Mystery surrounds the UFOs being shot down around the U.S. following the Biden administration’s mishandling of China’s surveillance balloon.
On Friday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the combined U.S.-Canada organization known as NORAD that provides shared defense of airspace over the two nations, detected and shot down an object near sparsely populated Deadhorse, Alaska. Soon afterward, Canada shot down an additional object over the Yukon Territory.
President Joe Biden himself said the objects appeared unrelated to any surveillance program… and now a social club in Illinois is missing its balloon.
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The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) declared its balloon “missing in action” on Feb. 15, after last seeing it on Feb 10.
The club practices “pico ballooning,” a hobby sometimes compared to playing with a HAM radio. The members have stopped short of demanding a new balloon from the Biden administration, but they remain suspicious.
Aviation Week reported, “The circumstantial evidence is at least intriguing. The club’s silver-coated, party-style, ‘pico balloon’ reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool — the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area.”
“I tried contacting our military and the FBI — and just got the runaround — to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” a balloon manufacturer told the publication.
Biden himself reportedly described some of the unidentified objects as “most likely tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions.”
“We don’t yet know what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests that they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country,” Biden said, referring to two balloons detected by NORAD, as well as an additional balloon disarmed Sunday over Lake Huron.
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The U.S. has failed to recover the unidentified objects after shooting them down.
None of the three most recent objects has been recovered, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Brussels, where he was scheduled to attend a NATO defense ministers meeting this week.
Austin said weather has impeded recovery efforts in Alaska, while in Canada the object was shot down in a very remote area that was also impeding efforts. In Alaska, where the object landed on sea ice, wind chill, and safety concerns “are dictating recovery timelines,” he said.
The White House defended the shootdowns of three unidentified objects in as many days even as it acknowledged that officials had no indication the objects were intended for surveillance in the same manner as the high-altitude Chinese balloon that traversed American airspace earlier this month.
The three objects, including the possible pico balloon, were unmanned and traveling at such a low altitude as to pose a risk to civilian commercial air traffic, said White House national security spokesman John Kirby. And though the Biden administration does not yet have evidence that they were equipped for spying purposes, officials have not ruled that out either, he said.
“These were decisions based purely and simply on what was in the best interests of the American people,” Kirby said Monday of the action to shoot them down.
The weeks-long succession of objects, starting with a giant white orb first detected over U.S. skies in late January, has puzzled American officials and stirred curiosity around the world. Though the three most recent objects differed in size, maneuverability and other characteristics from China’s spy balloon shot down Feb. 4 off the South Carolina coast, officials moved to eliminate each one from the sky — actions that Pentagon officials believe have no peacetime precedent.
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“Because we have not been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are, we acted out of an abundance of caution to protect our security, our interests and flight safety,” Kirby said.
One possibility that the U.S. has been able to rule out is any connection to extraterrestrial activity, the White House said Monday, tamping down lighthearted public speculation about aliens and outer space.
“I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no — again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the outset of a press briefing.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.