Mystery aerial objects may be benign -White House
STORY: "We are sharing as much information as we can, as possible."
The White House on Tuesday said debris from the most recent, unidentified flying objects shot down by U.S. fighter jets over the weekend had not yet been recovered, citing tough winter weather conditions, but added there was no indication they were part of China's spy program.
"What we know is the intelligence community is considering as a leading explanation that these could be tied to commercial or research entities and benign."
Since the U.S. shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, three more unmanned flying objects have been shot out of the sky - the first over Alaska, the second over Canada's Yukon territory and the third over Lake Huron.
Many questions remain unanswered about the three more recent flying objects, including where they came from.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said senators were getting regular briefings on the matter.
"U.S. and Canadian forces are working to recover the objects that were shot down. In the briefing, the military and intelligence people outlined their approach to each of the four objects. What I can say after our briefing is that our defense and intelligence agencies are focused like a laser on gathering every piece of information about these objects to figure out exactly what's happening."
The U.S. military and the White House acknowledged that much about the most recent, unmanned objects remains unknown, including how they stay aloft, who built them and whether they may have been collecting intelligence.
Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, where an unidentified object was brought down on Friday, said the White House needed to be more forthcoming with information about the incidents.
"When you don't provide information and there's a dearth of information, it can lead to wild speculation. It can lead to unfounded fears."
Meanwhile, the U.S. military, which has been analyzing debris from the Chinese balloon that was shot down on Feb. 4, says it recovered critical electronics including key sensors presumably used for intelligence gathering.
China denies it was a spy vessel and on Tuesday reiterated an accusation that the U.S. was flying its own high-altitude balloons into China's airspace, aggravating already rocky relations between the two world powers.
The White House has disputed China's claim, calling it false.