Flying objects Biden shot down aren’t space aliens, White House says

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The White House would like you to know that all of the recent dramatic activity in the skies is unrelated to aliens. 

“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,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday to the assembled giggling press corps. “Wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that, and it was important for us to say from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.” 

Last week, President Joe Biden ordered the military to shoot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast. And over the weekend, the U.S. military shot down three additional flying objects over Alaska, Canada, and Michigan. The one shot down in Michigan was described as “octagonal,” but so far the military has not identified the objects in more detail, or explained what kept them airborne. 

Melissa Dalton, the assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said that an increased attention to air space following the Chinese balloon’s appearance could partly explain why there was an increase in incidents over the weekend. 

“We have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radar, which may at least partly explain the increase,” she said on Sunday. 

Although the White House was forceful with its denial of any alien ties to the objects on Monday, other government officials have been more coy. When asked if the activity was extraterrestrial, the head of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, Gen. Glen VanHerck, said on Sunday: “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point.”

This is not the first time that the White House has had to deny direct engagement with extraterrestrial life. In 2011, the White House responded to two different petitions from the public demanding formal acknowledgment of extraterrestrials. 

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race,” Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy wrote at the time. 

While the terms “extraterrestrial” and “UFO” are used interchangeably, they are in fact two separate things. While the government might be denying any extraterrestrial connections to the shoot-downs, it is not denying the “flying object” part of the equation. 

UFO discussions have always existed on the fringes of society, but have become more mainstream in recent years. In 2019, two pilots went on the record with the New York Times, about UFOs they had seen that were different from anything widely known to be flown by any military.  

And in 2021, the intelligence community released a report acknowledging UFO sightings. They found no evidence that they were related to alien life, but they were also unable to rule that out as a possible explanation. 

Former Senate Leader Harry Reid was instrumental in the release of that report, as well as a Pentagon program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, to investigate reports of UFOs

“What have I personally learned from official investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena so far?” Reid wrote in a New York Times op-ed in 2021. “The truth, disappointing as it may be, is that there’s still a great deal we don’t understand.”

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