White House says latest downed objects could be 'benign'

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(NewsNation) — We still don’t know what the most recent objects that were shot out of the sky are, but the White House is now saying the leading explanation is that they were being used for commercial or benign purposes.

“The intelligence community is considering as a leading explanation that these could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

It might take some time to pin down.

Little is known about the three objects shot down over three successive days, from Friday to Sunday, in part because it’s been challenging to recover debris from remote locations in the Canadian Yukon, off northern Alaska and near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Lake Huron. 

Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave an indefinite timeframe for recovery due to the conditions of where those objects landed.

“Two, three and four not yet recovered. they’re on very difficult terrain,” he said. “So we’ll get them eventually but it’s going to take some time to get those.”

The White House is expected to unveil new parameters and protocols by Friday on how to deal with these incidents going forward.

Senators were briefed in a classified setting today on the unidentified objects.

The top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, Marco Rubio, was making the point that there have been hundreds of reports of unidentified aerial objects in recent years.

“What bothers me the most is we are acting like it’s the first time we’ve ever seen these things and so we reacted this way. No it isn’t,” Rubio said. “We’ve had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases reported by military personnel. We’ve been talking about it for years and there’s a process that’s been set up to analyze these and this data should be a part of that process immediately.”

Others are calling on President Joe Biden to be more forthcoming and to address the issue himself.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging patience.

“I some of think our Republican colleagues are being at the minimum very premature and often just very political there’s a lot of info to assess and recover and the admin is on top of this,” Schumer said.

The Whouse House is not committing to any potential presidential speech on the matter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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