‘I Will Take It Down’: Biden Addresses ‘Recent Aerial Objects’ Shot Down By US Military

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden addressed the public Thursday about the “aerial objects” shot down by the U.S. military in recent weeks.

Biden’s address is the first time he has spoken at length to the public about the Chinese spy balloon which was shot down Feb. 4 after it had been hovering above the U.S. for seven days, and the three unidentified flying objects which were shot down near Alaska, Canada and Michigan in the days after. (RELATED: Pentagon On ‘Heightened Alert’ As Fourth Unidentified Aerial Object Shot Down Near Michigan, NORAD Commander Says)

“I gave the order to take down these objects due to hazards to civilian commercial air traffic, and because we could not rule out the surveillance risk of sensitive facilities,” Biden said.

The “Intelligence Community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions, studying weather, or conducting other scientific research,” he added. “Make no mistake: if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down.”

The debris from the Chinese spy balloon is still being recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, and the other three objects have yet to be found. The White House has said that the unidentified objects were shot down because they were at low altitude, and that the administration was on higher alert after modifying their search scope following the discovery of the Chinese balloon.

Relations between China and the U.S. had not taken a “hit” after the balloon incident, Biden previously said in an interview with PBS, and maintained that the U.S. is not “looking for conflict” with China.

The Biden administration established an “interagency team” to further study “unidentified aerial objects,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced Monday.

Biden also “directed the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of national intelligence to engage with their relevant counterparts to share information and to try to gain their perspectives” and “instructed the Intelligence Community to take a broad look at the phenomenon of unidentified aerial objects,” Kirby added.

In his remarks, Biden said he has asked for the establishment of “a better inventory of unmanned airborne objects and space about the United States;” “improve our capacity to detect” objects; “update the rules and regulations for launching and maintaining unmanned objects in the sky;” and the secretary of state will lead “an effort to help establish” common global norms in the sky.

He added that he expects to “speak with President Xi.”