Biden: Objects Shot Down Likely Weren't Spying

President doesn't definitively identify craft shot down after Chinese balloon
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2023 4:15 PM CST
Biden: No Sign Latest Objects Were Tied to Chinese Spying
President Biden speaks about the Chinese surveillance balloon and other unidentified objects shot down by the military on Thursday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden told the nation Thursday that the three objects the US shot down most recently while flying over North America don't appear to be connected to Chinese spying. The Air Force on Feb. 4 downed a balloon off the coast of South Carolina that apparently was sent by the Chinese government to spy. The US has taken down three more still-unidentified objects since then, but Biden said "nothing right now suggests they're related to China's spy balloon program," the Wall Street Journal reports, though he didn't quite say what they were. "But make no mistake," the president said in a televised address, "if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down."

The objects probably were launched by private companies or research institutions, he said, per the New York Times. Nevertheless, Biden said new guidelines will be developed for determining when such objects pose a danger to the country and require military action. He said there's no reason to think that more objects are filling the skies, instead suggesting that changes in the handling of radar data has led to more craft being spotted. He said crews are still recovering the pieces of the Chinese balloon. Soon, Biden said, he expects to have a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the flyover. "The violation of our sovereignty is unacceptable," Biden said. (More President Biden stories.)

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