The unidentified flying object shot down near Michigan was a ‘small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload below it,’ a Pentagon memo obtained by CNN revealed on Monday.
The memo said the object, which was shot down Saturday as it soared near the eastern portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula over Lake Huron, crossed near ‘US sensitive sites’ before it was taken out.
The details came out as the White House laughed at claims aliens were involved after the Pentagon refused to rule out the objects could be linked to extraterrestrials.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has not publicly addressed the recent tranche of shoot downs as the public is demanding answers as to what they were, who sent them and the threat they posed.
Lawmakers have questions too. Senators will get a classified briefing on Tuesday morning about the objects.
Timeline of recent UFO sightings over US airspace
Wednesday, February 1: Chinese balloon is spotted above Montana (this is not being referred to as a UFO as it was identified as a balloon)
Saturday, February 4: Chinese balloon is shot down off the coast of South Carolina after having drifted across the country
Thursday, February 9: First UFO is detected off coast of northern Alaska
Friday, February 10: UFO is shot down over Deadhorse, Alaska
Saturday, February 11: Second UFO is shot down over Mayo, Yukon, Canada.
FAA shuts down airspace over Montana citing another possible UFO, but NORAD claims it was a ‘radar anomaly’
Sunday, February 12: Third UFO is detected over the Great Lakes and shot down
U.S. fighter jets have shot down four high-altitude objects this month – the one shot down off the coast of South Carolina was known to be a balloon from China.
The other three – one shot off the coast of Alaska on Friday, one shot over Canada’s Yukon area on Saturday and the Michigan one on Sunday – had yet to be identified.
‘I want to be clear, the three objects taken down this weekend are very different from what we were talking about last week. We knew exactly what that was – a PRC surveillance balloon,’ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday.
‘We’re gonna confirm what they are, once we have collected the debris,’ he added.
The Pentagon memo, which was sent to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, says that the object shot down over Alaska on Friday was the ‘size of a small car’ and not similar to the Chinese balloon taken down off the coast of South Carolina.
The Canada one is being investigated by Canadian authorities – although the FBI is assisting.
No more details were available.
‘We have no further details about the object at this time, including the full scope of its capabilities, its purpose, or its origin,’ the Pentagon memo says.
But, the nation’s military warned, it should not be assumed all the recent events are related.
‘It should not be assumed that the events of the past few days are connected,’ the Pentagon noted in the memo.
Recovering operations are ongoing but taking time due to difficult conditions.
‘The objects in Alaska and Canada are in pretty remote terrain — ice, wilderness, all of that — making it difficult to find them in winter weather. And the object over Lake Huron now lies in what is probably very deep water,’ White House spokesman John Kirby pointed out on Monday.
And he noted that foul weather off the South Carolina coast had prevented further dive operations on Monday.
‘Weather conditions are pretty tough off the coast right now,’ he said.
This is the image of the 148th Fighter Wing F-16C that shot down the unidentified object over Lake Heron Sunday
The administration has taken pains to say they don’t think anyone’s life was in danger.
‘I want to reassure Americans that these objects do not present a military threat to anyone on the ground. They do however, present a risk to civil aviation, and potentially an intelligence collection threat. And we’ll get to the bottom of it,’ Defense Secretary Austin said.
The administration argues the objects posed a threat to civilian air traffic, which is why they were taken out.
‘There was a very real potential risk to civilian air traffic,’ Kirby said on Monday during the White House press briefing.
‘The one shot down on [Sunday] was about 20,000 feet. And the two shot down Friday and Saturday were at about 40,000 feet. And as you know, transcontinental air traffic is roughly around 30,000 feet. It depends, of course, on weather. And so, because we assessed that they weren’t manned and weren’t being controlled, therefore left to atmospheric conditions, the real risk to safety of flight was a problem,’ he noted.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed any claim that ‘extra-terrestrial activity’ was behind the three ‘takedowns’ of UFOs over Alaska, Canada and Michigan – bringing up the topic unprompted at the start of a press briefing Monday.
‘There is no indication of aliens or extra-terrestrial activity with these recent take downs,’ Jean-Pierre said.
She then made a joke about how she ‘loved’ the E.T. movie.
‘Wanted to make sure the American people knew that, all of you knew that, and it was important for us to say that from here, because we’ve been hearing a lot about it,’ she said.
‘I loved E.T. the movie, but I’m just going to leave it there,’ she said, to laughs from the press room.
During a press conference on Sunday night – while many Americans were watching the Super Bowl, US Air Force General Glen VanHerck said intelligence services were exploring all avenues – including the notion the three most recent objects could be linked to extraterrestrials.
‘I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything,’ VanHerck said. ‘At this point we continue to assess every threat or potential threat, unknown, that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.’
US Air Force General Glen VanHerck (left) said they are still unsure how the three objects were staying aloft, as they currently have unknown propulsion systems while White House security spokesman Adm. John Kirby (right) said ‘I don’t think the American people need to worry about aliens with respect to these craft, period’
An F-16 fighter jet shot it down from around 20,000ft over the Great Lakes at 2:42pm – after two other crafts were destroyed over Alaska and Canada on Friday and Saturday.
A Chinese balloon was shot down on February 4 over South Carolina, meaning the US air force downed four objects in just eight days.
Lawmakers were vocal in their desire for answers. And to hear from the president on the matter.
‘In its 65 year history NORAD Command never shot down an aircraft over U.S. airspace Over the 10 days they have shot down 1 balloon & 3 ‘objects,” tweeted Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. ‘Americans need to hear directly about this from their President today.’
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas pointed out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada made a public statement over the weekend.
‘The president owes the American people an explanation, direct and on camera, of what we know about these ‘objects’ and what steps he’s taking to protect America’s sovereign airspace,’ Cotton said.
‘No commander in chief should hide behind press secretaries and anonymous sources in a time of crisis.’
Authorities are not ruling out that there may be more sightings and shoot-downs in the coming days.
General VanHerck said that since the Chinese balloon was found in late January, the US adjusted its radar so it could track slower objects. He explained that this radar adjustment, plus the heightened state of alert following the Chinese balloon, explains the frequency of UFO sightings.
VanMerck said the air force is still unsure how the three objects were staying aloft, as they currently have unknown propulsion systems. He added: ‘We’re calling them objects, not balloons, for a reason.’
And some lawmakers cautioned against jumping to collusions, saying more objections were being found because now people were looking for them.
‘My speculative guess as why we’re seeing these things happen in quick succession is now we’re really attuned to looking for them, right?’ Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
‘The truth is that most of our sensors and most of what we were looking for didn’t look like balloons. Now, of course, we’re looking for them. So, I think we’re probably finding more stuff,’ Himes noted.
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