A spokesperson for the National Security Council told reporters on Tuesday that US intelligence experts do not believe the three UFOs shot down over the weekend were part of China's spy balloon program.
John Kirby said, using the acronym for the People's Republic of China, "Our initial assessments here, based on conversations with civil authorities in the intelligence community, indicate that we see no evidence that these are part of the PRC's spying program or intelligence collection against the United States of any kind."
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the US Air Force shot down aerial objects above Alaska, northwest Canada, and Lake Huron. None have been linked to China or any other nation, but according to Kirby, once their remains are recovered, more information will be gained.
"It will certainly help us zero in on [the objects' purpose and origin] if and when we can obtain the debris," he said. "… We continue to do our best with the observations given by the pilots and the flight profile data we have attempted to acquire."
While intelligence officials do not yet know the mysterious devices, Kirby stated that they are convinced they were not American government property.
Kirby stated, "After checking with the FAA, it does not appear that the United States government operated them, so we are confident in ruling out that they were government objects."
NORAD officials altered their radar settings to be more sensitive to objects at high altitudes after learning on January 28 that China had launched a surveillance balloon in Alaskan airspace.
President Biden permitted the balloon to span the United States for a week, travelling over vital military installations, before ordering its destruction on February 4.
In contrast to the spy balloon, the three UFOs were not movable, meaning they could not change course and were primarily subject to the wind's whims. Kirby stated on Monday that the balloon could travel "left, right, slow down, speed up, and loiter" over targets to collect more information.
Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of homeland defence and hemispheric affairs, said on Sunday that if the items weren't Chinese spy balloons, there might have been any other craft employed for benign study and surveillance.
"Countries, corporations, and research organizations, among others, operate objects at these altitudes for lawful purposes, including legitimate research," she stated.
Kirby stated that as of Tuesday afternoon, no commercial companies or nations had claimed any of the freshly crashed items.
"The intelligence community will continue to investigate this, and they will not rule out the possibility that these balloons were tied to commercial or research entities and are therefore harmless," Kirby added. This could be or emerge as the leading answer in this case.
Tuesday morning, intelligence officials briefed senators in private about the mystery objects. After the hearing concluded, senators from both parties reaffirmed their demand that Biden provides more information regarding the shoot-downs.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville stated, "President Biden needs to stand before the American people and tell them what he knows. Let's get this over with" (R-Ala.). "Go tell the people we're in good shape, we know what's happening, and let's move on with our lives."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) concurred, stating that "the American people require and deserve more information."
"There is a need for greater transparency," Blumenthal said, adding, "I have no fear that we are at risk of attack or bodily harm."
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) speculated that Biden ordered the most recent three shoot-downs in response to criticisms of his handling of the more enormous Chinese spy balloon:
"I think he didn't want to endure that criticism again," Cotton said of the president, dismissing the briefing as "nothing that... would have changed anything." "There is nothing to be gained by reading your newspapers and watching your news channels."
Cotton continued, "Americans are worried, concerned, interested, and have a right to know why President Biden directed the actions he did over the past week."
Biden has not commented publicly about any odd episodes, except a brief reference to the downing of the Chinese surveillance balloon during his State of the Union speech on February 7.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) voiced scepticism that the United States would retrieve the last three items, telling reporters, "They are lost. They cannot locate them. Except for the spy balloon, no one has been able to identify the remnants due to the challenging terrain — low temperatures and severe weather.
Kennedy continued, "At a minimum, our director of national intelligence should explain to the American people what we know and don't know without disclosing classified information." "However, it is evident that this is not a recent phenomenon."