserve the balloon for “a forensic viewpoint” investigation.
In response to questions about how the balloon would affect U.S.-China relations, Harris said that the Biden administration planned to maintain its view of the two nations’ relationship, according to which competition is permissible but “conflict and confrontation” are not.
“The balloon was not helpful, so we shot it down,” Harris explained, adding that the relationship would not change. But things with China remain the same in terms of our relationship and policies.
Kirby: I can’t guarantee that the three UFOs will be found
During a press conference on Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked if the public would ever discover what the three unexplained objects shot down in recent weeks are. Kirby made no guarantees in response.
What matters is whether the government can find the objects, which, according to Kirby, fell into “the extreme” terrain ranging from the freezing tundra of Alaska to the wilds of the Yukon to the deep waters of Lake Huron.
According to Kirby, it will be incredibly difficult to locate them, let alone be able to perform the required forensic investigation to identify the wreckage if it is found. I, therefore, cannot promise that we will be able to say for sure in any case.
The three UFOs have not yet been claimed as belonging to anyone
Kirby also noted on Friday that no organizations have come forward to assert potential ownership of any of the three unidentified flying objects that have been shot down recently.
“As far as I’m aware,” he continued, “nobody has come up to claim the ownership.”
The government isn’t completely in the dark about the objects, though, so that doesn’t follow.
“Regarding our knowledge of the identities of the three objects, I never indicated we had none,” Kirby said. “We have no idea what these are,” I said.
Report: Illinois amateur balloonists may have been the owners of the Alaska UFO
On Saturday, a group of amateur balloonists in Illinois alleges that one of their balloons “went missing in an activity,” the same day that the American military shot down an unidentified object in the same area. Alaska was the final known location of the balloon.
The Pico Balloon K9YO last reported on February 11 at 00:48 Zulu on the Hagemeister Island after 123 days and 18 hours of flight, according to a blog post on February 14 by the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB).
The group failed to mention a connection between the two tragedies in its post. Aviation Week was the one that first revealed the probable connection.
The associated network contacted NIBBB for comment, but they did not react right away.
Biden: the other strange aircraft that have been shot down are probably not spy planes
The three unidentified flying objects that were shot down over North American airspace last weekend were “very likely” balloons associated with private businesses or research facilities and not a part of China’s surveillance spy balloon operation, according to Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday.
There is “no evidence,” according to Biden, that there are more flying objects in the sky than usual. Biden was under pressure from both parties in Congress to provide more information in his first public speech on the strange items.
He claimed that the evaluation of the downed objects over Alaska, the Canadian Yukon Territory, and Lake Huron is still ongoing by the intelligence community. Even though the items were shot down a week or so after the United States shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, he claimed that there is currently no evidence linking them to China’s spy balloon program.