The downing of four aerial devices by U.S. warplanes has touched off rampant misinformation about the objects, their origin and their purpose, showing how complicated world events and a lack of information can quickly create the perfect conditions for unchecked conjecture and misinformation.
The presence of mysterious objects high in the sky doesn’t help.
“There will be an investigation and we will learn more, but until then this story has created a playground for people interested in speculating or stirring the pot for their own reasons,” said Jim Ludes, a former national defense analyst who now leads the Pell Center for International Relations at Salve Regina University.
“In part,” Ludes added, “because it feeds into so many narratives about government secrecy.”
President Joe Biden and other top Washington officials have said little about the repeated shootdowns, which began with a suspected Chinese spy balloon earlier this month. Three more unidentified devices have been shot down, with the latest Sunday over Lake Huron. Pentagon officials said they posed no security threats but have not disclosed their origins or purpose.
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