(NewsNation) — Three days before a Chinese spy balloon appeared over the U.S., an unidentified object was seen over the Arctic Circle, with fighter jets being sent to take the object down, sources told NewsNation.
Exclusive reporting from Ross Coulthart, investigative journalist reporting for NewsNation, calls into question whether the country has been given the full story when it comes to a series of mysterious flying objects that captivated the nation in February.
Four incidents were reported publicly, including one involving a giant Chinese spy balloon, but sources told NewsNation there was actually a fifth incident before all of the others.
Americans were shocked when the Pentagon admitted a massive, high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon was able to enter U.S. airspace unhindered.
The balloon drifted across North America for days before being shot down by U.S. fighters off the coast of South Carolina.
Six days later, it happened again. On Feb. 10, 2023, around 1:45 p.m. ET, the first of three objects were shot down by U.S. fighters near the northern Alaska town of Deadhorse. All three of the objects are still officially acknowledged as unexplained.
Officials launched a massive air and ground search to find the objects. Within hours of shooting them down, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby admitted they had no idea what the objects were.
“We’re calling this an ‘object’ because that’s the best description we have right now. We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned or privately owned,” he said. “We just don’t know.”
The incursions kept happening. A second cylindrical object was shot down over Canada’s Yukon the following day, Feb. 11. On the 12th, a third object was downed over Lake Huron near Michigan, that object described as octagonal in nature.
Three sources told NewsNation there was an earlier, publicly undisclosed incident over the Arctic Circle on Feb. 1, 2023, three days before the Chinese balloon was shot down.
The defense and intelligence sources said eight or nine unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) were detected over the Arctic Circle, and fighter jets were sent up in an unsuccessful attempt to intercept them.
Fighter jets deployed from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to engage the objects, sources said, but the UAPs were seen maneuvering away at high speeds.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Christopher Mellon independently confirmed the story.
“I’ve heard the same thing, from an individual who would have plausible reason to know. But this really speaks to a much larger issue, which is the lack of information from the Air Force about UAPs generally,” Mellon said.
NewsNation reached out to the Pentagon and NORAD. NORAD denied allegations that fighter jets were scrambled to intercept UAPs.
NORAD did say it had aircraft flying in the area but that they were returning to home bases as part of a training operation.
Sources also told NewsNation that the object the U.S. shot down on Feb. 10 was also anomalous. There has been silence in the eight months since it was shot down, though in February, the White House assured the public it was confident the Alaska object debris would be recovered.
“It fell not only within our territorial space but on what we believe is frozen water. So a recovery effort will be made,” Kirby said.