President Biden Addresses Objects Shot Down Over the Weekend

February 16, 2023
The White House

Nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program, or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday, explaining that U.S. intelligence believes the three objects downed over the past weekend were likely launched by research institutions or private companies.

Big Picture: President Biden explained that there has not been evidence of "a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky," explaining, "We're now just seeing more of them partially because of the steps we've taken to increase our radars." He said the U.S. is creating "sharper rules" for dealing with unidentified objects going forward in order to distinguish "between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not." These rules will stay classified for national security reasons. Pres. Biden emphasized, "make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down."

  • Important To Note: It is still unclear where the three objects shot down over the past weekend came from; no government or company has claimed the objects, according to White House national security spokesman John Kirby.
  • Regarding the Chinese spy balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast, Pres. Biden said the U.S. will continue to engage with China and that he expects to speak with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping, but that he will not apologize for shooting down the balloon. China has condemned the United States' actions to shoot down the balloon, and claims it was a civilian airship used for research; the U.S. says the balloon was part of China's surveillance program. The U.S. is currently in the process of analyzing the remnants of the balloon's payload.
  • Background: In early February, the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon of the coast of South Carolina. This action "was the first known shootdown of an unauthorized object in U.S. airspace – a feat repeated three times a week later," The Associated Press reports.

Watch the President speak here

Biden wants 'sharper rules' on unknown aerial objects (The Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,

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