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U.S. ends search for 2 unidentified objects shot down over Alaska, Great Lakes

Biden calls for new protocols for flying objects

Biden gives first formal remarks on Chinese spy balloon, calls for new protocols


Searches for two of the unidentified objects which were recently shot down by the U.S. military — over Alaska and the Great Lakes region — have been concluded with no sign of debris from either, federal officials announced Friday.

U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORTHCOM/NORAD) said in a statement that “no debris from airborne objects” was found following multiday “systematic searches” involving “airborne imagery and sensors, surface sensors and inspections, and subsurface scans.”

The two objects were shot down by the U.S. military near Deadhorse, Alaska, on Feb. 10, and over Lake Huron on Feb. 12. Multiple federal and Canadian agencies were involved in both searches.

On Feb. 11, the U.S. military also shot down an unidentified object over the Yukon in Canada. The search for that object appears to be ongoing. 

This comes after a Chinese spy balloon — part of a larger Chinese surveillance program, according to the Pentagon — was shot down Feb. 4 off the coast of South Carolina after traveling across the U.S. mainland. That recovery operation ended successfully Thursday, with the U.S. Navy retrieving that debris, which will be transported to an FBI laboratory in Virginia for examination, NORTHCOM/NORAD said. 

Speaking Thursday, however, President Biden said the three unidentified objects were not believed to be connected to China’s spy balloon program. Although, Mr. Biden admitted that officials don’t know what they were.

“Nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from … any other country,” Mr. Biden said. “The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were mostly balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 

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