At least one high-ranking official won’t rule out the possibility that they could be extraterrestrial in origin.
“I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out,” Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD, told reporters on Sunday when asked about the possibility of aliens. “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point.”
However, in a White House press briefing Monday afternoon, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pushed back on the theory that aliens were involved.
“I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no — again, no — indication of aliens or extra-terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” she said.
A suspected Chinese spy balloon transfixed the nation when it was spotted over Montana in January. It was shot down when it drifted over the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month.
Since then, at least three more objects have been blown out of the skies. One was initially described as a balloon, but VanHerck hedged when asked if these additional objects were also balloons.
“I’m not gonna categorize them as balloons. We’re calling them ‘objects’ for a reason,” he said. “Certainly the event off the South Carolina coast for the Chinese spy balloon, that was clearly a balloon. These were objects.”
He also said he’s not certain how the objects are even flying.
“It could be a gaseous type of balloon inside a structure, or it could be some type of a propulsion system,” he said.
One of the objects, shot down on Friday over Alaska, was described as “cylindrical and silverish gray” and with “no identifiable propulsion system.” Another, shot down along the U.S.-Canadian border, was described as a “small, cylindrical object.” The third, shot down on Sunday over Lake Huron, was described by officials as “an octagonal structure” with strings.
“We’re going to remain vigilant about our airspace.” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “We’re going to remain vigilant about the skies over the United States.”
It’s not year clear if the objects being shot down are related to the growing number of sightings of what the Pentagon now calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” their preferred term for UFOs.