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U.S. officials believe the unidentified flying objects (UFO) spotted over the United States and Canada over the past couple days are balloons, the Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday morning.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos he discussed the situation with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Saturday night.
“They believe they were, yes,” Schumer told the anchor of “This Week” when asked to confirm whether the objects shot down over Alaska and Canada were balloons.
“I think the Chinese were humiliated. I think the Chinese were caught lying, and it’s a real step back for them…they look really bad,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tells @GStephanopoulos about the Chinese balloon surveillance program. https://t.co/eS3P8M0epS pic.twitter.com/GrR27nUY3d
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 12, 2023
Schumer added that these objects were “much smaller” than the balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina last weekend, and were flying at a lower altitude of about 40,000 feet, endangering commercial aircraft.
With salvage operations underway, Schumer said U.S. military and intelligence officials are focused on gathering and accumulating information. A “comprehensive analysis” will follow, the senator said.
Schumer also claimed the United States only recently discovered these flying objects. “Until a few months ago we didn’t know about these balloons,” he said.
Another UFO appears to have been detected over Montana late Saturday.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected what it called a “radar anomaly,” leading to a temporary flight restriction over the central part of the state. But a fighter aircraft sent to investigate “did not identify any object to correlate” the radar hits and the restriction was lifted, NORAD added.
The only UFO the U.S. military has publicly identified is the one shot down off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.
That vessel, the U.S. officials say, was a Chinese spy balloon that flew at a high altitude — away from commercial aircraft — across a wide swath of the United States. China claims the airship was a weather balloon that had been blown off course.
Authorities in China said they witnessed a UFO off the coast of a port city, a state-run newspaper claimed on Sunday. “Local maritime authorities in East China’s Shandong Province announced on Sunday that they had spotted an unidentified flying object in waters near the coastal city of Rizhao in the province and were preparing to shoot it down, reminding fishermen to be safe via messages,” said a tweet from the Global Times.