The media frenzy over “spy balloons” and unidentified flying objects over North America is sadly not about first contact with extraterrestrials, but an engineered panic for political misdirection, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden argued on Monday.
“It’s not aliens. I wish it were aliens. But it’s not aliens. It’s just the ol’ engineered panic, an attractive nuisance ensuring [national security] reporters get assigned to investigate balloon bullshit rather than budgets or bombings” such as the Nord Stream, Snowden tweeted.
Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a story last week describing how the US and Norway blew up the pipelines transporting Russian natural gas to Germany last September. The US government denounced it as false.
Over the next several days, the US military began shooting down “objects” in the sky over North America. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that the US government still doesn’t know who owns the three “objects” brought down over the weekend. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity,” however.
Kirby had announced the downing of a “high-altitude object” off the coast of Alaska on Friday. US fighter jets brought down an “unidentified, unmanned object” over Yukon in northwest Canada on Saturday. The third “object” was shot down on Sunday afternoon over Lake Huron, as it approached Michigan.
“While authorities don’t yet know what the objects are, they are not a threat,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters on Monday. “They do not present a military threat to anyone on the ground. They do however present a risk to civil aviation and potentially an intelligence collection threat. And we’ll get to the bottom of it,” he added.
Austin also said the three “objects” were different from the Chinese “spy balloon” the US shot down over South Carolina last week. The aerostat, which Beijing described as a weather balloon blown off-course by the winds, had passed over most of the continental US before it was destroyed by a F-22 fighter jet.
The Pentagon’s reluctance to describe the “objects” or show any debris that may have been recovered has fueled speculation about their possible extraterrestrial origin. Space magnate Elon Musk joked about “friends of mine” stopping by. Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers have expressed frustration at the lack of official explanations by the White House.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, demanded the Pentagon and the president “tell us what they know – and what they don’t – immediately.”
“What in the world is going on?” wondered fellow Kentuckian and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor. “The administration has still not been able to divulge any meaningful information about what was shot down,” he said, asking if the radar sensitivity may have been turned up after the Chinese balloon incident.
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